China First Hand

28 January 2006

New Year, New Start

Filed under: Personal — china1sthand @ 9:18 pm

I’m not quite settled in yet.…That’s the confident way of saying that I’m generally feeling a little lost.To look on the bright side, it could be much worse.My first day has been completely arranged – my friend met me at Beijing airport, she had accommodation already carefully planned, and took me there, and booked me in!A meal and shopping followed to meet with my every need – she insisted on paying for everything.Really I have been utterly spoilt.It’s not so bad.I’ve not screwed up yet!But then I’ve not had the chance to figure things out either.And for the next 8 days, I will be completely alone.

It’s Chinese New Year today.It’s the Christmas day for Chinese people.My jet-lagged sleep aroused me late that evening.

Inner city fireworks are banned due to accidents and noise pollution, according to the Lonely Planet guidebook.My Chinese friend had explained that this year they were allowed again, though she could not say why.Rules here are changed on an (apparent) whim.No public discussion; no reasons given.However, I have no complaints in this case: The effects were amazing.I had been hearing frequent fireworks for a long while, but woke to find it was only 10pm.Chinese watch TV at New Year, so I put on one of the English/Chinese channels and enjoyed an excellent entertainment show, including high quality comic sketches, singing and dancing routines and other visually pleasing performances.It was made absolutely complete by the inclusion of brief English subtitle explanations and voice-over translation.I cant be the only non-native here!A particularly loud or colourful firework often tempted me to the window, where I watched explosions flash in random areas of sky.I spotted the occasional silhouette in the street below, sparking a flame, and then suddenly disappearing behind the ensuing brightness.As the show drew on, I began to realise that the sound of fireworks had increased to a background rumble and the sky was never without colour.Drawn to the window, I watched it build gradually, like a decent trance track, it energises with exciting, addictive diversity in sound, and mesmerising visual colour.Some dominant bangs welcomed the New Year of the Dog, and very gradually the show slowed down to a city of sleep.

Wow.And what a perfect example of Chinese individuals contributing to the greater good for all.


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