Walking home from the house of some friends, the visibility was 20 meters or so. It looked a lot like fog but we knew too well that it was thick gunpowder smoke enveloping the whole city. 13 shipping containers were imported from China this year and that is a lot of explodable material. It started on the 22nd of December. Fireworks every night and sometimes all night, firecrackers blasting everywhere, and red paper remnants littering the streets. The climax of course, happened on the 31st. Surprisingly, yes, people still had fireworks left – and lots of them.
During the day of New Years Eve we went downtown where they had several city blocks sectioned off and closed. Thousands of people gathered for music, drinking and celebration. That is until someone started to light the city block long strands of fireworks. People scattered out of the way and plugged their ears watching for 10 minutes at times until the explosions reached the end of the line and blew up the payload. It is really hard to describe. You had to be there. It was so loud and grand that maybe the pictures will say more. Anyway, when the smoke cleared after 2 constant hours of explosion, people were ankle deep in red post-explosion paper. That mixed with the normal post-party refuse left quite the clean up job for the next day.
In the evening it was payback time for the sleepless nights and annoying neighborhood kids – we had purchased a sizeable amount of fireworks ourselves. It took a couple hours to light them off and despite our valiant efforts, we were again, horrendously outdone by the rest of the city. We were a drop in the bucket – our explosions were barely seen or heard over the constant detonation and smoke. Eventually the new year came and the champagne, cigars, and snacks were passed around. No breaks in the action though – the fireworks continued until the early morning. They are still continuing now and will every evening for the next week until everyone uses their stock.