Tyan-Chyau was a very popular place in Pei-King even nowadays. It was named Tyan-Chyau (Bridge to Heaven) was in the old days, at Chinese new year, the emperor would pass this bridge to Tyan Tan( God’s Temple) to worship God.
Ever since the new government in power, they filled up this area with rocks and dirt. Many small businesses moved in. As well as variety shows and all kinds of Chinese folk arts! People love to visit Tyan-Chyau especially during Chinese New Year season. People would not miss the fireworks at Dung An-Men( The Gate of Peace at East) as well.
That kind of Bridge to Heaven was very different from nowadays. After the fireworks shoot into the air, not only exploded into thousands of sparkles. Those sparkles may suddenly be turned into an ax, a cup, or even a war chariot, etc….
Yu Wen told her children the best firework she had ever watched was when she was about 6 years old. That was at Dung An Men( The Gate of Peace at the East) during one Chinese New Year Season.
That evening. one of Lyan’s long-term worker carried her on his shoulder because she was too short to see anything in the middle of the crowd.
Yu-wen remembered that:
After she heard a loud:「Bang!」 There was a big fireball floating up into the sky. Suddenly the fireball popped into a knight sating on the horseback. It floated in the air for a little while and starting to fade away. Those fading sparklers in the sky changed into a summer-house. When the summer-house starting to fade away, there was a big cluster of grapes shown in the air. One by one, the grape burst. Then sky returned it’s darkness again!
This kind of old technique and skill of making those kinds of fireworks were failed to handed down from past generations. Yu Wen had never seen anything similar to that kind of fireworks the rest of her life. Every time when she was telling this story to her children and grandchildren, they thought that was a magical cartoon story.
* * * * *
At tyan-chyau, there were varieties of booths for snacks, pastries.etc. [Chwei Tang Ren] was one of Yu Wen’s favorite.
“Chwei-Tang-Ren” is one of a rear Chinese folk art. You may see it at Tyan-Chyau if you have a chance to visit Pei-Jing. The owner of “Chwei Tang Ren” put some brown sugar unto a small clay pot which was placed on a small charcoal stove. He stirred the sugar with a small bamboo stick until the sugar melted into thick liquid. He will pick up some of the melted sugar, poked a tiny copper pipe into the middle of that small chunk of sugar and blow. At the same time with his two magical hands, he shaped the soft sugar into a different kind as he desired, mostly would be some figurines well known to every Chinese. Such as “Ju Ba Jye(The big fat pig), Swen Wu Kung (The Rocky Monkey), Mi Le Fu (The Buddha Maitreya) etc…. You name it, he’ll make it. Mi Le Fu was always Yu Wen’s first choice. Because, each time when she pushed its belly button on its big fat belly, some honey will drop out from the bottom of the belly. After all the honey were gone, then Yu Wen would finish up the Buddha! Sometimes the big fat Buddha was not enough for her, Yu Wen would ask for a Big Fat Pig.
* * * * *
Once at Tyan Chyau, there was some happening shocked You Wen that she could not forget her whole life:
Yu Wen saw so many people at the foot of the tall city wall. She squeezed herself through the people. There she saw a tall young man standing in the middle. His upper body was naked. He was ready to perform some very special Chinese Kung Fu, Gecko Kung Fu. After he saluted the people with cupping one hand in the other in front of his chest, he turned around facing the city wall and his back toward the crowd. Beginning with a few steps of quick running, that tall young man started trotting on the city wall as if he was trotting on the ground until he almost reached the to top of the wall. Suddenly a armed soldier showed up and aimed him with his rifle. The young man turned his body over and jumped down to the ground quickly as a flash. People applaud loudly and shouted with “GOOD!” It tells the performance was really out of the running sth. Coins throwing on to the ground like popcorns.
* * * * *
There was one particular toy that Yu Wen always wanted to play but never dare to try. It was called “Poo-Dern, Poo-Dern”. It was made of very, very thin glass, shapped as a calabash. At the bottom of the calabash was especially thin. When you blow and inheal from it’s other end slightly, quick and short, the air will moves the bottom in and out, which makes a very cheerful sound as “Poo-Dern, Poo-Dern”. Once Yu Wen saw a little boy was play with “Poo-Dern”. He was blowing a little too hard. The bottom part of the calabash blew off into small pieces and flying all the directions. Some of the broken pieces flew onto the boy’s face who stood next to him. That poor injured boy screamed out loudly and blooded all over his face.
Wang Ma told Yu Wen: “Fortunately, he was blowing. if he was inhaling, the tiny broken glass pieces could get into his throat. It could be too late to send him to the hospital.” That is why there is a nursery rhyme, which says:[Poo-Dern, Poo-Dern. Two pennies could cost your life.] ” My lady should never play with it.”
—To be continued.
- Ladle head and Black Bean Eyes is on the way.