Wild Creatures

PRIMITIVE - Monday, June 22, 2009

After a late dinner we explored the local scenery. In a field near the center of town multiple groups were shooting off fireworks. Whole families joined in the festivities. There were rockets, firecrackers, sparklers, bombs; you name it and it was there as long as it exploded, blazed, smoldered or glowed. Huge rockets exploded in every color of the rainbow, some high, some too close for comfort, their showering embers forming an umbrella overhead. Firecrackers continually punctuated the massive explosions. It was like a madhouse in a war zone with every single participant running, shrieking, laughing, yelping and clapping with joy. Instead of watching from the sidelines we decided to join in. Heading to a local store that was still open we purchased our own set of fireworks, some so powerful they had to be illegal just about any place other than in China. The new China is so new it appears that fireworks are not yet regulated; but that’s a good thing as our enthusiasm and anticipation remained unchecked.

Returning to the field we set off rockets, blew up wheels of firecrackers, and hurled small bombs. Frenzied, we tore through plastic and red paper to find fuses in the dark. Cherry lit stick incense with her lighter so we could ignite the fuses and the four of us exploded our way to the year of the ox. We kept returning to the store for another round until it came time for our grand finale, which consisted of more rockets, bombs, and the big one—100,000 Chinese fire crackers in a single roll. Claudia and Glen lit fuses on the mutilated grass while Cherry and I shrieked in the dark running into the street for cover. The rockets were wild creatures. Then it came time to light the giant roll. The noise echoed and bounced from store fronts to buildings and seemed to go on indefinitely. We didn’t leave until a police SUV made a lap around the field with its lights on, a gentle reminder that even in the new China people still need to rest.

We needed rest too, but back at the hotel sleep was out of the question. I could not wipe the smile off my face because of the excitement caused by the fireworks. I remembered my father setting off rockets in our backyard when I was a kid, but now it was me setting them off in a faraway land. When I finally began to calm down I realized that the smell of incense, so prevalent and calming during the day, had been replaced by the smell of gunpowder which now pervaded the room. To relax I lit a stick of Primitive Pure and let its calming influence take over as I jammed my clothes in a laundry bag. Finally, lying in bed I began to contemplate this buying trip, which had brought me to three countries and multiple cities. I had the good fortune of experiencing things that many people only see on the travel channel. Although the trip would be ending shortly, I did not feel melancholic or sad. Instead, I began to feel excited again, this time over all the amazing things that would be finding their way to Primitive.