Peter and I were flummoxed on New Year’s Eve. Our plan was to head out early (8:30 p.m. is very early) for dinner in order to get home well before the midnight witching hour. We wanted to avoid walking the streets during the very local, random and wild firework displays we had enjoyed on Christmas Eve.
So we headed out on a ten minute walk to Palermo Hollywood which we knew well from staying there for two weeks in our second apartment. It is a bustling, sometimes riotous, area of about 6 x 6 blocks full of restaurants, most of which spill out on the sidewalk and are always open well into the morning hours. Our previous problem had been which one to choose. That would not be the case on the eve of the new year!
We noted that the streets were quiet - unusual here. Apart from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the streets are normally packed with foot traffic, cars, trucks, scooters, overabundant cabs, speedy-we-don’t-stop-for-anyone buses and the occasional bike. Last night, the sidewalks were empty. The only people about were headed to a party, walking a dog or a kid setting of firecrackers with his dad as we quickly walked by. Traffic was scanty - even the ubiquitous taxi was rare.
Most eery was that every restaurant was closed; not just closed but shut up tight. The sidewalks were empty of any sign of life. Tables, chairs, umbrellas were gone and the windows and doors were shuttered. It looked like what we imagine to be hurricane or riot preparation.
Concluding that we would have dinner at home, we returned to a makeshift salad nicoise - it has become our standby, a can of tuna always being available at the equivalent of a Mac’s Milk. It was delicious and greatly enjoyed on our “terrace” with a bottle of Malbec. Better than any restaurant!
Our current apartment is reminiscent of university digs. Tiny, make-do kitchen wear, bedding that leaves something to be desired etc. But it has great “bones” - a very big terrace, colourful accent walls and tiles. The building is two stories high. Our apartment is on the second floor and appears like a lego block stuck on the top. The landlady owns a similar building beside ours and my guess is that she is holding out to developers who have built 15-story buildings all around. The effect is a narrow opening of sky from the bottom of a man-made gorge. Midnight arrived and we could see lots of smoke and hear LOTS of explosions and watch lots of people out on their high balconies enjoying, what we imagined, was a good show.
We cracked a two glass bottle of champagne with plastic, champagne cork-shaped, screw top lid and toasted the exciting prospect of our upcoming 2015. It is sure to be eventful!
Happy New Year and best wishes to you!