I recently reported on the arduous start to the journey home for many Chinese migrants during the New Year holiday. Now that many have made it home, it's on to the next thing people have to endure during the holiday: fireworks.
I've been told that fireworks are banned in many areas of Shanghai. That didn't seem to be the case last night at midnight when China ushered in the year of the rabbit. My family spent the evening with my wife's relatives, who happen to live across the street from Marketplace's bureau. After a subdued evening eating a gazillion-course dinner and watching the CCTV New Year's extravaganza (required viewing for anyone living in China), all hell broke loose. Imagine a good portion of a city of 20 million setting fireworks off all at the same time, and you've got some idea of what it was like. Luckily, my wife filmed the proceedings. Check out her rather shaky recording of her cousin Xiao Long setting off his family's stash of fireworks while I look on, safety goggles on, pretending to be useful...after the jump.
There we stand, shards of burning fireworks debris raining down on us from all directions. And make sure not to miss the bus that nonchalantly drives through and OVER the fireworks around the midpoint of the video. Keep in mind this is just one small alley in Shanghai.
On our way home, our taxi driver dodged a cityscape of the charred corpses of fireworks-launching boxes, tubes, and red firecracker paper that carpeted the streets and sidewalks. I'm proud to say the Marketplace bureau still stands. But others weren't so lucky. A five-star hotel in Shenyang burned to the ground last night, thanks to the celebrations. My ears are still ringing.