Peruvian New Year's Haze: Pisco and Pyrotechnics
The smell of gunpowder filled my nostrils—the air so thick with it I could taste the haze engulfing the city. Lima erupted with explosions at midnight, stirring memories of WWII footage shown on the History Channel, as an endless barrage of flashes and concussion waves bounced off the concrete homes and buildings. New Year's Eve wasn't ushered in with a bang, but with countless BOOMS.
The munitions detonated in this city for New Year's must have been two or three fold the already saturated amount seen on Christmas Eve. Every half block there seemed to be a neighbor who spent an excessive amount of Peruvian soles on (illegal) fireworks—or perhaps the combined efforts of families and guests celebrating together. The displays of light and sound were amazing for such an amateur level.
A quick walk around the block shortly after midnight revealed multiple fires burning in the streets in every direction. A closer inspection showed they were the still-burning remnants of effigies—dolls—one of the Peruvian New Year's traditions. With the fires, the black powder haze, the smell of exploded munitions, and the constant explosions, the block looked like a scene out of an apocalyptic movie.
Working against that image, though, were the neighbors wandering the streets hugging each other. Random folk just saunter up, give a kiss on the cheek, a warm hug, and a Feliz Año (Happy Year—a shorter/lazier way of the phrase Feliz Año Nuevo, Happy New Year). This, it would seem, is as big a tradition as any other is.
Tatiana had made a nice, large batch of pisco sour (the national drink of Peru), and I walked the streets with a stein full of Pisco in one hand, and a camera in the other, trying to take it all in and dole out hugs at the same time.
Easily one of the odder highlights of the night was dinner. The Boza family and I ate after the bulk of the fireworks had been ignited and the Pisco consumed—somewhere after one o'clock in the morning—and sitting down for a meal where everyone at the table was buzzed or drunk was quite the sight.
"Care for some Chilean wine?" Yes, naturally.
"Champagne?" Of course!
"How about some pollipavo?" …What?
It would seem here in Peru there is such thing as a half-chicken, half-turkey mutant hybrid referred to as pollipavo—an animal engineered to have the best (tasting) qualities of both animals. Our creature was cooked in the oven, and quite delicious. I'm quite curious to see what this thing looks like alive, but haven't found any photos as of yet.
An interesting start to what is sure to be an interesting year.
By the way, I'm sporting a new background/wallpaper on my laptop—a photo from last night—and thought I'd share:
It's been color-corrected and cropped for a wider than average display (1280×800), but the un-retouched image can still be found in the gallery if you're interested (but doesn't look right stretched).
If you like the idea of me releasing wallpapers, say so in the comments and I'll start giving it some greater thought.
Also of note: Eric Daams from TravelBlogs has posted his e-mail interview with me. I really like the presentation of the page—he pulled the photos off this site himself.