Happy Niu Year!

Here in Beijing we are only 15 minutes away from the beginning of a new year–the Year of the Ox.  The fun thing about that is the Chinese word for ox is niu (pronounced nee-you….say it real fast). 

Since it got dark around 6pm the city has turned into a free-fire zone.  Virtually all bans on fireworks have been lifted, and it seems that most people on the streets and in the neighborhoods are doing their best to match the fire-power of the Olympics Opening Ceremonies fireworks displays!  And I'm not talking professionals here, folks—-just ordinary people roaming about blowing things up. Big things. 

I was at a friend's house this afternoon, but left in time to make sure I arrived home before dark.  I did not want to be caught walking home without my body armor.

I live in a housing estate that has 15 20 story towers.  People are now pouring out of the buildings in preparation for the magic midnight hour.  As I look down on the gathering storm from my apartment I can't help question the wisdom of setting off BIG boxes of fireworks next to so many cars. 

Sleep will not be an option tonight.