Friday, 16 March 2007


Most countries seem to have at least one "lets let off lots of fireworks" nights. The excuse differs - independence from some other country, New Year on some calender, the end of some festival, the triumph of good over evil, failing to light 1800 lbs of gun powder under the houses of parliament - but in big cities everywhere the effects at one "dazzling spectacle" are much the same as another "Breathtaking show". Once you've seen one "largest display ever!" you've seen them all.
December the 31st pitches city councils all over the world against each other. Who can be seen and forgotten by the most people around the world; who can get away with blowing up the most public money. Taipei makes its bid to appear on the "New Year has already happened in Asia" news round up by blasting their fireworks from the tallest building in the world - conveniently also in Taipei.
But, like most places, Taiwan also has its own day - or in this case week. Spending Chinese New Year in Taipei means sniper bangs turning into background noise; 5 year olds buying and lighting rockets taller than them at 1 in the morning. The usual work day pollution subsides leaving one free to appreciate the full flavour of the heavy metals in the firework smoke.

Something also happens in Yenshui.

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