Thursday, December 09, 2004


Are we having fun yet?

As the festive season fast approaches, I am finding myself freshly gobsmacked by Peruvian people's attitude to partying. That is, once they start, they never, ever, ever want to stop. Personally, I learned some years ago, by some nasty experiences, to avoid the bitter end of a party like the plaugue. By leaving early, I've found, you certainly won't miss anything good - more likely you'll just miss the alcohol-induced messy/disgusting/over-emotional parts. But try telling that to a Peruvian! Take, for example, the wedding we went to last weekend. As soon as we arrived on the Saturday night, people started asking us if we'd brought our clothes for the next day! Partying 'til six or seven in the morning is not enough for these people, they want to party constantly, at least for the whole weekend. Good times, for many Peruvians, are few and far between. So when they come, nobody wants to let them go without a fight. I think the attitude over here is even more shocking for me after my three years in Japan! Talk about extreme polar opposites... In Japan people generally party for, say, two hours, from 6pm until 8pm, for example. The party is inevitably kicked off with a speech or a clapping ritual. That' s how all the Japanese know when they are supposed to be having fun. I remember, with nostalgic fondness, a fundraising party that I hosted in a disco along with some friends. One of the Japanese guests turned to me, at about 11pm, beer in hand, and queried "Has the party started?". "Are you having fun yet?" I asked her, and when she replied in the affirmative I assured her that, yes, indeed the party must have started. Likewise, in Japan, there are less bitter endings to parties. Why? Because at the precise time that the party is scheduled to end someone official stands up and declares it has ended. Then everyone puts down their drinks (unfinished!), does a little clapping ritual, and goes home. Talk about the sublime and the ridiculous!

I think I might have to instigate clapping rituals at all my parties from now on. What a fantastic way to carry on.
I wish the parties I went to had scheduled finishes. It'd be 'Oh thank god only another 37 minutes of small talk left.'
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