Hello, 2012!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy 2012! I hope you had fun ringing in the new year and that 2012 has been treating you well so far. I ended up going with my friends to the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall area (where it was less crowded) to watch the fireworks show from the Taipei 101 Building. The fireworks were beautiful, but I think for anyone to wait over 1.5 hours to see them is too much. The fireworks lasted, apparently, 202 seconds in total.

We walked over to the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall area from the restaurant we'd stalled for time at, in the Dunhua Street area. This area is crowded pretty much at any time of day, but on New Year's Eve, it was ridiculous. Living in New York City as many years as I have and working in the Times Square area for all of my working years, I don't think I've ever seen the mass of people I saw that night. (Of course, in New York City, I try very hard to avoid crowds.) The groups of people waiting for the crosswalk lights to change were about 15-20 rows deep! I've seen people 10 rows deep during the holidays in Times Square, but never more! We had no choice but to move slowly with the sea of people towards the Sun Yat-sen Memorial.

The Taipei 101 Building (right) before the fireworks

According to my completely unscientific survey of the crowd at Sun Yat-sen Memorial, the majority of the revelers were college-aged. There were some carts selling water, light-up toys and headbands, cotton candy. I can never resist fresh cotton candy, so I bought a bag for just $1. However, it was unflavored. 

As the countdown drew near, we became concerned that we wouldn't know when the countdown would begin, because there was no clock nearby or any indication of what the official time was.

But our worries were allayed:

The fireworks left the 101 Building in a cloud of smoke

I figured I would have more success taking video, which I did, but here's someone else's video:

We were warned it would take hours to get out of the area and walk home, but it did not. It took me about 30 minutes to get home (it usually takes about 15-20), and once I turned onto my street, I saw a bunch of people setting off sparklers. Then I heard two guys say, "When?" and "Now!" And then this happened:

I had an early, low-key night in comparison to my typical New Year's Eves. I usually really try to savor the countdown and the hope that a new year brings, but I didn't really have the chance to do that while taking video of the countdown and fireworks, so I felt kind of cheated of a new year. I didn't feel the adrenaline rush I usually feel during the countdown. (I definitely put too much weight into the first moments of the new year!) 

I came home, uploaded my videos and went to sleep so I could count down the new year with my friends back home. I watched the live stream of the celebration in Times Square, and with all the kazoos and music I'm used to hearing ("Auld Lang Syne," etc) at New Year's, I definitely felt warm and fuzzy inside. I got my much-missed adrenaline rush and a real sense that we've turned over a new leaf into a new year. Americans certainly know how to party better than the Taiwanese, from what I can tell! 

So I got two New Year's in one ... if only life were always so forgiving!

Happy New Year! Oh, and this blog turns 1 today. :)

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