I flew back to Amsterdam and arrived in the morning on New Year’s Eve. I wasn’t sure how my body would be reacting to the time change, but I forced myself out to meet friends in Utrecht anyway to go to a house party! They like to go all out with fireworks here. My friends even had a EUR130 firework from Belgium (in a big rectangular ACME box with a fuse), which was totally illegal and ignited 100 fireworks in a much-anticipated procession. After all the ammunition was used up, fires were made from the trash in the street. Cars were driving around them, the drivers hoping to dodge fireworks thrown at them, and then the police and firemen came to clear things up. I just read that 100 cars were set on fire in Utrecht but didn’t see any myself. The house party lasted until 1am and then we went to a bar. It is different in the States where typically I think people go to the bars before midnight so they can celebrate the New Year at midnight. I took the train back to Amsterdam at 7am and will never forgot all the red fireworks debris littering the streets on my walk home. This was the best New Years ever and I’m really looking forward to 2009!