I've an old school mate working in the United States. Near Washington DC, to be more precise. I've known him to be working there for donkey's years. So long, in fact, that I don't know when it was that he had settled down there. We usually keep in touch by emails only and once in a very long while, he'd come back to his old hometown for a visit to his remaining relatives here. Unfortunately, these visits also getting fewer and farther apart because the number of old folks are dwindling.
But that's beside the point. He often tells me that if ever I'm in his part of the world, I should give him a shout. There are lots of cultural events the whole year round in America's capital city but if I'm game enough to go there in winter, I should pencil in the annual DC New Years Eve Gala. "There's no New Years Eve party like this one," he assured me.
"It's very cosmopolitan," he said. Huh, even through email, I could detect his gushing enthusiasm. "You won't feel out of place. Come here, lah, to savour the delights of the various continents. It's not only about food, you know, it's also about music, culture and people." Wonderful, isn't he? He's more than 30 years out of the country but that little "lah" in the conversation betrays his origin. Our little inflexion of the English language. Just can't get it out of our system.
Sounds so very interesting. People? Meeting 3,000 partying people? Erm, maybe not my kind of crowd. Will be kind out of place, even should my friend pulls me along. But music, that's okay with me. Culture, that's okay with me too. Why don't you go give them a virtual tour first, he suggested. So I did and I ended up at this New Year DC site.
Yah, my friend wasn't joking. Even for us Asians who may happen to work or visit the States at the end of year, the Professionals In The City's annual New Years Eve Washington DC Gala is indeed a rousing event for everyone regardless of ethnicity. The organisers claim to have searched the world for the best New Year celebrations and combined them all into one truly unforgettable evening, and they have been doing this for more than a decade. It's become an institution.
For example, there was a Latin Fusion Salsa Room for everyone to samba the night away to their live salsa band. Don't know how to? There were even on-the-spot lessons. Cool. Samba's a nice lively dance. Or maybe a Mexico City Fiesta to get your blood up. There was also the elegance of Viennese music to waltz to, played by a live orchestra.
For us Asians who may want to be closer to home, my friend told me the organisers had lined up an East Asian themed Fountain of Youth with music and culture most popular in Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Kyoto. Or maybe, stray into the Bollywood Hills Underground Club to enjoy exotic Hindi, Punjabi, Ghazals and Bollywood pop songs, and learn Bollywood dances. And not forgetting the chance for anyone to show off their talents - good or bad - in the Japanese Karaoke Room.
All very interesting, right? Maybe, lah, I wrote back to my friend. Maybe, if I do pass halfway around the way and happen to be in his neighbourhood, I'll give him a call. In the meanwhile, he can go to this year-end's New Year's Eve Gala by himself first. And tell me later. Haha...
This was what I found on the Internet. Gosh, it's really wild and exciting: