New Year’s Eve Fireworks 2013 in London

Having spent NYE 2012 raving in the streets of St. Anton, I couldn’t bear the thought of staying home to watch people celebrating on TV this year.

Two days before the event, we decided to go to London. To watch those fireworks, and be in that crowd. We watched last years video on YouTube approximately 10 times, worked out the best place to stand, studied the map, checked the train times, and eventually decided that the best option would be to drive up to the end of the Central Line and get the tube in – rather than stay out til 6:30am for first train home!

Armed with a bottle of Prosecco, coke bottles of Sex on the Beach and Cosmopolitan and some plastic champagne glasses we headed off down the A12 to Newbury Park to get the Central Line to Embankment.
London 2013Surprised at how smoothly the plan was going, we had arrived by 9pm, to be taken the long way around back to the river. The street along the Thames was a lot emptier than we imagined, and although we weren’t allowed to go under the bridge to where we had planned (ticket holder’s only?!) we settled down in a good spot with a view of the London Eye.
London 2013 FireworksThe crowd soon filled up, a few fights and a few bottles of beer were thrown and a girl screaming at people ”MIND MY BABY!!!”  (why would you bring a baby?!) but mostly people were having a good time – dancing to the music waiting for the countdown. Eventually it happened, watching on the building they project the time onto and it was very exciting!!!! 10, 9, 8….
New Years Eve Countdown 2013We opened the bottle of Prosecco and watched the fireworks, while the whole crowd stood quite still and quiet videoing it on their phones…!
London 2013 FireoworksI’m still not sure how often one would watch their home made video back but they did inspire me to make my own video:

Happy New Year Everyone!



One response to “New Year’s Eve Fireworks 2013 in London

  1. New year in Oman:

    Today, I received a lift by taxi from near my home to the college of technology in Salalah, Oman, where I work. This taxi driver was 80 years old; he proudly told me. I noted that he drove very safely and did not wear glasses.

    In his life, this aging Omani taxi driver had worked as a mason, a carpenter, and as a truck driver. This Omani lives now in Dahariz (a part of Salalah), but he had worked in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, and other locations in the middle East over the decades. Over the years, he had worked normally privately for various firms, including those who do contracts with the Omani military.

    This Omani octogenarian noted that he had never gone to school. He proudly shared that he could, however, write, and he could read the Koran. He could not speak other languages, like Gaballi or Mahri—or even English (all languages used in this region). However, it was quite clear by his driving skills and his facilities in his native language, Arabic, that the man was a capable and lucid man from whom current generations could learn so much.

    In Oman, one of the ways to get to know more intimately the local population is to take a taxi and to ask a lot of questions—and listen to the driver. Why? First of all, by law, officially only Omanis are permitted to have the job of taxi driver in the country of Oman. This means that when you enter the taxi, you are entering the office of an Omani—either the owner of the taxi–or an employee or friend of the taxi owner.

    Second, often, taxi driving is not the only job that the driver has or has had. That is, almost all taxi drivers either work (or worked) for a private firm, for the government, or for themselves or their families. This means that when you enter the office or taxi, you enter a second or third office if you please. You ask where the other places are where the man works or worked. Then you proceed to have a conversation about that job. For example, here in Salalah, I often get military personnel, government officers, and private contractors who drive part time as taxi drivers. Some are from the Dhofar regions—others are from Muscat, Nizwa, Sohar or other regions of the land. I have gained insight in how fluid the overall economy is and to what degree drivers are multilingual.

    Some drivers share quite a bit. Others are more tight-mouthed or simply less reflective. However, most taxi drivers are insightful or simply willing to share gems about themselves, their region, their families, and their societies. Some work as tour guides on and off—which is important here in Dhofar due to the annual migration of visitors during the Khareef Season.

    One of the more interesting drivers I have met was also from Dahariz, i.e. as was the octogenarian cab driver I met today. That younger driver was not only fairly fluent in English but even more fluent in Spanish—as well as in his native Arabic dialects. The man had gone to Spain back in the 1970s, in the era immediately after the country’s destructive Dhofar Civil War ended. That man had apparently received a 4 or 5 year scholarship to study in Madrid and did quite well. This man had great insight and worked many odd jobs (including as a tour guide) but he had never taught Spanish, which is tragic because it would help a lot of young Omanis to have further access into the friends of the Middle East in Latin America and Europe. In other words, many taxi drivers have unused skills, which you may get them to share. (I am also a Spanish teacher and this driver is the only fluent speaker in the city whom I know. However, Spanish tourists and Spanish footballers do come here and work.)

    Finally, I should note that there is a legend here in Oman that even the Sultan of the country occasionally dawns normal clothing and drives around the country in the guise of a taxi driver, i.e. in order to find out what local people think and feel—or what foreigners in the country are thinking and feeling about the country, its present, and future. Perhaps, you, too, will be lucky and meet Sultan Qaboos if and when you take a cab. He probably will enjoy asking your opinion and getting insights from you.

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