Each of the two weeks (or so) of Chinese New Year means only one thing in Beijing: Fireworks. They start before the official holiday and run well after.
This year, the government was very strict in enforcing the period during which fireworks could be set off. Not only that, they raised the prices significantly from previous years.
That didn’t stop people from unloading cars full of fireworks to set them off in any open space. Open space can loosely be defined as the width of any street.
The last night when fireworks can be sold translates into discounted fireworks. After three Chinese New Years celebrations in Beijing, I finally got up the nerve to set off my own fireworks. From the local stand I ended up with this big box of American cowboy gun-shooting motorcycle-riding fireworks from the Panda Fireworks Company.
I’m sure the Panda Fireworks Company is a reliable manufacturer of fireworks, and these were trucked across the country without incident, but they still scared the crap out of me. Seriously, everyone has reason to be scared of a box of explosives made in China for domestic consumption. After all, this is a country that can’t sell watermelons that don’t explode.
The salesman definitely found it novel that I had to ask how to light the box. He tore at a bit of tape off one corner of the box and revealed a fuse that looked much too short to be reasonable.
I proudly and nervously carried my giant box of fireworks to an open space outside of a Bentley dealership. I pulled a lighter from my pack, lit that little fuse and, as the you can tell from this photo, I ran like hell.
I survived, and managed to get a photo of the awesomeness that erupted from my box of Panda Fireworks Company fun. The motorcycle-riding gun-shooting cowboy is an entirely fitting image for what happened. Awesome.