Last year at this time we experienced our first authentic Chinese New Year celebration. Unlike CNY in America, which seems to be limited to a Dragon Parade in a city’s Chinatown neighborhood, the Spring Festival celebration in China spans weeks, culminating in the loudest night of explosions anywhere outside an active war zone. This scene is on the street corner of our apartment compound, about 11 PM; the haze of smoke from burnt gunpowder made my nose and lips tingle and my eyes water. If I wasn’t already hard of hearing the explosions would have pushed me over the edge. After shooting this picture, the young man offered me a 8″ firecracker and his cigarette to light it, but I chose to keep my fingers attached to my hands.