Ringing in the Year of the Snake, Chengdu-Style!

Yes, I just posted new writing a few hours ago.

Yes, it is well past midnight and I’m exhausted.

But no, I cannot go to bed without sharing the utterly amazing and chaotic skyline that is Chengdu on Lunar New Year’s Eve.

The fireworks have been popping off after dark, at random intervals, all week long. Last night, we got in on the action with a trip to the Marine House for pizza and fireworks on the roof’s patio. At the time, we were pretty impressed with the display of fireworks that would never be legal in the US, let alone be shot off in the middle of a city, with a porch full of kids. (Granted, we had the kids behind a dubious perimeter of plastic lawn chairs. Safety first!)

Over the past few nights, what we thought was a lot of noise and flashing lights didn’t even qualify as a preface to the show that took place tonight.

Living on the 24th floor with a balcony that overlooks the river, we had an amazing view of the city. We weren’t boxed in by Chengdu’s ubiquitous skyscrapers, but rather had a line of site across the city’s horizon that was unparalleled. People were putting large boxes of mortars in the middle of the road, lighting the fuse and letting them rip. There were a few times I felt the need to dodge/duck as I watched the show in my bathrobe on my porch.

Imagine a fireworks grand finale that blankets the horizon, from left to right. Imagine reds and greens, golds and purples, lighting up the nighttime sky. Add on top of that the deafening roar of mortar after mortar and the high-pitched popping of firecracker after firecracker.  As I type this, my ears are still ringing from the incredibly loud and incredibly close show. I think I may have just shorted my ear’s lifespan by a year or two, but it was worth it! (Much more so than the New Kids on the Block concert I attended in the 6th grade. Those second row seats were awesome to my 12-year old self, but in retrospect, I’ll take Chinese New Year hearing loss over boy-band hearing loss any day!)

The utter, but beautiful, chaos outside is subsiding, but I can’t go to sleep without giving our adopted hometown a shout-out. Well-done this evening Chengdu. Well-done!