Stuffed bunnies, giant billboards with cartoon rabbits, festive decorations were everywhere. The anticipation to the new year was months in advance.  One week before the actual eve, the fireworks started going off, every night. On the new year’s eve, fireworks were blasting around the clock all night long. It sounded like what I would imagine a warzone to sound like.  Even though fireworks were technically illegal within the city, one would never know. Dudes would be running through the streets with chains of a hundred 4 inch firecrackers attached to a bamboo pole going off like machine guns. We wanted to join the fun.

One night after dinner and partying with Bennie and the girls, we all ended up at the house drunk and wanted to buy some of these illegal fireworks, so somehow someone showed us where to go in the neighborhood.  We went to this elderly couple’s home and were taken to a back room that was stocked full of fireworks. Looked like a secret rebel artillery cache.  We filled a couple cardboard boxes full of various mysterious explosives for like ten bucks and went back to the house to make some noise.  Every building in the area was concrete or brick so there wasn’t really a danger of setting anything on fire, except ourselves of course.  We had a pretty good buzz going, bombs going off everywhere in the hood.  We’re lucky we didn’t blow our heads off, really.

There were these fireworks we got that looked like the cardboard tube from a toilet paper roll plugged up on both ends with a fuse sticking out of one end. We were supposed to have gotten a special launch pad for those but didn’t.  The tube was placed on the ground upright with the fuse side down.  You’d have to light the fuse and run. The thing would explode, shoot in the air a hundred feet or so and explode again. I remember one shot off sideways, flew just past my head before blowing up.  Good fun. We couldn’t stop laughing and giggling for days it seemed.

When we arrived at the house that evening, Daniel was surprised that we all showed up.  The shady business man who Kri met at the shady business meeting with Daniel earlier in the week, figured out that Kri wasn’t the rich American business man he was pretending to be to buy the radioactive isotope from the Russians, which was to make Daniel a lot of money as the middleman translator. The deal was called off, but that is another story Kri can tell better than me….

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