We decided to stay in Shanghai for the Chinese New Year holiday. Most people leave the city for either vacation or visiting family, but we have really only been in China for a few weeks, so we opted to spend the week here doing a little exploring and taking some time to regroup after the start of school. We all needed some rest and I thought that organizing ourselves for a trip might prove to be too much. We had been warned about the fireworks– that they would be loud and continuous– but we were looking forward to seeing Chinese New Year Chinese style. The fireworks did not disappoint. In fact, they are still going on right now. What’s that you say? You thought the big celebration part was over? Hey, so did we!
The first night of insane fireworks was on the expected date. No surprises there. We had an early dinner and as soon as the sun began to set our neighbors began shooting off fireworks. Mark and the kids wanted to launch some ourselves so he and Ava headed out to look for a place to buy some. We had been told that there are stands everywhere, and once we were clued in to what the festive red pop up stores were selling we were confident that we could buy some ridiculously dangerous fireworks to launch. I will make a confession here, when Mark and Ava came home empty handed I wasn’t disappointed. I was actually extremely relieved. I like looking at fireworks but I am not too keen on firework related injuries (see earlier post about hospitals to make my reasons for resistance crystal clear). This year we were destined to just watch.
Oh, there were plenty of fireworks to see. Mark wanted to take the kids downtown to check out the city so Ava and Lucas bundled up and went with him to his office. Apparently, they never made it more than 10 minutes down the road. It was very cold and crowded and there were so many fireworks in our own neighborhood that there wasn’t a need to go very far. We had heard stories of people filling their bathtubs and submerging their ears to drown out the noise, but this was great! It was like the time we parked right next to the fireworks barge in the harbor! Who could complain about this?
At 2am we began complaining. It really had not let up. When we woke up the next morning we marveled at the amount of fireworks that must have gone into that spectacle. We had been told that after Chinese New Year Shanghai is covered in a cloud of smoke that you can see from the air. This now seems entirely possible.
And now imagine our surprise when the same thing happened two nights later! During the day we could hear fireworks off and on, but in the evenings things always got cooking again. The third night was even louder and more showy than the first. Mark described it as a cross between Disneyland and a war zone. We waited for grand finales that never came. The entire evening was like one long finale. One very, very, very long finale that was taking place two houses down from us. Who was even watching these fireworks anymore? We weren’t. They were the most amazing fireworks we had ever seen and we wanted them to stop. Welcome to the Year of the Dragon, people!