New Years Eve was nice and relaxed. Qi and I first went to see the New Year’s Concert in the Shanghai Center Concert Hall. We almost did not make it on time: the government had decided that Dec. 31 was a normal working day (people get in Jan. 2 and 3 off in return – I don’t like it at all), so there were no taxi’s to be found, and once we had one we had to endure Shanghai’s traffic jams. The concert by the London Mozart Players featured several Mozart pieces (among others Le Nozze di Figaro and the Ouverture to Don Giovanni), but of course also the Strauss classics such as The Blue Danube and the Pizzicato Polka. The final was the Radetzky March, and to my amazement the mainly Chinese audience also started clapping to the rhythm, just like in Vienna.
When the concert was over we had some cocktails in the Long Bar (right below the theater), before heading back home. From the bar we could watch the audience scrambling to find taxi’s. Once most were gone our drinks were finished, and went over to the Ritz-Carlton hotel to get a taxi. At home I had prepared cheese fondue with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin champagne, a great combinaton! We watched the movie ‘Bewitched’ while keeping an eye on the clock. At 12 AM we went outside to watch the fireworks, but that was rather disappointing. Inside the inner ring road (where we live) fireworks were apparantly banned, so we could only watch them in the far distance. A big difference from Chinese NY 2004 when I thought a war broke out at midnight, so much firework was suddenly lighted (I still have footage from that, I should probably upload it to Toodou).
2006 had a good start: I woke up around 9 AM refreshed and ready for a new year! Gmail is working again, and both my Apple Powerbook and my BenQ laptop seem to be working fine. Already got some work done this morning, and now I am going to prepare a brunch with croissants, banana bread, french bread, several french cheeses, and scrambled eggs. The espresso machine is already heating up!