This week is Chinese New Year, and the start of the Year Of The Pig. What this mean to me in practical terms is that most of the Chinese people I know have gone back to their hometowns and most of the shops and restaurants are closed. I know Zhuhai well enough now to not expect any dragon or lion dances in the streets.
Apart from this there are the fireworks, which are supposed to be illegal in this city, though I’ve never seen a less enforced law. Even in the daytime gangs of kids run round the streets with fuseless firecrackers.
Last night I went with a fair few other people to the park near my house to set off some of our own. There must have been a good hundred people there, most of them treating explosives with the same enthusiasm and lack of care that I share with only a few people my age back in the UK. There was a woman selling fireworks from a bin to a crowd of people who were then setting them off nearby.
These weren’t only the sparklers and bottle rockets that you might expect elsewhere. A good portion of the things being set fire to probably contained a warning about standing 10 metres away. Bollocks to that.
We bought a fair amount of the things ourselves and quickly got into a war with some ten-year-old kids who decided to fire some rockets at us. After a brief escalation a truce was declared and we moved on to egging each other on. Good, reckless, dangerous fun was had by all. Nobody was injured.