China travel

Published on February 14th, 2012 | by Paz


American Fireworks vs. Chinese Fireworks

We were very excited to spend our first Chinese New Year in China and participate in all of the festivities. The one thing we were the most excited about was seeing the 300,000+ fireworks that were going to be on display. That is almost 6 times the size of any firework show we had ever seen. Oh we were giddy! Being firework lovers we started thinking about how plain our firework show back in America would compare to such a show. Or did it….?

We bundled up both kids and started our way down…leaving a bit early to maybe catch a bite to eat. We arrive at the subway stop (found online) and ask using  body language, ipod app, and our daughters knowledge which exit we needed to use to be able to get to the fireworks. Hmmm…body language finally worked…maybe my charade skills are much better than I thought. We are at the wrong station.

Okay back on the subway to the correct station. We ask an attendant with only body language this time and the fireworks are at exit A; follow the crowd. We follow the crowd and feel like we are being lead down a dark path to no-where land. Lupita and Abe had made some friends on the subway and we see them there. Okay, we know we are going in the right direction.

We finally come to a wall of people on a street. Hmmmm…okay where do we sit? As chill Americans you know you can only see the fireworks by sitting on a nice flannel blanket…right?

Then we ask where are the fireworks going to be, well right in front of the wall of people. Zeek goes to check out what exactly the wall is or what they are looking at. One good thing to being tall in China, you can see over most people. He comes back to report there is just a barricade. So we stand. We have 1 hour until show-time and Lupita (4 yrs old) is already tired of standing and wants to sit. Luckily we see our subway friends again and they give both kids oranges. Nice…food, we didn’t have a chance to stop and get food in all the chaos.

People start piling in. Our once pretty empty standing room is now being invaded. We were standing back from the crowd for a reason. Okay…now we are in the crowd. We start asking each other how much longer until they begin? 10 minutes

People started shoving and pushing and trying to fit into spots that I didn’t even know existed. Seriously…I didn’t know that many grown men liked being so close to each other.

Now Zeek is holding Abe (out of the stroller) and I am carrying Lupita. Some unknown man asks if I would like them to hold Lupita so she could see (obviously noticing how short I am) I say no thank you and hang on to her. As we near the starting time….more people come and more people shove. WHERE ARE YOU GOING…THERE IS NO MORE ROOM!!! We wanted to scream from the top of our lungs.

Finally they begin. I start counting the minutes and praying for it to be over. Then everyone extends their arms into the air and are taking pictures, recording the fireworks and we can barely see. Lupita starts complaining about how she can’t see anything. What are we doing? I am in 100% agreement with her. What are we doing? She asks if she can go with the man who offered to hold her. I look and think…even if he wanted to run away with my daughter in his arms he couldn’t move 2 inches. Why not! So I hand her over. She can finally see and starts telling me (who still can’t see anything) how great the fireworks are.

Zeek starts screaming! Uh oh! I hadn’t been paying much attention to him, so I turn around to see him and Abe squished, the stroller almost collapsed because so many people are trying to step on it and the yelling goes on.

Zeek; “I have a F**** baby with me. Take your F*** off of me, or I will push you over.” 

I realize I might need to intervene. Wait…stranger has my daughter, get her first, intervene so Zeek doesn’t hurt someone and is anyone else thinking maybe leave. I am! I get Lupita back and she is fine coming back to me after being with some strange guy. She is done seeing the fireworks and is ready to go home. I have to put her down because hmmm she is heavy and I might have to help Zeek with Abe. Zeek looks at me and wants to go. A woman was trying to get through (where we still don’t know) and grabbed Zeek’s arm and shoved him. Remember he is holding Abe.

We need to fold up the stroller before it breaks. Of course there are a million things in it and this is not a simple task. I have to bend down (butt in air) try and remove all of the goods from the back, put them somewhere, fold up the stroller and make sure Lupita hasn’t been squashed as some A** hole pushes me in the back. He wants me to move, because he is trying to get out of the crowd. I ignore him. Does he not see the wall to wall people and me struggling? He pushes me again, I turn and tell him in my broken Chinese that I have a daughter here, don’t push, and go another way. HMMM HE PUSHES ME AGAIN!!

I lose it! I turn around and also start throwing F bombs in the air and screaming at him in English…I don’t care if he understands or not my body language is very clear and I believe I might have also threatened him once or twice. He then finally pushes another person and goes in another direction.

Finally the fireworks come to an end. We move slowly with the crowd. We do not want to rush we just want to get out. We think we are in the clear when the mad crowd realizes that there are barricades that have been put up and the crowd goes into a frenzy. They start pushing and shoving. We hold on for our lives. Lupita ended up getting kicked in the head, we are pushed and man-handled like nothing in my life.

We finally are past the barricades and we are out. Sigh! We then decide to walk in the opposite direction of the crowd…no way we are getting a taxi, or on the subway in this craziness. We walk and walk and then realize we have walked into no-where land. There is nothing…no taxi and no people. Totally happy about the people part. We walk for almost an hour and finally a taxi comes. Lupita was a trouper and walked the whole time after getting kicked in the head.

Our taxi driver decides to take advantage of us and goes the longest way possible to get to our house and our fare is almost double. At this point we really don’t care, we are happy to be in a car with only 4 people “US” going home. This is what matters at this point.

American Fireworks are better no matter what the size!!!!

We reminisce about the amazing fireworks in Wisconsin that we go to every 4th of July and see with my sister-in-law. I don’t know the number of how many actually go off. I know that it is way below 300,000 and I also know that we fully enjoy every minute of it on a blanket eating candy and cuddling together. No one pushes, or gets kicked in the head. We have never had an altercation, other than me having to stop Zeek from stealing my potato wedges.

Our advice…stay home…watch the fireworks on T.V! Okay do ANYTHING ELSE other than trying to go and see the fireworks with kids on Chinese New Year no matter how many fireworks there are.

Tags: , ,

About the Author

Paz is an avid adventurer in life and food. Traveling across the globe with her family they enjoy cultural immersion and checking out the local eateries.

6 Responses to American Fireworks vs. Chinese Fireworks

  1. Jaye Mortensen says:

    Oh Paz! It sounds dreadful and scary. You talking about the fireworks in Whitefish Bay gave me happy thoughts! -Jaye

    • Paz says:

      Oh Jaye….we would have paid to be at the Whitefish Bay fireworks and laughed about how you put your blanket down and then it is there when you come back 4 hours later, untouched and unoccupied. We don’t think that would work here.

  2. Angela White says:

    I will never take our WI fire works for granted any more. What a scary experience. This past year Paul and I laid in a hammock in our backyard to watch the show going on just up the street. Minus the mosquitos it was nice:) I’m sure you’ll take bugs any day over getting man-handled. This coming year while you’re laying on blanket you’ll laugh about the experience (might take a while to get over!). Glad you’re safe.

    • Paz says:

      Ang- It will take us a long time to get After we were so upset we actually felt a little sorry that none of these people had ever experienced a relaxed fireworks show. I wonder what they would do or how they would react. They might wonder where everyone was or what happened to everyone. They also might wonder what was wrong with everyone for letting other people through or past. 🙂
      Would so take mosquitoes after that! p.s. would love a hammock as well. 😉


  3. Genevieve Garzon says:

    All I have to say is that you should be extremely glad that I wasn’t there with you. even though I really wish I was, cause then those rude people would REALLY feel what it’s like to be shoved! I had a hard time at the forbidden city with people trying to take pictures over us. I thought then I was on the verge of losing it, I don’t want to even think about what would have happened during this craziness. this post really made me mad but anyways…. I’m glad that you all are okay and that you saw the Chinese fireworks… and what a trooper Lupita is. Tell her Aunt Genny is very proud of her and can’t wait to see her and Abe. Love you!

    • Paz says:

      Yes, I know!! We thought oh if Mom and Genny where here we might end up in the back of a bus. 🙂 Yes, everyone was fine and we told Lupita!!! She remembers getting her head hit. She doesn’t want to go see the fireworks again. We totally agree and I was so sorry for bringing them. 🙁 The only fireworks we will see is in Milwaukee. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge
Back to Top ↑
  • About Us

    We are a family of four: dad, mom, sister, brother, who decided to leave our job, home, and community to live life in China. After a year abroad we decided to become permanent nomads. We road school our children and try to enjoy every minute.

  • Learning With Lupita

  • Contact Us

    We would love to hear from you. Have a question about China, or living and working abroad? We are here to help.

    Skype: paz.chentnik
    Connect on Facebook