Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year

Well I'm kind of a lame blogger for not having more pictures of this event, but I was too busy trying to keep my boys from blowing their fingers off with fireworks.

Our local fireworks distributor

The cacophony outside tonight is really impressive.  There is no delay between one explosion and another, creating just a constant, noisy roar.  The most popular fireworks seem to be those that shoot out of mortars up into the sky and blow up, 4th of July style.  Fireworks stands have opened up on many street corners, and we visited our local fireworks distributor - no less than 4 times.  Every time the salesman sees us come back, he gives us a big smile, and I can see the dreamy, dollar-sign (or yuan-sign) gleam in his eyes.

As with many activities in China, personal safety is a secondary concern.  There are no personal injury lawyers here as far as I know :).  If you're dumb enough to buy the biggest fireworks box available (and we were), you'd better watch out for yourself!

At the fireworks stand, I had my eye on the largest box - 3 feet tall and 2 feet across, and weighing about 100 lbs, and containing 36 finely packed mortars.  I just had to know what it did, so after several minutes of bargaining and 450 quai ($65 US) later, Peter and I carted this behemoth down the block.  Upon surveying the street and the building placements I set it down at I point I judged equidistant from any structure that would burn.  Next I hollered at the family so that they were sufficiently scared to a safe perimeter.  Finally, I lit the double fuse protruding menacingly out of the bottom of the box and ran like hell!

I'm happy to say the display did not disappoint!  There were 36 beautiful shots that went up over 100 feet and exploded in a dazzling array of colors.  We "oohed" and "aahed" over each one and felt fully satisfied when it had completed.  An old Chinese man stopped to watch us, and after the box finished its launches, Sue and Peter sauntered forward to look inside.  The Chinese man stopped them immediately and gave them a Chinese style talking to which none of us could understand, but we all knew what he meant. :) 

Sue bought a ring of firecrackers about 2 feet in diameter, holding more than 50,000 firecrackers.  We lit one end, and then sat there watching it explode for over 4 minutes.  Our ears are all ringing tonight!

The boys bought 1,000 firecrackers on their own, and spent hours blowing up snow drifts, water bottles, tin cans, oranges, peppers, and anything else not nailed down at home.  They had their eye on Sophie's toys, but we had to draw the line somewhere. 

Now, it's finally time for bed, but I'll put my earplugs in, just in case my hearing returns before morning.  Happy Chinese New Year!


Bob & Amy said...

Happy Chinese New Year! I can't think of anything more cool for your boys. What fun night!!
Hope your hearing returns in the morning!!

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year China Style!
We just sat thru a night of
bad weather as a line of tornados
came along. We sat in our bathroom
listening to the wind howl and the
windows shake. Over 40 killed in
several states. Ni Hao! Mary