I'm reminded of my childhood...

In Taiwan, there's the official end of the new year (Chinese new year, that is) and its celebrated with a lot of fireworks, and attempts at seeing how many people can fit into a city bus.

Its also known as Lantern Festival.

From the questionable resource, wikipedia:

"In ancient times, the lanterns were fairly simple, for only the emperor and noblemen had large ornate ones; in modern times, lanterns have been embellished with many complex designs. For example, lanterns are now often made in shapes of animals."

We can now all be emperors. Along with all the bureaucratic nightmares that ensue.

"The Lantern Festival is also known as the Little New Year since it marks the end of the series of celebrations starting from the Chinese New Year."

As I was advised by our friend Jack, its the time after which you no longer say "新年快了" (happy new year, or for the literalists, new year happy.)

Of note, it is still acceptable to be happy after this time.  

"In some region and countries, this festival is also regarded as the Chinese version of St. Valentine's Day, a day celebrating love and affection between lovers in Chinese tradition and culture."

Or, in this case, love and affection between you and your new found spirit animal, Tigger from Winnie the Pooh.   (Year of the tiger, good mascot, and far less obesity inducing than Chester Cheetah.)

There are parades everywhere.  We missed all of them.  We woke up late, found out the HSR was derailed and out of service heading southbound to the "OFFICIAL" lantern festival of the year in Chiayi, no express trains were available in our time frame, and finding and catching the appropriate bus would have taken four hours.  

To make up for this lacking of "OFFICIAL," I give you "Children in battle balls:"

"I'm helping!"

The playground was epic. 

So, having paid our respects to the almighty Tigger and Pooh, we left WenXin (文心) Forest Park (森林公園.)

And became one with the crowd.

We had shown up so late that there were only performances happening on the outskirts of the park.  In some cases it seemed that people's friends had hijacked stages so that their band could play, a BYOA (bring your own amp) atmosphere.

Heading home, I thought we could catch a bus.  We got one 77 that wasn't very full, and it seemed to be fine, but then I realized it was going the wrong way at ZhongGang Rd.  Cori was sleepy.  It was time to get another bus and fast.  

Whoops.  The 55 was packed solid, to the point that I was surprised that the driver could even see.  We got a taxi, which had an amazing dome light that was an obvious mod from the factory install.  

It looked like a cake pan lit with LEDs.  It was amazing.  

I'm pretty sure we were just abducted by someone and "taken home" all as part of a ruse to make us think we were still in Taiwan, when really I'm writing this from the planet Biroborkendai, and not actually typing, but living in a simulation where I think I'm typing with my hands, but really I'm using my nose.  

Man, that would be annoying.


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