October 1 is China's National Holiday. It's similar to the Fourth of July in America. I had five days off from work so a couple other interns and I decided to make a trip to Hong Kong. Here are the highlights:
It's 7:30pm at Victoria Harbour and the place is so packed it makes "standing room only" look like a ghost town. The press of people in front of us is literally shoulder to shoulder. We're nowhere near the water and the crowd is at a standstill.
More people are arriving behind us. We turn, making our way against the crowd, looking for a better location. The streets down here are all blocked off and hundreds of people walk toward the shoreline.
Near the clock tower there’s a little more space. Everyone is sitting on the ground, unfolded newspapers serve as blankets to sit on. The press of people increases as we get closer to the waterline. We find the edge of a walking path with enough room for us to sit single file.
At 8:00pm the nightly light show plays. We’re sitting by palm trees and have a two story walkway in our field of view so the light show is lost to us. The fireworks start at 9:00pm. Suddenly we hear a voice over the PA system, everyone is standing up, and counting down in Mandarin.
The sky lights up as music plays over the sound system. Six, then twelve fireworks are going off at once. Light blossoms from the sky as everyone in the crowd holds up their smart phone to record the explosions. The light of the phone screens rivals the lights in the sky, but only for a couple seconds. (I allow myself to record a little bit but force myself to put the cameras away and enjoy the moment.) Watch my short video of the fireworks display.
The first song finishes with a spectacular finale. As the echoes die off, more rockets race toward the skies and another song starts up. Chinese patriotic songs, classical songs, and canto-pop songs serenade the crowd and provide an audio track for the visual light show in progress.
The show is only 20 minutes long, but it’s one of the most impressive firework displays I’ve ever seen. The crowd cheers as the finale of explosions finally comes to an end.