Feb 21, 2010

Fireworks collection

Here's some highlights of my fireworks collection from this past week's lunar new year.

Most of this loot came from Hebei province via a friend. It's great to have a friend that can help you with getting good fireworks. The fireworks you are allowed to buy in Beijing are tiny, safer, and they cost twice or three times as much since it's a captive market. The firecrackers are smaller, the fuses are longer, and they're overall just not as good as what you can get in Hebei.

Going to Hebei province is, for folks in the US, like when we drive down to Ohio or Kentucky, or one of those other southern states where they have lax fireworks laws, and then you can bring home some good fireworks to have fun on the Fourth of July.

Most of the big boxes in this photo are fancy, prepackaged mini-mortar type fireworks, where it shoots of a dozen or so overhead fireworks over the course of a minute or so. The whole stash was around 500 RMB ($73) and would have easily cost me three times that much were I to try and buy those things in Beijing at retail prices.

Here's a mid-sized mortar. It's about the size of a tennis ball. You can imagine how cool the adult-sized mortars are! The narrow side goes in face-down, since it contains the charge to propel the mortar up overhead. Don't let the cops see you shooting these off in the middle of a busy intersection.

Each 6-pack of mortars includes a reinforced cardboard tube. Tape together three tubes so that your firing rig has some stability. You don't want to use a single tube, and have it fall over sideways before the mortar gets shot out. That could be dangerous!

Here's some super sized double-bang firecrackers. You stand one of these on one end, light the very short fuse, then run away as fast as you can. There's a deafening explosion at ground level and a huge flash of light. Simultaneously, it shoots a smaller explosive up in the air about 30 feet, which explodes a second later. These are pretty economical and a lot of fun.

There's a big string of regular firecrackers underneath this bundle.

Two things I would have loved to have, but just couldn't find this year:
  • Bottle rockets: I didn't see any Chinese people shooting these. Do we still have them in the US?)
  • Airplanes: called "big wasp" (大黄蜂) in Chinese. I saw a few poorly made ones for sale around Beijing, but nothing as good as what I remember from the US.
Anyone have any success finding those two things?


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