Lucky for me I already wrote my post about highlights of 2014, because on New Year’s Eve I could not find anything even Facebook likeable, because I was/am sick and I’m feeling sorry for myself. Mind you, as I also hate New Year’s Eve with a passion. Funny enough everybody seems to say they hate New Year’s. Yet most people who say they do are also people who will still find themselves last minute shopping for a new, probably sparkly outfit (what is it with sparkly outfits on New Year’s Eve??) and spending a fortune to be at some fancy party. Or they will at least find themselves in a room full of people they don’t really like, eating fondue. While I can’t even put my finger on why I dislike it so much, this year I had decided to finally be brave and officially skip it. Then I got sick and this was my perfect reason to hate it a bit more and stay at home watching Friends reruns.
But after an always overrated night, comes a highly underrated morning after and that I’m a huge fan of, at least when it comes to New Year’s. New year, new start, new life, everything new and shiny. There even seems to be a pattern to it, that the more disastrous my New Year’s Eves are, the better the January Firsts. My worst/best was a few years ago in Namibia. I went there together with my Dad and sister on a post Christmas trip from South Africa after a friend convinced me that Walvis Bay was the place to be (it’s not!) and that New Year’s Eve there would be great (it wasn’t!). Said friend had already made plans with his family, we weren’t invited, and so we asked at our guest house for other options. Party of the Portuguese community at the town hall anyone? Sure, sign us up. In the morning we quickly went to the shops for some after the party bubbles and Pringles and then we dressed up in our Walvis Bay finest.
Like all town halls do it smelled of desperate prom nights and it looked the part too: half empty tables, tea light decorations, and a cash bar that unfortunately ran out of red before ten o’clock. This wouldn’t have been so bad if we had eaten by then. But as it turns out Portuguese are not very punctual and as we were expecting some sort of Portuguese royalty from Angola nobody was allowed to eat till they had arrived. Organizers were sent to the one and only open bottle store to stock up on wine and I was beginning to really miss the Pringles we had left at the hotel.
Half an hour later a whisper went through the room, the congregation from Angola had arrived. The room filled up and we were hoping that our bellies would too in no time. When we saw the waiters coming out with the first plates, two at a time, we realized that we made a strategically error in choosing our seats – we were furthest from the kitchen. Not willing to wait for food another minute and definitely not the hour it would take them, I got up to ‘help’. I went into the kitchen, loaded three plates and to the staff’s amazement walked out, carrying all three of them. Ooohs and aaahs followed me and could I please come back to help after?! Not in a charitable mood after being left waiting and hungry for a better part of the best night of the year I politely declined.
While sometimes food is worth every second you wait for it, sometimes it is…not. We quietly finished the one edible thing our previously canned veggies, shoved the tea lights into my sisters purse (after all we sort of paid for these tea lights!), and didn’t wait to hear the band’s second set.
Back at the guesthouse we discovered that the JC LeRoux we had bought was less like champagne and more like sweet carbonated wine, only drinkable when turned into mimosas, and that Pringles are really good enough to not only save the day, but an entire New Year’s Eve dinner.
The next morning we got up bright and early for our trip into the Sandwich Harbour dunes, I dare say Walvis Bay’s highlight, New Year’s or not. It’s a place where the elements meet and mingle. Peaceful and exhilarating, empty and karst yet full of life. A place to simply enjoy the views and a place to get your thrill on when you learn how to drive a rollercoaster made of sand and not get stuck.
I also learned that while ‘drama’ seems to make for the more memorable stories, no words could ever describe how happy this Krapfen* made me like this picture:
*Krapfen is a deep fried dough ball filled with jelly and covered in sugar on the outside. Traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day or during Carnival in Germany. I don’t think I have ever voluntarily eaten a Krapfen in my life before, I really don’t like them. So for this one to get me so excited, you can probably appreciate how horrible our dinner was the night before.