Chinese New Year’s was about 100 times more exciting than regular New Years.  It was also about 20 times more exciting than any Fourth of July I’ve ever experienced.

So, take Christmas, New Year’s, Thanksgiving, and Fourth of July, add a good dose of “anyone can buy fireworks for relatively cheap” sprinkle in some “Chinese males’ propensity to drink too much bai jiu” and wrap them up in a dumpling wrapper and you’ve got a taste of New Years in Beijing.

First of all, fireworks have been going on nonstop for the past week at least.  Or so I thought.  New Year’s Eve was like being in a battle zone.  But at least it was a happy battle zone full of sparkles!

We began by making dumplings.  I had the task of chopping up the ginger into untastable smallness, among other things. I feel fair confident we did other things that day, but all I remember is the endless task of  making dumplings.   At least there were lots of us so it was fun.

Then we brought all the food to the living room and feasted! Feasted I tell you!

Then we had a fun photo shoot with this random frame we found hanging around in the living room.  Much fun was had by all.  Then at around 9 or so we took a break from each other’s company, vowing to reconvene just before midnight to prepare for our firework extravaganza. We played cards during this time.

Just before midnight some of us ventured out in the street to see the chaos, as many people were setting off their grand firework display a little early.   We bribed our compound’s guards with beer to let us out of the locked gate and back in in fifteen minutes.  We’re kind of annoying like that.

At midnight the chaos began.  Fireworks shot out from every direction. From every alleyway came the noise of strings of firecrackers being set off. The air was choked with smoke, but that’s pretty normal). I almost curled into a fetal position from the crazy of it all, but I resisted the urge.  Then! we returned fire with such a cacophony of noise! It was ridiculous.   The whole day was ridiculous.  I think each Beijing family probably stockpiled more fireworks for this than the average town in America sets by for the Fourth of July.  It was indeed epic.

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