At the surface everything seemed normal, just another bustling Saturday in Cusco. But... if you looked closely and paid attention you could tease out the clues that something was different about today; People went about their daily business but with a quickened step. More people carried around bags full of various items, and these bags themselves were bigger than usual. I saw people on the bus carrying large bouquets of yellow flowers in an unusual frequency. The kids sitting on their mothers’ laps looked up into the sky with anticipation. These clues were easy to overlook, unless of course you knew that today was different.
In the late evening we made are way over to a friends place. Perched conveniently on a steep hill above the city center, we cooked some delicious food, had some serious, and some hilarious conversations, but ultimately we were waiting for the clock to strike midnight. There was a stark calm before the chaos, people had made it to where they needed to be and now they were waiting too. Up on the roof top flares began to shoot up and boom brightly in the sky, illuminating the structures below. One after another streamers and flowers of fire shot into the sky, slowly and spaced out at first but growing more rapidly with each consecutive boom until the clock hand hit its mark. Then fireworks shot up in multiplicities compounded, spelling it out in bright bursts of light and color, the words and symbols cutting through the smoky haze... Happy New Year!
It was really a spectacular sight. Seeing the fireworks shoot up and explode all around, you didn't know where to look, but yet there was nowhere not to look either. There is no formal firework show here but this is better... a populist production and a truly collective effort to welcome in the New Year. So, let me now take this moment to offer my best wishes to you, my friends, my family, my readers. May this year bring you joy and may it be full of travel to forign places and within yourself.
Happy New Year!