Happy Chinese New Year! 春节快乐!

Fireworks outside our apartment

Yesterday was the last day of Chinese new year as well as the conclusion of my five day trip to Shanghai, Suzhou and Hangzhou. Luckily we spent the actual new years day here in Beijing. The most commonly used phrase I’ve heard when people describe Beijing during Chinese new year is a “war zone”. After experiencing this event firsthand I couldn’t agree more. I would only add that the fireworks are unrivaled in duration and sheer volume.

The detonation sites are especially astounding – people set fireworks off under power lines, in the middle of roads, at people and at buildings. Only two years ago a brand-new building was torched due to the carelessness of enraptured citizens. Similarly this year more fires sprung up across China with more tragic results.

Buying fireworks

New years night we decided to invite some friends over for a walk to our favorite dumpling joint (eating dumplings is a traditional new years dish in northern China) followed by a fireworks viewing from the safety of our apartment. Little did I realize that we’d spend the next few hours dodging wayward firecrackers, watching people blow up tnt, and setting off some of own fireworks bought at stands that seemed to have sprung up over night. It was a great night.

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