Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Let's Talk Fireworks

On my personal blog I have been posting with some regularity a segment I like to call "Picture of The Week." While this segment is not always best suited for the purpose of this blog, I feel that this weeks installment discusses a topic which deserves to be posted here as well, because this is most certainly one of the things that all of us here in Qufu have experienced: fireworks.

I say fireworks, but really this is an unjust description of the mind numbing explosions - which can only be described as automatic-machine-gun-esque eruptions (they call them fire crackers), quickly followed by small bombs, often in the form of something similar to a flash-bang grenade on steroids, maliciously cavitating across the night sky, destroying the ear drums of the denizens of Qufu without prejudice - that have become a tri-weekly/quad-weekly/nightly occurrence here in the city. Fun for the whole family, I promise.

In the U.S., large fireworks are often known as "mortar shells." A description that I always thought made sense - a loud thud as the firework leaves the tube in a smoking display of chest-vibrating awesomeness, quickly followed by the brilliant and colorful explosions we all so dearly know and love. I always thought the description accurate, but of course not exact - a real mortar causes way more human dismemberment and has only about half the cool colors... it would be a total ripoff. I mean let's be honest, who in their right mind would actually use MORTARS to launch fireworks?Enter the Chinese. What better way to celebrate a wedding than to light off fireworks? Alright, I can get behind that. However, when your fireworks begin involving SIX LARGE MORTAR CANNONS which seemingly are military surplus from the KOREAN WAR, you begin to lose me... Oh what the hell, I guess if you put red bows on them so the kids know they are fun to play with too, I'm okay with it... who am I kidding, I LOVE being woken up at 4 in the morning to the event I have deemed "The Battle for Qufu." Oh, I guess I forgot to mention that. Local custom in Qufu dictates that the earlier you light off fireworks on the day of a wedding, the luckier the couple will be. Or something like that. ...hence the 4 a.m. (3 a.m. central) start time to "The Battle for Qufu." The first time it happened, Karrin later informed us she had literally rolled out of bed and taken cover on the far side of her bed.

Sorry if this week was more rant than picture, but it had to be said. Have a great week everyone!

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