16/50 – American Beauty? No. Chinese Self-Indulgence

No, those red remnants on the ground aren’t a rose petal trail leading to a deliciously ornate room. They are the remains of hundreds of firecrackers that have recently been set off in a starting display of self-indulgence. Maybe a new store has just opened up, or maybe someone has bought a new dog. Maybe a child was born or a couple was married. It doesn’t really seem to matter—the Chinese set off loud strings of firecrackers for everything. Every day. If you’re close by, you might assume that you are being gunned down by a group of 1920s gangsters with Tommy guns. If you’re farther away, you might be perplexed at just how it’s possible to make so much noise.

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