American Update #3 – Hogmanay

We begin slightly before Hogmanay, as that’s just how this whole blogging thing pans out whilst you’re on the move. We had a much calmer evening of drinking in Caroline’s flat, given the previous two nights’ shenanigans, and my ridiculous jet-lag.

We played some game called ‘things’, where you get a card like ‘things you would never admit to a police officer’, everyone writes down their answer and then people have to guess who said what. As you can imagine, this can become pretty interesting pretty fast, especially when fuelled by alcohol.

Apparently here you can buy green tomatoes… as in, not ripe, and then deep fat fry them. Amazing. It’s on the list of things to try.

but on to Hogmanay itself…

there were many ideas banded about. There was some sort of mini Mardi Gras parade going on (Mobile is where Mardi Gras started;  the big ball thing you see on top of buildings that counts down to New Year was also happening… in the end we decided to start off by drinking at Caroline’s pad and then make our way out afterwards.

What’s that they say about all the best laid plans…? Not all of our number made it out at all on the actual eve itself, passing out after not eating much and drinking since what would have been dinner time.

Those of us who did decide to plough ahead went downtown to a fairly newish bar. I had managed to overcome the early onset of tiredness caused by the whole traveling thing by not saying or moving very much all day, so that was a victory.

As we set off towards where we were going to be drinking, I’ll never forget Mel drunkenly opening a bottle of champage in the back of her jeep as myself and Chris were discussing the finer points of the law with regards to alcohol and cars. People were a bit wary of letting her wander about the streets swigging from the open bottle till we discovered this:

Apparently just before we had parked up, a stray bullet had hit one of the two cars that we were in. I’ve always wondered what happens to the ammo if you shoot a gun up into the air, and now I know. What goes up must come down after all… and apparently it isn’t a totally unusual way for people to get injured or even killed. Everybody that heard about it over here was pretty shocked that it had happened though, so I wouldn’t be too quick to paint the whole country with the automatic gun-slinging brush that we may be tempted to wheel out.

Shootings coupled with the eery fog and shifty characters that were wandering about, suddenly swigging from the bottle of champagne didn’t seem like too bad an idea at all.

As we neared the bar we heard people cheering and saw the glow of fireworks through the fog, which could only mean one thing… that we were celebrating Hogmanay in the street after getting shot at and not even at the bar we wanted to be at yet.

When we finally got to the bar everything was a lot more genial, although it did clear out pretty quickly after the bells, and being new, the bar had yet to acquire a late licence, so we got papped out fairly early.

I of course was wearing a kilt, and the ladies just couldn’t resist copping a feel of the sporran.

So how was Hogmanay abroad?

Interesting indeed!

It was a bit odd to miss out on a part of the year that is so integral to being Scottish, but it was definitely good to experience it in a fresh way. It may not have been a picture perfect scenario in some respects, or have gone exactly to plan (okay, definitely didn’t), but the whole reason I wanted to spend this year away from Scotland was to do something a bit different, and this certainly won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

I’m tired and not making much sense now, so this is more a flying update than a deep introspection. Goodnight chaps. Hope you had a good one.

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