Christmas in Caracas is very silent. The usual traffic and hordes of people are absent.
This is possibly because Christmas Eve in Caracas was totally nuts. I don’t know if Papa Noel drives a sleigh to give presents to the Caraqueno girls and boys, but I’m going to bet he does not, because the fireworks were a seriously intense anti-aircraft barrage. It was similar to Berlin circa 1945, but with car alarms. Giant commercial-grade fireworks were being set off from right across the street – I’ve never been that close to the launch point or the explosion point. And it wasn’t just the one launch; fireworks were erupting from all the mountainsides and across the valley. They really went nuts at midnight, so we assumed Mallory was awake, but he was determined to stay in his room Just In Case…it was okay as he could watch fireworks from his side of the apartment too.
I don’t know what the local wildlife made of it; when the first bottle rocket started earlier in the day, the pigeons freaked out and headed out.
While the fireworks were impressive, what we really love are the sky lanterns. Usually one or two are launched each night from the park across the street – it’s a mirador (lookout, viewing place) over the city and a romantic setting – but at midnight they were going up from the mirador and from all over the mountainsides. It wasn’t a big cluster like in Rapunzel or photos of destination weddings, but it was more beautiful and personal for that.
Our family Christmas was nice. As most of our stuff hasn’t arrived yet, we don’t really have any Christmas decorations, so right after we got here a week ago, Mallory and I made a Christmas tree from the heavy cardboard air freight boxes. Mal said “I don’t think Santa’s going to buy that,” but I explained that it’s not supposed to fake him out, it’s just supposed to show that we are trying to be in the Christmas spirit. We found a star ornament to move to the top of the tree on Christmas Eve, and covered the cardboard in wrapping paper.
Mal found another box and drew Christmas lights and reindeer on it and labeled it “Santa, please put presents here.” He set it under our little tree and Inanna promptly moved in. Either she thinks she’s the best present ever, or she’s determined to make sure the big man does right by her boy.
And he did – sometime between when the fireworks petered out around 2 am and when Mallory woke up at 6 am, we were able to fall asleep. We woke to a pile of presents and a quiet city.
Merry Christmas, everyone!