Close to death

I was at the lantern festival on Friday night, which involved a hell of a lot of walking, cursing my phone’s crappy camera (there were so many amazing lanterns I wanted to capture!) and seeing two eight year old kids get up and do karaoke. And I can’t forget the puppeteers – they’re not like normal puppets, instead these ones are held up over the head and controlled by one hand with a pole type thing. It’s amazing how much control they have, and how much they do with just one hand – considering the other one is busy holding the puppet aloft. The most intense part was when they did something and made the puppets’ faces change; how, I have no idea! A quick flick of the wrist, a wave of the hand…I don’t know, but somehow a new face swept across the puppets, and it was INSANE. Especially considering there were three of them and they did it in sync. (May not sound that cool, but I guess you had to be there). They also managed to light a flame in each puppet’s hand. Seriously.

As well as the usual lion dances they had a supercalifragilistic contraption – looked like a …can’t remember the name….old fashioned wooden things you launch stones and rocks from? There were about a million strings all over the thing, connected to nine little lions. Ever seen a lion dance? Well, there were NINE of these suckers, and they went hard. I was afraid the whole machine was going to break. And you should have seen how much work it was for the people working it. But it was awesome – the lions jumped, darted, swung out to the sides and the front, things I never thought were possible with string control.

Asians, honestly – do some of the weirdest things, but they’re freakishly cool at the same time.

When we left, there were a few cops out on the street. As we got down to the corner, an ambulance came screaming around and up where we’d come from. Didn’t think much of it, thought maybe there was a minor ding somewhere amid the traffic. Didn’t hear any screaming, see blood, or people panicking. I haven’t even been to the festival for a couple of years so thought maybe the police were just there to make sure things were running okay, crowd control – that sort of thing.

Sunday news: someone died there, that night. Got stuck under a bus and dragged all the way up the road.

Just as we were probably a hundred metres away.

And we didn’t even know.

That freaked me out more than Austin Hemmings being killed around the back from work. I mean, it was on the street our building backs onto, but I wasn’t at work that day.

This time, I was actually not very far from someone innocent who died on the road.

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