25 December 2006

(Mostly) Silent Night

Ah, the holiday season! Would it be correct to say that I hate it? Probably not, but I'd rather be elsewhere when it happens. In these days of globalization and intrusive media coverage of everything you can't really escape Christmas, though.

Aside from my own issues, Christmas Eve was fairly uneventful. The streets were full of people desperately shopping for that last gift, or looking for that last bottle of cider, champagne, or whatever bubbly beverage they happened to prefer. As it grew dark (after 8 PM), some fireworks and noisy pyrotechnic bombs started flying, against a background of thick black clouds. The fireworks used to be a real show a few years ago, and a nightmare for dogs (loud noises up in the air scare dogs witless!), but this time they were almost absent, and when as it began raining, they almost vanished, until near midnight. (By the way, I'd never seen so much rain and for so much time in my whole life.) In the previous days, the Urban Guard had set up controls to search for illegal fireworks in private vehicles as they entered the city; there are no fireworks factories in Rosario, but there are a few in the neighbouring towns, where regulations are non-existant or easier to circumvent.

Fortunately, I have a small family (sometimes I wish it were even smaller, but at least the undesirable branches of my genealogical tree were having dinner elsewhere), so we gathered around a table and ate and drank peacefully, and after exchanging gifts and eating some more, we went to bed quite early. I've been going out for years on Christmas, after the final toast, but I made no plans this year, and with the horrible weather it was not a good idea anyway; plus it's usually an odyssey to get a bus or a taxi on Christmas night until 2 AM. (The municipality says they were monitoring the frequency of the public transport and that they'll fine those who did not supply the service appropriately; I'll believe it when I see it.)

It was peaceful in the city as well: the authorities report that in Rosario there were less than 20 traffic accidents (all minor), a few people wounded by blade weapons, and others (less than 10) burned or injured by pyrotechnic devices. And, probably because of the increased controls, only one case of drunken driving. All in all, it was nothing compared to previous Christmas nights, and closer to regular weekends. Buenos Aires, on the other hand, seems to have had a painful night; for some reason people continue to like hands-on explosive handling and getting corks projected at high speeds into their eyeballs.

Except for the injuries and burns, I do hope New Year's night is more fun than this.

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