Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!
What are your resolutions for 2011?
I'm going to resolve to stay up till midnight on New Year 2012, that's what. Yesterday we all drove up to Brisbane to spend the afternoon with family, and it was so bubbly and convivial that we were back home and tuckered out and asleep by eleven.
We're not particularly good at New Years Eve parties, the Tabubil family.

December 31st has never been a busy day for air travel, and traditionally my family has used the day to travel down (or up, depending) to the Gold Coast for a New Year Holiday. Around six or seven in the evening, after a good twelve hours or so sitting in planes and airport lounges, we stagger into the apartment and Mum and Dad collapse and go to bed. Dr Tabubil and I sit at the computer playing solitaire, willing ourselves to stay awake - just until the fireworks - which we can see out on the beach behind SeaWorld, if we hang out of Dr Tabubil's bedroom window and look to the left.

At 12:02, the first fireworks go up in a flare of red and green and bronze stars.
At 12:03, the first ambulance of the New Year goes screaming across the bridge over the Nerang River, closely followed by the year's first police cruiser.
At 12:06, the man on the 18th floor fires a flare gun off his balcony and sets the palm tree next to the swimming pool on fire.
We watch the flare burning this year's holes in the palm fronds, and wait until the damp leaves begin to smoke themselves out.

On better years, we dress up and go to the beach. Loud music and spangled dresses and technicolor cocktails aren't our scene much - particularly not here at the Gold Coast, where the rather desperate flesh-pots of Surfers are more wince-worthy than alluring.
Instead, we wait for the New Years Eves that coincide with low tides and big moons and we go down to the water. We walk out onto the sand-flats among the families having midnight picnics and gangs of kids running in circles, shouting and waving sparklers, and packs of boys playing cricket under the moon. The air is CHARGED - golden with sparklers and laced with salt and beer, and sozzled young men run footraces on the sand, stark naked. The moon hangs low over the breakers that roar and boom hollowly, far out beyond the party.

Who the hell'd choose a nightclub in Surfers Paradise over that?  Especially once the fireworks get going. Around here, it's an interactive show.  The New Year's performance is best out on the sand spit, between the ocean and the broadwater. The broadwater is full of sailboats and pleasure cruisers, whose crews are more thoroughly potted than the naked athletes down on the sand, and when they see the fireworks go off, they all want to come out and play.  So the flare guns come out, shot off at extremely low angles of inclination, and on shore we watch and say "Ooooh. Aaaaah - DUCK!!!!!" And flatten out on the sand as a flare goes streaming over our heads at an inclination of 15 degrees against the horizontal.  And then the first police patrol boat of the new year heaves into view and hauls the shooter out of the drink.

And we go home and go to bed, very pleased with our small place in the universe.

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