Sunday, February 14, 2010
Let There Be Light
The bombardment began around 8 a.m. Saturday morning. Someone outside my apartment complex decided to start setting off fireworks at that time and not stop until later the next morning. Around midday, a slew of other people in the neighboring communities followed suit and by nightfall the city was full with a variety of fireworks lighting the night sky.
It was time for Chinese New Year.
POP. EEEEEEEEEeeeee. CRACK!
To be honest, it sounded like a war zone, if not for the bright red and green colors in the sky.
I decided to find a nice open area to enjoy the show -- Hou Hai, the lake area I enjoyed visiting during the warmer summer and fall months. I arrived at about 11:30 an already fireworks were going off. Then, minutes before midnight, all across the city trails of light and smoke could be seen.
A few people setting off fireworks got a little trigger happy with their displays. A round or two went off feet from where I was standing and it wasn't till the next morning that I got my hearing back.
The display itself was amazing. I read somewhere that the fireworks set off in Beijing are the largest, uncoordinated (and probably unsafe) show in the world. I think I may have seen more red, green and white explosions in 30 minutes, all around me, than I have in the last 23 years. It was awesome.
The mess afterward was equally awesome. Heaps upon heaps of red paper littered the streets across Beijing. Smoke filled the air (in the video, notice how the visibility in the area quickly deteriorates). I smelled like sulfur and gun powder by the time I left.
I think the fireworks, at least in my area, stopped around 3 or 4 a.m. That's when I finally fell asleep -- and was promptly woken up around 8:30 a.m. with a new round of explosions.
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT: I tried to use as many trees and Chinese people for cover as I could while video taping the firework display
CITY VIEW: Fireworks went off across the city and nation, possibly visible from space (much like the Great Wall)
SO MUCH FOR THE RULES: A warning sign outside my apartment. Off camera is a group of Chinese setting off a chain of firecrackers
THE MORNING AFTER: Walking to the super market to buy groceries for breakfast, I was greeted with a bang... literally
FOLLOW THE RED COVERED ROAD: The street outside my apartment was blanketed in red paper from the remains of fireworks that had been set off since 8 a.m. Saturday morning