Late Lanterns and Little Lights

Trip Start Jul 04, 2011
Trip End Sep 24, 2014

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Flag of China  , Tianjin Shi,
Sunday, April 8, 2012

OK, Lantern Festival was a while ago in February (I have a journal entry about that but haven't put it on here yet). So what were we doing with trying to set off lanterns now?

Back during the Lantern Festival one of my workmates - B - had bought a lantern.  We tried to light it & get it to fly one night after work but it was waaaaay too cold and waaaaay too windy.  So, we planned to do it again, when the weather was a bit more conducive to standing around in the dark.  We also planned to do this when a friend of B's was in China.

Well, the time came around.  B's friend was here and we thought we could let off a couple after a bunch of my workmates had a pot-luck dinner. 

First we ate the dinner.  Good, that's done.  OK, and drank a little wine too. 

Next question: where to let off the lanterns (I now had one, B had two.)

Our pot luck was being held in an apartment in a 20 story / floor building.  I wondered if we could get onto the roof, that would be cool.  Sometimes it is easy to do that sort of thing, often not.  So we headed out, 3 lanterns, four foreign teachers, one spouse and B's friend.

We took the lift to the top floor.  Went around the corner and there were stairs.  OK, so far, so good.  Then at the top of the stairs was a ladder ... up ... to ... a hole in the roof.  Huh, no water-proofing!  OK, it has been winter here and winter is as dry as but I would still expect the hole in the roof on a 20 story building to be covered.

So we gave each other a leg up onto the short ladder and headed ... onto the roof.

Whew, she sure was high up there.  Actually, many (all?) of the floors have mezzanine floors / lofts so it was probably more like 30 stories up.  And with no safety rail, just a 15 cm lip to trip on as you fell over ....

We saw the galvanised iron trap that was supposed to be over the hole in the roof, just sitting loose on the roof.  A small gust of wind and it would be gone, taking out a car or pedestrian down below.  Actually, that proved to be quite useful as a wind-break - it was blowing a little up there.

We unpacked one of the lanterns, our one, and spent some time trying to light up the paraffin burner under it.  Actually, this was one we had prepared earlier.  It would be our second son's birthday in a couple of days. J had written a little birthday message on the lantern so we could send that on up, like a Chinese long distance birthday celebration to London sort of thing.

We finally got it lit up and, when I had the camera rolling, one of the guys launched it over the side.

I'm sure lanterns are supposed to go up, what with hot air in them & all, although J wondered about the fact that the air temperature is a whole lot warmer now than in early February ...  Down it went, all the way ... Oh, that wasn't according to plan.  It went down and didn't come up.  It stopped near  a bus stop, as if it was going to be easier to catch a bus to London than fly there!

We came off the roof, with the same number of people who went up which was good.  We then tried another from ground level behind the apartment building but that one ended up in a tree, a la Charlie Brown & kites (Read the Peanuts comic strip.).

Mission Accomplished?  Not really, but fun none the less. 

Have a great birthday.

(For the sequel to this, go to That event was partially inside and a lot safer … I think.)
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