We are demonstrating the proper way to suit up for the Yuenshui Fireworks Festival. You want to make pretty damn sure that no bottle rockets can get underneath the helmet. Full-face helmet... Full-face helmet... Hmm... gloves... make it really hard to operate the camera, and my glasses just fell off, whatever. And the gloves have to be made of cotton so they don't catch on fire.
As a first test, I walk beneath the rain of industrial grade sparklers. It burns like hell. Statues of the Gods are carried through the rain of fireworks throughout the night. Festival veterans light up hand-held fireworks and point them into the crowd. I decide to lead a temporary, strategic retreat.
The spectacle attracts local and international media, not to mention many die-hard champions. Behind the scenes: a larger castle is prepared for its date with immolation, while smaller ones are satellites. Stoically and solemnly, the crowd hops in place; heads bowed against the onslaught. After all, this is a religious thing.
Some said the bouncing minimize the chance of bottle rockets getting caught in clothing. Other said, "protect the feet." I think it's just nerves. The Yuenshui Beehive Bottle Rockets Festival. Taiwan's burning men! Only with Real... Burning... Men...