Sheesh! Enough already!
It’s now Tuesday, the fourth straight night of fireworks. Maybe it’s tapering off a bit. I walked around a lot today, and most of the fireworks stands are getting pretty low on inventory. If I’m lucky, there are no new shipments on their way into town.
Here’s my new theory, that is to say, the theory which is mine and which is new: Any people who are willing to wear silly hats in public have hope in their lives. When self-consciousness gets in the way of just having fun, you’re taking yourself too seriously. I also have a theory that the brontosaurus was thin at one end, much thicker in the middle, and thin again at the other end, but we can go into that some other time – I am much too dignified to be going off on a Monty Python tangent.
After mostly hanging around my apartment on Monday, doing laundry and other mundane things, I decided to strike out again on Tuesday. This time I left a bit earlier. JW and KW had mentioned that they went to Ditan Park, which is not too far from here, and found huge crowds of people celebrating Spring Festival. The park is just a little north and west of the G-Box, so I took the opportunity to walk and find out how long it takes to get there. Knowing how cold it was yesterday and Sunday, I bundled up, but soon found myself carrying my coat instead of wearing it.
And if you’re interested (“People say-ay-ay I’m a dreamer…”) it took a half hour at a reasonable pace to get to the future office building.
Just past the G-Box is the Second Ring Road, and on the other side of that is a canal. The lights along the edge come on at night, and change color in a cycle, pink-green-purple-blue-yellow. (OK, I didn’t memorize the sequence, but you get the idea.)
There was a stream of people carrying stuffed animals and wearing silly hats, so I walked in the direction they were coming from and found myself at the east gate of Ditan Park. In spite of the multitude I had seen leaving the place, there were still a few people left in the park. The ticket was ¥10 to get in (something like $1.30).
In some ways, it was more of the same as what I’d seen out at Chaoyang Park on Sunday, only more compressed, since Ditan is smaller. It’s still pretty huge, but Chaoyang is really gigantic. I mostly just wandered around, taking it all in, comparing it to other fairs I’ve been to in Puyallup, Spokane, and Colfax. Some things are more or less the same. There are booths selling cheap trinkets, artists who’ll draw your portrait for a price, and booths selling portable food items.
I do not recall ever seeing a festival booth selling underwear.
Puyallup, this ain’t.
Some of the food items here don’t show up much in the United States, however. I handed over ¥10 for three skewers with grilled seasoned meat on them – maybe beef, maybe not – and ¥5 for a glass of milk tea. I did not try the squid, scorpions, grubs, or little tiny birds. I’m sure they’re tasty, but – well, not today.
There was a separate admission charge to the snake show, so I passed on it. I’m not really sure I want to see someone with a snake going into their nostril and coming out their mouth.
I saw some stages set up for entertainment, but did not see any performances. If there were any schedules posted, they were not in a language I can read. It is frustrating sometimes being illiterate. This stage looks to be set up for Voluntary Public Humiliation (otherwise known as karaoke), and there was a woman singing what sounded like a traditional song with rinky-dink programmed backing. Aside from wavering a bit on some of the high notes, she was pretty good.
On the way home, I took a slight detour to see all the lanterns outside the restaurants on Dongzhimennei.
The theme of this walk turned out to be motorcycles. First I came across this.
And then this.