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Monday, January 02, 2006

Looking for Fireworks

It used to be relatively easy to buy fireworks for the New Year celebration. We never bought them because we are not very fond of them. We love watching fireworks but it never downed on us to actually buy them.

Already last year when Stavros asked to bring them from Belgium we were too late and did not buy any. But this year Stavros asked for fireworks a week ahead and we could not go to his house for New Year and say we forgot them.

So we did not look for them until Friday the day before the end of the year. Herman and I were sure to find them as usual at Carrefour as every year. In the past years you could see everywhere the colorful displays at the entrance of the stores with all kind of fireworks types from very small to super sized rockets and bizarre looking boxes.

So on Friday we discovered that contrary to previous years we could not find any fireworks anywhere. Herman by some strange idea decided to call Carrefour in Mechelen. He thought Mechelen is on the way to the Netherlands, so if we had to stop, Mechelen was a logical place. The lady that answered the phone said that it was already two years that Carrefour did not sell fireworks and we could maybe find the in a special store that sold newspapers in the Hoogstraat, downtown Mechelen.

So we went looking for the Hoogstraat and after a while we got there; after asking in the shops around we finally found the place. It turns out that two years ago the law was changed on the sales of fireworks. Only special stores with good security and a license were allowed to sell them. In the back of the store there was a display of fireworks of all kinds. All of them came from China with big letters in Chinese.

We asked the salesman for something nice but not too big, not too dangerous and not too fiery. We bought some number 1 and number 2 rockets – the smallest we could find – and a big box with ten different shapes of candles and other kinds of fireworks. Very happy with our treasure hunt we went to Bloemendaal.

On Saturday night, midnight, together with the rest of the Netherlands, Stavros and Herman started to light all the fireworks we bought. One after the other, flying in the air like fire flowers or spurting fire stars in the street, the fireworks did their magic trick mesmerizing Alexandros and Irini and making children of us all.

Good bye Old Year, hello New Year with lots of bangs and all the glitter.

Like London, Sydney and Copacabana our street was full of people going “Hoo” and “Haa” with every “bang”. Now that we know where to go, next year we will get more and better fireworks.

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