Gearing Up for New Year’s Eve

Wow!…it has come around so fast. The year has passed quicker than I thought it would and as I reflect on the year’s events, not only in my life but that of the world, a lot has happened – both good and bad. But, the focus is now on seeing 2007 out and bringing 2008 in, so to speak. New Year’s Eve celebrations in Indonesia are fabulous with the mandatory street-filled human masses enjoying the night. Hotels around Indonesia always put on some kind of fancy meal and entertainment but it is down on the streets where all the action is.

In Bali no doubt Jl Legian will be full as usual, however, in the streets of the major cities in Java it’s full-on rock n’ roll and huge doses of good fun. I have enjoyed New Year’s Eve in many places over the years but for my favourite place it has to be Yogyakarta. Early on in the morning the trumpet sellers line Jl Malioboro, the mood seems to change from sombre to one of excitement and children drag their parents from one vendor to another to get the best trumpet and the best price.

Around 8pm, the traffic on Jl Malioboro trickles down to zero and the main road is closed. It is then the street fills with trumpet-blowing merrymakers, a little a first, then by 10pm it is a full-on mardi gras atmosphere. Firecrackers are exploding everywhere and it appears as though the whole of Yogyakarta is cramming onto the street. Trumpets blare continuously as everybody talks to anyone who they come into contact with. It’s like a celebratory one-big-family affair. At the stroke of midnight the noise is deafening. Handshakes and best wishes for the New Year are ubiquitous and by 2am the street is quiet except for the cleaners sweeping up the mess.

So, may you be blessed with a Happy New Year!