The BIG night – New Year’s Eve at Copacabana - Day 411
It had finally arrived - the BIG night – New Year’s Eve at Copacabana "Copa – Co-pa-ca-bana". Would it live up to its reputation?
It was all about the evening. Even the day was preparing for the BIG night. After a lazy brunch, we ventured into the Supermarket. Bread, cheese, meat, Processco and beers were bought after queuing…yet again. But no tonic for our Gin? Laura and I went off to find another supermarket. We have to have pre-drink G & T.
On our way, we saw an underwear shop so popped in to look for some pants for Tim. His usual ones just won’t do for the big night. Back at the apartment, some of us had an afternoon kip, not me, I don’t often sleep during the day. Tim popped down and bargained for his pants. He did well and reduced the price by 25%.
Ok, so what’s so special about these pants? They were white. Perhaps you remember that on day 387 we were looking for white clothes. It was all for this special evening. The tradition for New Year’s Eve here is to wear white. As we were at Copacabana, the most celebrated New Year’s Eve in the world with another 2 million people celebrating, we wanted to blend in. Tim had his white shorts and a white shirt, and his regular black pants just would not do. However, I must admit, I wore my purple bra under my white blouse. Hey, it looked quite groovy, and purple apparently represents inspiration which goes nicely with the white for Peace.
We reached the beach at 6:30pm with our picnic, sarongs to sit on and a deck chair, found on our apartment, for me. My dodgy knee prevents me from sitting on the floor these days. Our apartment was just one street away from the beach front, so a brilliant location. Yes, we blew our daily travel budget, but it was oh so worth it. We parked ourselves down, and as the crowd started to join us, we noticed that the majority of people were wearing white, but some wore yellow symbolising hope for more money in 2019.
A group next to us started to build a barrier of sand around their seats, and then we noticed that a few more groups had done this. We quickly followed suit, and it was amazing that sellers and revellers were taking notice of these barriers, walking around them.
After a while we saw a young man lay his jumper on the sand and tried to fall asleep on it, clutching hold of his bag. We guessed that he was homeless, so, once he woke up, we gave him some crisps. I must admit that we didn’t like the crisps much, but he woofed them down. Seeing this, we gave him some water, again, this was consumed really quickly. He must have been starving. Later, we got some more food from our apartment for him. He never said a word but seemed a gentle soul and grateful for all that we gave him.
A family near us intimated that we should be careful as he may steal from us. We just didn’t think he would, and, anyhow, we only had food and drink with us, leaving all money and mobiles back in the apartment. It is so sad that people’s immediate response to homeless people is one of distrust. I think there is a lot of misunderstanding as to why people become destitute, it’s not just because of drug and alcohol addiction by any means.
The clock was ticking, literally, projected onto a tower block to the right of us. In front, eleven barges were anchored offshore where the top pyrotechnicians around the world have been carefully planning months on end for this a show that will go up in smoke in minutes. And behind these were five cruise liners watching us watching them.
The countdown began, 10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1…Hurrah! Welcome, 2019. Kisses, hugs and cheers all around. The fireworks were spectacular. They filled the sky with every colour of the rainbow, all in unison. It was like rows of sparkling flowers rising up, bursting open and spreading their glowing petals, filling the sky with their perfume turning it orange, and then pink, a constant stream of fireworks for well over 15 minutes. The noise of whizz and bangs merged in with the excitement of the 2 million plus people on the beach. It really was a magical moment in time, standing there with our loved ones, but no camera to capture this moment.
Just as I thought this, a young man who was in front of us with his lovely family, including the most delightful little girls dancing dressed in their pink tops and white shorts, came over to take photos of us. He offered to send these via WhatsApp once they were back home in Sao Paulo. How kind is that? Thank you, Guilherme Henrique, for enabling us to capture a very special moment in a very special place with very special people. I am truly very grateful. And the photos are brilliant.
New Year's Eve at Copacabana did not live up to it're reputation. It surpassed it. We felt completely safe, had fun, much laughter. It really was magical.
And our homeless friend slept right through the whole firework display.