Chinese New Year is about two things: fireworks and family.
I believe my previous post made it fairly clear that I got a good taste of the former aspect of the most populated country’s biggest holiday. But what about the latter?
Once again, thanks to my fabulous host Andy and his good friend Leo, yes, I did.
On the night of New Year’s Eve, Leo and his family had us over for a homemade feast – of fresh crab, enormous shrimp, steamed vegetables, and all the pig’s feet you can eat. Although I could understand little of what was being discussed, I was extremely thankful for the opportunity to experience Chinese New Year with a real Chinese family…in China.
As the evening pushed on, the tempo of the fireworks outside the window never stopped rising – and I couldn’t help myself from rushing over to watch. But every time I did, Leo arrived soon after:
“No, it’s verrry little!” he’d say. “Only 9pm! Just wait until midnight! Now, very little!”
“Little” would hardly be the word I’d choose to describe the escalating chaos around us, but I took his word for it and returned to the kitchen…
…To join his wife, son, and niece in rolling some Chinese dumplings – a new year’s tradition. We continued with a few rounds of Hide-And-Seek, before Andy remembered that he hadn’t yet shown me Leo’s rocks…
“In China, wealthy businessmen are crazy over Jade,” Leo told me. “Not over sportscars or designer suits – it’s all about jade. Here, check out this rock. How much do you think it’s worth?”
$900,000. A massive chunk of one of the rarest types.
Just think about that: a stone worth as much as 5 Ferraris in a country where $100 a month is more than enough to live off of. Just sitting there on the desk.
Can I have one? Please? 🙂
When the clock reached 11:30, it was finally time to head downstairs and into the storage shed to pull out the big guns.
The sound of millions of fireworks going off continuously from everywhere around you is an experience that’s just indescribable. No photo or video can capture it. But I gave it my best shot 🙂
Repeated from my last post, see video here.
By the time Andy and I hopped on our bikes and headed home the city lie in smoldering ruins. With the peak of the holiday past, explosions were still constant – but no longer was every single building’s front doorstep lined with launch tubes and boxes upon boxes of fireworks.
Instead, they were covered with ash and red paper shrapnel.
My heart goes out to China’s streetsweepers.