I’m back in Beijing now, after a very quick trip to the US to attend a conference. I flew to the east coast last Wednesday, just in time for the Valentine’s Day Storm that wreaked havoc on air travel. I landed in Newark alright last Wednesday, but found that my onward flight to DC had been cancelled. Continental put me up for the night, then sent me on my way the next morning. No complaints there. The flight back here today was great—we flew up and over the top, crossing the North Pole, then straight down over Russia and Mongolia. All that on two engines! Amazing.
I got home around 4:30 in the afternoon, and have been trying to keep myself awake until a decent time to go to bed. Staying awake now is not a problem given that it sounds like a war zone outside. The Lunar New Year holiday is in full swing here (yesterday was New Year’s Day), and fireworks are at the heart of the celebrations. Last year the Beijing city government lifted the ban they’d imposed 12 years ago on setting off fireworks in the city limits. The holiday had just become too boring. Not so anymore. Every street corner has its vendor selling fireworks, and there don’t seem to be any restrictions on when/where they can be shot off. Actually, I ‘ve heard that they are not supposed to be shot off within the 5th Ring Road, but that is obviously either not the case or is simply being ignored by the authorities.
As soon as night fell this evening, the fireworks began. Literally. Apparantly it’s even OK to shoot them off in the parking lot in front of 3 20-story apartment towers! My first instinct was to go look, but when I started hearing fragments of the canisters hitting my windows I decided agains that idea.
I’m quite sure this goes on for at least 12 days! Oh joy!
Well, Happy New Year. It’s the Year of the Pig. My year….which means I’m either 12, 24, 36, or 48!