Tom Spender

Freelance journalist in London

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Chinese New Year

February 21st, 2010 · No Comments · China

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Chinese New Year was a week ago but I’ve only just figured out how to upload video. This one isn’t that fascinating but it shows how non-stop the fireworks and noise of explosions was, which was almost the most impressive thing. It just went on and on, like an unstoppable drumbeat. Guy Fawkes night in the UK just doesn’t come anywhere near.

We went out to a Couchsurfing dinner at a restaurant in Gulou – Drum Tower – and then wandered to the square btween the Drum and Bell towers, on the way passing a man walking his goose. The goose was very calm, unpeturbed by the whizzes and bangs of fireworks or by the people towering above it on the street. There was a clear bond between goose and owner which was quite touching, although I couldn’t help wondering if it would one day end up on the dining table. But the Chinese are famous bird lovers, with the older generation often to be seen out walking carrying cages with small birds inside, so perhaps not.

There was a police presence at the Drum Tower, red and blue flashing lights adding to the atmosphere in the night’s gloom. At one point a procession of people walked into the Bell Tower and then out again, then the police left. Just before midnight the huge spotlights that bathe the Drum Tower in white beams were extinguished and people let loose with the fireworks, firecrackers and sparklers. Most of those at the square and in the bars nearby seemed to be westerners.

As I got home there was team of municipal workers with shovels, a dustcart and a small digger on the street outside my apartment building, the digger shovelling huge piles of spent fireworks into the back of the dusctcart.

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