My favorite New Year’s celebration was in Punta del Este.

It was 1989, going to 1990. We had been in Punta del Este for nearly a month, staying at a hotel affectionately called ‘The Waffle Tower’ because every day, at tea time, it served home-made waffles. The waffles were incredible. They were made with old-fasioned, cast-iron waffle irons heated over a huge fire. The tables were all set with white linen and silverware, and the dining room looked out over a garden full of lavender and roses. During the day, we went to the beach, or to a huge park in the middle of a eucalyptus forest. The park was filled with fanciful, fantastic wooden figures, cars, boats and trains all painted in bright colors, all for children to climb upon and play with. There was also a double-humped bridge, that we called ‘the up-and-down bridge’. Everyone loved to go over it as fast as possible, so there was always a long line of cars in front of the bridge waiting their turn to zoom over it. The ocean in Punta del Este is dark, ultramarine blue, and the sand is naples yellow. Huge, black sea lions swim in the waves, and inland, past the dunes, the pine forest, and the eucalyptus groves, are huge plains where shaggy, long-legged emus run. We were there for a polo tournament. Every evening we would watch the games as the sun went down, and the dust rose and made everything gold and shadows.

That New Year’s eve, we went to a pizzaria with the twins, who were 3 years old, and with two young polo players from France. We had a great time, and when midnight came, everyone stood up and cried ‘Happy New Year!’ The twins looked at me, and Sebi said, “Who got the new ear?”

They thought we’d been celebrating someone’s new ear.

What was your favorite New Year’s eve?

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