Feliz año nuevo

Every year at midnight I shed a tear with our dear planet as she weeps with pain following the thousands of fireworks displays around the world. The subsequent, thick clouds of smoke and dust go unnoticed as heads are tilted back and eyes are looking high in the sky.

Using gunpowder, statistics show that about 0.03% of the toxins on the planet each year come from fireworks. Fireworks create create smog, acid rain, and a few environmental damages, but there is hope: the Walt Disney Company has pioneered new technology using environmentally benign compressed air instead of gunpowder to launch fireworks.

Wanting to experience a Buenos Aires New Year's celebration, I went to one of the large city parks to watch the spectacular fireworks display by the Planetarium. As the black smoke blew east, my friends and I headed north to a house-party held in a 3-story house in Belgrano - the wealthy part of town. Delayed by scarce transport options, we arrived at 3am to a house more or less devoid of furniture but full of people.

It was a great party with hordes of young revellers celebrating the obsolescence of their '08 calendars but, as with any party, it had some drunken idiots. At this party they were the plebeians who couldn't hold their fluids long enough to frequent one of the three or four bathrooms and instead decided to urinate on the veranda or on a wall in one of the empty rooms. Classy.

I left the party at 06.30. It had taken me so long to adapt to normal waking hours but timing in Buenos Aires is by no means normal. So I was happy that my body has re-adapted to the schedule here. I got home around 08.00 and was in bed by about 9.00. I said, "Happy New Year," to the oblivious chirping birds and, "Goodnight."