Taiwan Fireworks and the Year of the OX

I just gt an email from a fellow traveler Paul Ross who was referred to me by Mary Graybill of Eva Air. ( one of my favorite air lines). He wanted to know how to protect himself and his camera during his upcoming visit to to Taiwan. He is on his way to the Yanshuei fireworks festival and to face the mighty Bee Hive. Originally an act of exorcism for a cholera epidemic over 100 years ago, the towns people light off a huge amount of fire works . The “bee hive is a wooden box filled with tens of thousands of rockets, the majority of which are pointed straight at out at the crowd. People line up in front of it and when that thing goes off you had better be ready. They come straight at you and they hurt. Most everyone has a motorcycle helmet , Some people wear fire men suits, some seem to have stolen clothing from NASA and a few brave souls, covered in burn wounds, go wearing nothing, their courage boosted by chewing beetle nuts. Here is what I recommend. Wear at least a double layer of cotton clothing, no Nylon or synthetics, one spark and you will burn up. Remember that you are going to pelted by flaming rockets. Invest in the motorcycle helmet and wear a scarf or a towel to fill the gap between your neck and the helmet. This is important! if rocket gets up inside you could be blinded. I came out unscathed. For your camera you can either wrap it up in something cotton around your hand, buy a waterproof casing , or get a cheap point and shoot and hope for the best. I saw one photographer who had made a shield out of wood with just the end of the lens sticking through. This is one of the most unique experiences on the planet. Be careful Paul and you will be fine but by all means push the limits and jump right into the fray. Have a “blast!