On a warm Monday night (yes, it’s spring already here) we headed out with several coworkers and friends to a commercial area famous for its 1000 year old Confucius Temple to celebrate Lantern Festival. We were warned that the this area would be packed with people, and the warning were right. The streets inside Fuzimiao (fu-tse-mow) resembled a Boston right before the fourth of July fireworks. The difference here was the police were blocking certain streets so that the entire crowd could only move in one direction. So as a mass we moved through the weaving streets.
I was expecting at any minute to see something special: thousands of lanterns in the water, a massive fireworks display, a statue or even a dance number. I was wrong. Does anyone remember the “line ride” from the Simpsons? It was an amusement park ride where all you did was stand in line. Once you reached the turnstile where you would normally enter the actual ride, it was all over. The lantern festival felt a lot like that.
The huge crowds and police making you go in only one direction felt like there just had to be something terribly exciting, but at the end there was nothing. Thousands of people showed up to see nothing. There was no band, no celebration, no special food, just thousands and thousands of people moving through the streets. I honestly have no idea why anyone would go.
The night was still fun though. We went out to dinner and had a few drinks. Oh, and we were on TV yet again. This time we made the nightly news. Laura had the highlight with her (phonetically) “Wah eye Nanjing” – I love Nanjing.