Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

Tonight is New Year's Eve here in China. Tomorrow marks the official Chinese (Lunar) New Year for 2011, the year of the rabbit. The holiday period encompassing tomorrow and the following five days is called the Spring Festival here in China.

Fireworks are legal and available from street sellers everywhere, and people set them off wherever they please - power lines, buildings, plants, no big deal. Today I noticed a burnt spot of about 3m radius on the lawn across the street. This apartment community has signs indicating where it's ok to set off fireworks, I can see three of these from my window, and most folks are using them; however, there are occasional bursts from sidewalks, out of windows, on the rooftops, in the gardens...

Tonight the fireworks are really spectacular, both sight and sound. The air is filled with the tangy sulfuric smell of fireworks. It sounds like a war zone outside, there are crackers, boomers, screamers and giant aerials. The fireworks are so loud it's hard to even hear all the car alarms going off! I'm so glad my windows are double paned, as it makes a huge difference in the sound level.

Not only are some set off right here among the buildings, I can see the fireworks all around the city skyline, EVERYWHERE. I've gotten some great videos right from my windows. Every time I think it can't get any more spectacular, it does. These are BIG, the kind that are illegal for private citizens back in California.

This video shows a quick pan of the skyline, the little sparkles are actually huge firworks in the distance. Then to the left side I caught some crackers (these are responsible for much of the noise) and behind that at the next station some big aerials.

The next one shows some of the big aerials exploding right outside my window, and a glimpse of the people below setting them off.

More explosive goodness right outside my window:

There was one fountain firework, of the kind I remember setting off as a kid, that was really outstanding; it lasted for several minutes and changed color, shape and style. Didn't catch that one on video, but it was beautiful, one of the best fountains I've ever seen.

Unfortunately, I'm not yet master enough of my camera to get a still photo of nighttime lights or fireworks that is in focus. There is much to learn, Grasshopper.

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