Sunday, January 1, 2012

Celebrating the new year in Almaty Part 2: Fireworks

Do you know that feeling when even though you know something is going to happen, it still manages to surprise you?  That is how I feel about the fireworks in Almaty at midnight on January first.  In spite of all of the preparation, I found myself overwhelmed to the point of giddiness by what I witnessed.

So I will take a few minutes to explain, and I will show you a video of some of the most photogenic fireworks, and I will tell you that there is no way that came even close to the actual experience.

New Years is a big holiday here in Kazakhstan.  There is gift giving, costume wearing, food eating, and best of all, FIREWORKS.  There have been fireworks going off almost every night for the last week, so I was kind of prepared to see a lot of pretty fireworks at midnight.  What I wasn't prepared for was the magnitude of  "a lot."  Almaty is a city of around 1.5 million people and tonight half of them were lighting something off.

For almost an hour all you could hear was the thunder created by hundreds of fireworks exploding in the sky.  There were no lulls in the sound, no breaks or silences - just pop pop pop pop boom boom pop pop pop boom boom pop pop pop boom boom boom boom boom...and the occasional sound of a car alarm cutting through the rumble.

So, here is a short, hastily edited, and sometimes shaky video of some of the fireworks I saw from the apartment tonight.  The shaking is just me shivering (not the building shaking).

Oh, and it is now 2:27 am, and there are still fireworks going off, though not with the same intensity.

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