I am writing from an apartment overlooking the Huangpu River. My ballet dancer friend, Xu Yuchen, and his family just lit a box of fireworks outside the apartment for the Chinese New Year. It is now 12:40 AM and the fireworks are still going off on all sides of the apartment building. It’s exhiliratingly stimulating to jump in a different direction each time a neighbor blasts a firework 20 feet away from you. Here, though fireworks are forbidden, anyone can get away with lighting fireworks anywhere on the holiday.
We are now in the 25th-floor apartment waiting for the fireworks to die down so that we can safely go to the temple at 2 AM to ask for blessings for the new year. From our wonderful view of the city and tonight’s fireworks, we can also see fire trucks on almost every major street. Unfortunately and horrifyingly, a nearby apartment on the 24th floor just caught fire. We can still see the flames from the balcony and I hope that no one was inside. The firemen responded quickly when the Dad called 119, but their fire-fighting methods appear a little ineffective to say the least. I will post footage of the fireworks and fire later.
The fireworks persist and sometimes the sparks hit the windows of the apartment. In the meantime, the family drinks tea and watches Chinese style ballet on the TV.