Saturday, January 29 was Chinese New Year. This is THE biggest holiday of the year in China, in fact, this is the biggest travel holiday in the world. We got a week and a day off from school, but since hundreds of millions of people are traveling this week flights were way more expensive and (by the time we went to book) the trains were sold out, so we decided to stay here.
New Year's Eve was Friday and we heard that the fireworks were going to be spectacular and everywhere, especially between 11:30pm and 1am. It's freezing during the day this time of year and I wasn't looking forward to standing outside in the middle of the night for an hour when it would be even colder, so we booked two rooms at the Tianjin Crowne Plaza. It's walking distance from our apartment.
If you rank hotels by their bathtubs, and I do, you can see that this is a very nice hotel. For most of New Year's Eve day, the kids swam in the pool and watched Harry Potter, which was playing on tv.
Then we waited. Actually, fireworks had been going off all day, so we weren't waiting for that to start, we were just waiting for it to get dark so we could see them. We had a spectacular view from our room.
Just look at how many fireworks are going off:
Jim and Grace went outside to really feel and hear the fireworks:
All we had to do was decide if we wanted the "Wealth" fireworks or the "Good Times" fireworks. We decided that good times were sure to follow if we got all the wealth, so we got the "Wealth" box.
We were still very nervous about this being something that is actually allowed. I figured it was a don't-ask-don't-tell situation, but as we walked past the gate guard at our complex, he nodded and pointed to the place for us to set them off. They drain the ponds in Crystal City for the winter and earlier this week they had set out about 30 fire extinguishers in each pond as a subtle, this is where you can set off your one-fuse-60-fireworks-in-one-minute display.
Here's our video of our own, personal fireworks display (please ignore my screaming, I was very excited):