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This is the first post that I have made from my own computer in a while, and it feels great! Luckily the Chinese have decided that my capitalist propaganda machine known as this blog is of no threat to the stability of the country, so we are back in business. Erin was in Vietnam during the long holiday known as Spring Festival, which is Chinese New Year, which celebrates the first day of the lunar calendar. It is the year of the rabbit (read more about the Chinese Zodiac here) but I don’t really know what it means. Someone is supposedly more lucky or going to get rich or some other astrological theory that I disagree with.

Erin was gone, my two roommates went home to their families, so it was just little David all by his lonesome, with only the never ending barrage of fireworks to keep him company. Never ending barrage of fireworks you say? Indeed I did. A few days before the New Year, you heard an occasional firework, but as the days got closer, the frequency of blasts increased. On Spring Festival Eve, I really cannot put into words what the celebration was like. Basically everyone in the city, everywhere in the city, was shooting off a ridiculous amount of fireworks. I don’t mean run of the mill fireworks you can buy in the USA, I mean like the finale of the fireworks at the National Mall. It is basically Christmas, New Years Eve, and July 4th only for a week and every day is more intensely celebrated than all of those holidays. A holiday like this simply isn’t possible in the USA, because there is no way US society would be OK with the complete disregard for safety that was displayed. I am in the middle of one of the most densely populated places on the entire planet, and there are fireworks going off less than 15 feet from my window. I saw children no older than 6 lighting HUGE fireworks with their father’s cigarette. I saw people angling gigantic pyrotechnics over the biggest roads in the city so to create the most awesome explosions imaginable. I also saw fireworks tip over and blast through the windshield of a car, start a fire on the ground floor of a building, and idiots pointing fireworks at eachother in some weird Chinese game of chicken. Basically, there is no way this holiday can continue as it currently does. An estimated 6000-11000 injuries occurred this year from fireworks, in BEIJING ALONE!!!! 24 hours a day, for about a week. Its a terrifying and mesmerizing display, and I am glad I was here for it. Article written by a guy named Andrew Jacobs about the fireworks.

Besides the fireworks, there are also temple fairs, which are small carnivals at all the parks in Beijing. I was expecting these to be a great celebration of the storied traditions of this ancient culture. In reality it was a bunch of people eating hot dogs and pigeons and buying stupid hats and other dumb souvenirs. I was thoroughly disappointed but was glad to see a bunch of the temple fairs if for no other reason than there were about a billion people walking around. There was also some sort of game where you wrote a wish or your name or something on a sticker, and then had to jump and put it as high as you could. Everyone was amazed when I jumped and put it on a pole that was above where anyone else had put it, so you can all feel proud to be Americans (assuming you are Americans). Probably the coolest thing I stumbled upon at the temple fairs was a building filled with people playing games. Chess, checkers, mah jong, everything you could think of. It seemed that people could sign up to play a “master” who walked around playing many different games at the same time. Everyone wanted me to play but it looked pretty boring, because the expert was playing so many games that each game took at least an hour. I would have lost so fast it probably would have gone quickly, but I was too scared.

It is so nice being able to access the blog without having to switch computers and send pictures from one place to another, so hopefully more exciting things happen so we can kick the blog back into high gear. A friend of mine took video during the peak of the fireworks, so hopefully I can get him to send it to me. Much like Christmas in the USA, Spring Festival is the most wonderful time of the year. There was NOBODY in Beijing, so the streets were driveable. Cabbies were the happiest people in the city and all mentioned how much better Beijing was when no Chinese people were in the city. The streets were empty, which was great. It was the world’s largest ghost town for a week. Hope all is well with you, congrats to all the people born in the year of the rabbit, peace, I’m out.

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