Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Beijing? Or Baghdad?

Originally uploaded by weibinwestgate.
Well, the Chinese New Year is over and I'm happy to announce we survived it. Seriously.

I knew there were fireworks involved (legend has it to frighten off a monster and ensure a bounteous harvest for the year), but "involved" doesn't quite do it justice. It's EVERYWHERE. On the eve of the lunar new year, we were cycling back from a failed expedition to acquire a wireless router when explosions started assaulting our ears from every direction. Everyone and their brother is setting off those strings of little firecrackers that sound like machine guns, particularly when echoing off buildings.

People set them off in the middle of the street, in alleways, and on overpasses. Between buildings, off the roofs, EVERYWHERE. I'm definitely prepared to report from a warzone now.

Now, I love a good fireworks show, but this was kind of insane, because these are your puny American fireworks. No, they ship us the wussy stuff that meets our silly little safety regulations. Here in China, they play with serious explosives. And not just the adults - I saw toddlers setting firecrackers off. In fact, I was amazed to read the next day that "only" 125 people had been injured. I would have guessed thousands.

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