Oh, those crazy Chileans.
Margarita and Raul Valenzuela, a family of long-time Associate friends, invited us over to their house to celebrate the New Year. We arrived at about 7:00pm and started with a fantastic dinner. The Valenzuelas have five sons who are fun people and were very welcoming. Strangely, as midnight drew closer, more people disappeared to their bedrooms to sleep. Little did I know….
When the clock struck midnight, we toasted the new year with a Chilean champagne-and-pineapple-ice-cream concoction. The brothers turned up the music and the dancing began. At around 2:00am, I began to really understand the difference between the typical Chilean New Year’s celebration and the typical U.S. celebration: things don’t really get started here until hours after midnight. Sure, the turning over of the clock is a big moment, but it’s no reason to stop the celebration. Anyway, we fought fatigue with conversation and dancing until 3:00, 4:00, 5:00.
Finally, when the new day had already dawned, we walked home at 7:00am. I don’t think “exhausted” adequately describes how I felt. Apparently, this is how they celebrate here. I don’t think I’m up to the challenge. While I was asleep in my bed at 7:05am, people continued the festivities until noontime. With any luck, I’ll recover in time for 2007.