Enjoying the New Years dinner with my friend and her family was a fabulous experience, trying to get home was not.
As I mentioned, New Years is also like the 4th of July–that’s because of the fireworks.Â Though fireworks are technically illegal in China, that doesn’t seem to stop anyone from trying to scare the spirits away.Â Chinese tradition believed that dragons and other monstrous spirits would come on New Years to take away their luck and so to scare them away, the Chinese launched firecrackers believing the noise and bright light flashes would frighten them off.Â Now they just do it because they’re fireworks and fireworks are fun.
The setting-off of the fireworks started at least a week ago, but New Year’s Eve was certainly the worse night.Â Throughout dinner we constantly heard loud cracks and booms and explosions as the fireworks would explode literally right outside her apartment window.Â But even that didn’t prepare me for what I’d experience outside…
When I left my friend’s apartment there were about a half dozen guys in an L-shaped parking lot setting off fireworks between highrise apartment buildings that are no more than 50ft apart from each other.Â There was no coordination among the pyrotechies, just mass chaos of noise, light, fire, and running.
To get from her apartment building out to the street, I felt like a refugee in a warzone where I had to run past 1 explosion during the reload period and duck behind a car as the firework bombed.Â The Japanese are coming! The Japanese are coming! After ducking, dodging, plugging my ears, and trying to make it out of there alive I very easily found a taxi.Â But the taxi had to fight the same battle I’d just fought.Â Each block had more pyros lighting fireworks in the middle of the street that caused cars to swerve around them while drivers tried to avoid being blinded by the flashing lights.
Returning to my apartment was no relief either.Â Even though I could see countless fireworks displays from my window, I still felt like I was in Austria during the 1938 German blitzkrieg, with explosions happening so close and so loud and my windows shaking.
The war didn’t finish at or even shortly after midnight either.Â It started again at 7am and then took a siesta, literally firing itself up again around 4pm today.
When will it stop?Â I just want to sleep without dreaming of airstrikes over Berlin.