The sudden orgy of explosions echoing off the concrete homes in the Peruvian capital signaled that it was midnight—Christmas Day.
After five or ten minutes of hugs and well wishes between family members, all now standing from the dinner table, I led the way out to the street.
It sounded like I was in the middle of a very bad day in Baghdad. Explosions had been rocking the house for several days leading up to the event, but it was nothing like the deafening sound of an entire city simultaneously letting off munitions.
Understand that Latin America doesn't really scale their fireworks back, like the U.S. and Canada. The rest of the Americas use dynamite for fun and celebrations. I lost count with the number of 1/3 sticks of dynamite I've seen haphazardly tossed around the beaches of Mexico. It's serious down here.
Maya, the Chilean cousin staying with us here at the Boza home for a week, had what must have been a spectacular view as she flew into the city. Her plane was on approach as midnight struck, turning Christmas Eve into Christmas Day—and the whole of the city into a fireworks free-for-all.
I hear gunfire every day from my bedroom. I've fired pistols, shotguns, and rifles enough times to tell the difference between a firecracker and a firearm. I've been hearing the single shots and repeated clacks of a clip being partially emptied often enough to be thankful that I live in a concrete bunker. I can't imagine how many idiots tried to take pop-shots at Maya's plane as it flew over the city.
A few years ago most types of fireworks were banned in Lima, after a pretty devastating fire. Things were quiet the year following, louder the year after that, and have pretty much been the same as before the incident since. Even though people get arrested/detained for their lawlessness, let's face it, it's easy to bribe your way out of things in this part of the world.
I think what really amazed me the most about the whole scene around midnight was the near-professional firework displays in the air. In every direction, there were large, beautiful, blooming bursts of color and sound. It seemed that every few blocks someone had decided to out-class his or her neighbor by purchasing the good stuff.
Although we hit the street a little too late for me to truly capture the scene properly, I did my best and compiled a little clip-show:
Round two will be New Years Eve. I'm sure it'll be even crazier.