Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year: Bucharest Style

Part of the problem of being an outsider in Romania, as I've noted here, is that the local news channels are all in Romanian. For that reason I cannot say whether or not this was a deliberate play on words or an unfortunate typo on TV this afternoon, but let's be generous and opt for the former:

For the actual experience, of course, it's just amazing ... the buzz starts in the evening on the buses taking people to party places around the city, and with another bunch of traditional News Years Eve dishes served at home (fyi you eat fish now because fish swim ahead into the New Year).

Turn on the TV and the various concerts in and around Bucharest are covered on at least six TV stations, so even if you decide to not join the thousands of revellers packing all the venues you can at least join them in spirit. This is something I've never seen in South Africa before (where you're lucky if you find a single channel doing a formal count-down), so top marks Romania.

As 00:00 January 1, 2014, approached, of course, there was very little need to watch the count-down - a crescendo of fireworks built up steadily right across Bucharest's skyline. It really is a site to behold: you end up watching about ten firework shows at once, if you get a high vantage point like I was lucky to have (just from the tenth floor of an apartment block).

I didn't have my tripod with me, so of course my first photographs ended up looking like this...

... but then I got lucky, and somebody at a house right in front of our apartment block started lighting up some really amazing fireworks directly from their backyard (you know who you are - house off Bulevardul Basarabia, Sector 2).

Here's a selection: (NB: Click to view larger)

I also tried my hand - pun intended  - at photographing these flying candles which suddenly started floating into the night sky all over, with expected (but attractive) results:

Finally, walking back inside the apartment, it was good to see that we'd come full circle, and the same news channel from before was displaying something appropriate in Romanian (no typo here - lending credence to the theory that the last one was intended):

With that, Happy New Year Romania, and you, wherever you are. It's been a blast, literally.

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