Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve Celebrations I Have Known

I've been  fortunate to celebrate New Years in many styles. For a number of years I worked for a bank and had to work on New Year's Eve. The bank fed us and with any luck we made it home either shortly before midnight or not long after.  After I left the bank I attended some parties at restaurants or clubs and sometimes  house parties. My favorite New Year's celebrations were far from home.

In December of 1984 I traveled to The Soviet Union with my cousin Missy. Under  Communism Christmas was not an official holiday so we were just in time for the big New Year's celebration. Here is a New Years's tree in front of the Bolshoi Ballet Theatre. There were festive trees in our hotel and even in our tour bus.

Here I am dressed for the Russian winter weather.

I toured my favorite building in the world, St. Basil's Cathedral. I spent most of the day there wandering from chapel to chapel. Every inch of the interior is brightly painted.

The hotel we stayed at, The Kosmos, threw a wonderful New Year's Eve party for us. We celebrated with tourists from Japan, Finland and several other countries. Every hour was New Year's somewhere and we celebrated them all. We had a nine course meal with the most wonderful melt-in-your-mouth chicken Kiev served somewhere around midnight. The ice cream ( there is nothing like Russian ice cream made with pure cream) arrived around 2AM. There was a balalaika band playing and we all danced well past dawn. The special Russian traditional drink that we shared was an Aurora Borealis. Here are the direction, if you want to try it tonight.

Into a large punch bowl pour one bottle of champagne and one bottle of vodka. Then pour in another bottle of champagne and another bottle of vodka. Now pass the punch bowl around and each person drinks from it. Continue passing the bowl around till either the punch is gone or everyone has passed out. Cheers!

Some of us, including me, stayed up all night. Early in the morning those of us who could manage it went to Red Square to join the long line of people touring Lenin's tomb.

This is a forbidden shot of the changing of the guard at Lenin's tomb. We were told that we were not allowed to photograph certain things and any shots of soldiers were strictly forbidden. That's why you can see that I'm standing behind someone to hide my camera.

Then it was on to visit Catherine The Great's carousel.

When we got there we were treated to a troika ride. Six of us snuggled into the sleigh under blankets and rode thru the fields. We sang Jingle Bells at the top of our lungs and the driver was so pleased that he took us around again.

The trip lasted about ten days and although the temperature was colder than anything I'd ever experienced and I got very little sleep because I didn't want to miss anything, it was one of the most exciting times of my life. I fell in love with Russia, the people, the customs and the history.

If cold (-36 degrees) doesn't turn you on, maybe you'll prefer my New Year's Eve in Trinidad. In 1991 Rob and I flew to Trinidad on New Year's Eve day. What a contrast to Russia!

The Caribbean drink that we shared at midnight was a Bentley. I liked them immediately and continued to enjoy Bentleys throughout the trip. If you'd like to try one, here are the instructions. They aren't as deadly as an Aurora Borealis.

        1 measure of freshly squeezed Caribbean lime juice
        2 measures of cane sugar
        4 measures of club soda
        2 dashes of Angostura Bitters per serving
        1 red Maraschino cherry
Enjoy, they're really good!

On New Year's Day we went to the annual horse race which was conveniently right across the street from our hotel. We then took a walking tour of the city and listened to steel bands practicing for Carnival.

We walked thru the botanical gardens. Notice the size of this wild Poinsettia. It's the national flower. We also went thru the zoo which is next to the gardens.

But when you're on an island, you must go to the beach. The beaches of Trinidad and Tobago are the most beautiful that I've ever seen, including Mexico and Hawaii.

Maracas Bay, Trinidad

Mt. Irvine Bay, Tobago

Rockley Bay, Scarborough, Tobago

Mt Irvine, Tobago   The beach nearest our hotel.

Rob playing tourist. The temps were in the mid eighties every day.                                                          

So, wherever in the world you're celebrating the new year, we hope it's a safe, happy, healthy one for everyone. Happy New Year from Rob and me and Morgan, Tsar and the Porties.


Jo's World said...

You have had such an interesting life! I would have loved your Russia trip too!

Cheers and Happy 2012,


Bella Roxy & Macdui said...

Our New Years Eve was boring when compared to some of yours. SHE had celebrated in various countries, so SHE knows how special those memories are.

Happy New Year. We just had our first walk of 2012.

XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & roxy

Soggibottom said...

Ditto dear friend :-) Beautiful photo's to treasure :-)A treasure just like you X X X X X X X

rottrover said...

What a great post!! Happy New Year from sunny Southern California!

-Bart and Ruby

Molly the Airedale said...

What fabulous memories to have! Mom has always wanted to see Russia! Thank you for the tour!
Happy New Year to all of you. We hope you have a happy and healthy 2012!

Love ya lots,
Maggie and Mitch

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

Wow is all I can say!! I don't think I'd be able to sleep either!! I would so love to travel to some place like Russia to see the amazing sights, but because of what my husband does, it's not recommended--But some place tropical and amazing like Trinidad and Tobago would fit the bill though!! :-)

¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•` ¤ HAPPY NEW YEAR SUE!!*´¨)

PS: Thank-you for your kind, thoughtful words on the loss of Bubba, and adding him to your memorial post. He's got some great company at the Bridge...

Marjie said...

I have never been anywhere exotic, for New Year's or otherwise. We celebrate very quietly, enjoying the family. Happy New Year to all of you, with big hugs and great good wishes for 2012!

Nicki said...

I think I would choose Trinidad

Barbara said...

Wow, I'm jealous!!

Happy New Year!!


♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ said...

Great memories - we enjoyedhearing about them.

Happy New Year from all of us at The OP Pack!

Woos - Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

SissySees said...

What a fun, happy post. Beautiful photos. Happy '12. We're off to IHOP for breakfast... just as soon as I get the gumption to kick these warm, snuggly dogs out of my lap.

♥ Mary Janes TEAROOM said...

Wonderful photographs Sue!....Wishing you a very happy 2012...full of all good things,
Susan x

Tracy said...

Wow, you certainly have celebrated in some remarkable fashions...I love the photo of you in Russian and I love, love LOVE the sleigh ride. Those are just really neat ways to open the new year!
Thanks for sharing...
Happy New Year!

Lapdog Creations said...

VERY cool!