Happy New Year, Tiger!

In Australia, home fireworks are illegal and I'm guessing there are a lot of one-handed amateur fire-work enthusiasts who can explain why. Here in China, however, anything goes. Not that home fireworks are strictly legal, it's just that everyone ignores the rules and sets them off anyway. But in such a densely populated city, where should you set them off? A level, fire-proof surface with no passers-by would be ideal........how about the middle of the road? OK, OK so there are a few passers by, on bikes and on scooters, but they can swerve can't they??

Place your box of fireworks in the middle of the road. Remember not to bother about the frequently crossing powerlines overhead. Light the wick with your cigarette just as a car passes. Retreat to a safe distance of 2 metres.

Watch with excitement, and with your ears covered, as your box takes off! At least twenty fireworks, one after the other, rocket forth - stars, peonies, chyrsanthemums, spirals. and pony tails. All-banging, all-whistling, all-smoking fun! (avoid the temptation to go and poke your box with a live Super Sparkler when one appears to mis-fire).

Next light a long dragon tail of noisy crackers, looped over the closest tree. Looks pretty spectacular, doesn't it? Lucky it rained earlier in the day.....otherwise there might be a few spot fires.

Can you imagine what it would be like inside a firework? Now magnify the noise, the hiss, the explosion, and the light by about a thousand. That's Chinese New Year. For hours we were surrounded by a 360 degree cacophony of light, noise, sulphur and smoke, whistles, hummers, crackles, shells and cheers. The sky turned red with smoke, and the Tiger felt well-welcomed. Happy New Year!

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