chinese new year

Happy Chinese New Year! Seeing New Year's parades in Chinatown always reminds me of the years I spent living there. I shared a house with 4 roomates for 2 years during college. Rent was cheap. Food was cheap and available everywhere at any hour. We were surrounded by a Chinese church/school, an assisted living residence for elderly Chinese, mom & pop corner stores and cheap karaoke bars. Gangs weren't so visible if you lived straight but the occasional group of punks were ubiquitous. We lived off a small side street that was well lit - probably too well lit. Streetlamps streaked through my bedroom window and it was rarely quiet. I remember sleeping very little and at odd hours.

The noisiest nights surround Chinese New Year, transforming the soundscape into a warzone until dawn. Kids run the streets recklessly throwing firecrackers - sometimes under passing cars to shake people up. The smell of powder lingers in the air the next morning as the aftermath litters streets in a sea of red firecracker debris. Its a vibrant red that accents the Dragon dance that attracts followers as it winds itself around each block. I probably gained more appreciation for these events as I moved out of Chinatown and I hope to catch some of the festivities this weekend.


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