And so, it was Hogmany.
I think I've made it clear that I had a marvelous time. It was great... from the company to the food to the fireworks to the party in the street, everything was exactly what I wanted it to be. If I were to do anything different, it would be to ignore everyone who insisted we get there super-uber early, as there's really only so much entertainment a street full of people without anything to can provide for a couple of hours.
But there were amusement park rides, and we did enter the Maze of Terror. My lovely companion for the evening (that would be Myles) discovered my horrible phobia of just about anything that comes out of the dark, and I was suitably terrified. And it killed a bit of time. *grin*
The evening started with something approaching a traditional Scottish meal. There were tatties and neeps, carefully boiled so there was next to no flavour in them. Then there was haggis, also boiled, but it did have some flavour to it. Luckily, there was also copious amounts of alcohol to mask the flavour. You can never really go wrong with that, can you?
I'll skip the story where we had the clever idea of trying to move the rather large kitchen table into my not-as-large bedroom, and just mention that it a) seemed like a good idea at the time and b) was discussed while we were still sober, so I have no idea what we were thinking. I do know at one point it came down to "Well, let's have some of that good Edinburgh beer... then maybe we'll come up with a plan on how to get the table into the bedroom!" At that point, the table was stuck in the hallway, and blocking access both to the bedroom and to the bathroom, but no one ever said I was clever.
After all that (we moved the table eventually, and now it is in the other room), we decided that 7:30ish was a perfectly logical time to head out to a party that didn't start till 10, donned our sexy Scotland Is The Place hats and our Street Party wristbands and headed out into the night.
How do you describe a Street Party that had a million-zillion people at it? I've been to things like this before (I guess, kinda, not really - people huddling for warmth at the First Night in Edmonton isn't really the same thing, is it?), and it was insanely different in Edinburgh. People were laughing and carrying on, there was much singing and being silly, and some people showed up in costume. There was a Harry Potter (of course), an entire court of medieval Princesses and Knights, a trio that consisted of Batman and Robin (from the t.v. show in the 70s) and Cruella DeVille, and a rather disgruntled looking Santa, trudging along with an empty sack and a frown. There were many, many boys in kilts, some of whom may actually have been Scottish. (At least one decided to show off what he was wearing underneath the kilt. Myles wouldn't let me snap a picture.) Oh, and there was a bunny. A really big bunny. No idea what posessed anyone to do that, as he was covered in sweat by the time I ran into him, and it wasn't even 11 o'clock yet.
I guess what I can't get over was how friendly people were. I don't know what I was expecting - violence and chaos, maybe? But there was a distinct lack of it. No one was terribly stupid, at least not where I could see. People danced, they carried on, there were a million photos taken of everyone being silly, and it was just grand. Even after the actual 'entertainment' started (there were free stages set up in Princes Street, and a few things that you could buy tickets for in the actual Park itself), most of the fun was in just watching people. Myles and I hit the two big stages down on one end, then entertained ourselves for the next 45 minutes just trying to press our way through the crowds and not get seperated. Lots of gawking and people watching.
Of course, the whole point is the fireworks, at least for me. I adore them, and they really do know how to do them in Edinburgh. I had, of course, heard of the whole thing... they set off fireworks on most of the hills, and I guess you can see them from everwhere on New Years Eve. (I had friends who were at a party at their place instead, and they rushed out right before midnight to watch from the Meadows.) But seeing them bursting into life above the castle, huge displays of colour and noise, surrounded by people singing and laughing and clapping... it was so amazing. It was like being at the best party ever, and everyone was having a good time.
As the fireworks began to subside, all around me, people were singing. Some were singing the unofficial Scottish national anthem (or so Myles told me), and some were singing Auld Lang Syne, and it all just sounded wonderful together. People were shaking hands, kissing each other, laughing and hugging. Walking through the crowds afterwards, I must have kissed a dozen boys at least, and a couple of girls, too. It was just that sort of thing to do. Lots of smiles, lots of "Happy New Year!" It just felt like the best place to be, right at that moment.