Monday, January 26, 2009

You Really Have No Idea!

Take all of the fireworks you and everyone you know have ever seen in their collective lifetimes. Then multiply the result by some absurdly large number. That calculation will give you some idea, at least in the abstract, of the magnitude of what we saw and heard here on New Year's Eve.

For the culmination of the celebration, right before and after the clock struck twelve and the Year of the Ox began, Z and I hung out of our balcony windows, watching an indescribable scene. There were fireworks of every imaginable kind, being set off in locations nears and far.

Right below our balcony, we watched neighbors light up boxes of rockets, which then soared right up to our eye level and burst into colors.

We looked out over the alleyways of Saoziying and listened to strings of firecrackers and sticks of dynamite being detonated with great effect.

We turned the other way and gazed out over the city skyline, lit up from end to end under a seemingly endless barrage of light and sound, the culmination of hundreds or thousands of individual purchases and displays.

And then there we were, early the next morning, walking through Yan Bei Yuan. Who was the first person we encountered? A man with a straw broom, sweeping up the remains of the previous night's party. A fascinating scene that was no doubt playing out, at that very moment, in countless locations around the city and, indeed, the entire country.

All I can say is that New Year's Eve is simply another example of the vast scope of China and the way in which this nation is stitched together by the contributions of millions of people acting in unison in their own local communities.



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