“Hey, Alex! Come look out the window,” Abby said, jumping up and down. “Fireworks!”
Alex, Abby’s nine-year-old brother, did as he was told, coming to the window and looking around. “Abby, look at those kids tossing firecrackers on the road. Do you believe it? They are running behind cars. Look, there are more cars coming at them! We’d be in all kinds of trouble for running on the road…and with FIRECRACKERS!” he said in amazement.
“Did you hear the blasting and booming last night?” Abby asked. She thought of the dark sky that had been filled with blazing lights. “The noise kept waking me up. I was so scared. I couldn’t get out of bed. It might have been thunder.”
Pintsize who had been curled up, asleep, in the suitcase on the floor, now listened carefully to Alex and Abby. He was starting to come to terms with being in China. So he was going to listen very carefully. He wasn't going to lose his human family. They were his only chance of getting home.
“I couldn’t figure out what the heck the noise was. It sounded like bombs exploding,” Alex, who was into action movies, replied. “Do you think we’ll be able to set off some firecrackers while we’re here?”
“Maybe” Abby said. “I read that everybody gets to play with fireworks in China…anytime! The kids in China can light them for any celebration, like weddings, festivals and funerals, and even when a baby gets born.”
“Yuck!” said Alex. “You mean people get married and have babies in China too?”
“Duh,” grinned Abby. “Why do you think they have so many people in China?”
“Yeah, I guess,” Alex admitted, “I guess people wouldn’t be pushing each other out of the way and fighting to squeeze onto trains and buses, if there weren’t so many of them.” Alex smirked, and jumped out of the way of Abby’s punch.
“Did you know that when a couple gets married,” Abby continued, “the guys with the firecrackers stand outside the bride and groom’s house all night. They toss fireworks in the air to keep the newlyweds awake. I read that in a book.”
“I’d be telling them to stop the noise,” Alex said, thinking of his sleepless night. He continued, “After dancing at your own wedding all night, don’t you think you’d just want to sleep?”
“Yeah, I guess? Remember, even in the market yesterday, it was hard to get near the vendors’ carts for the crowds.” Abby said.
“Right,” Alex said. “I lost a shoe, and one of my feet landed in a pail with some snapping turtles. When a scooter whizzed by so close, I couldn’t get my foot out right away. I thought for sure I was going to lose a toe in a turtle’s mouth,” Alex said.
“I would have laughed my head off, Alex. That would be hilarious,” Abby squealed.
Alex said, “We learned in school last year that there are about 1.3 billion people in China.”
“One point three BILLION,” Abby said.
“Yeah, and China is only the third biggest country in the world. Canada is second biggest and only has 34 million people.”
“I can’t even count that high,” said Abby.
“Right!” Alex continued. “So China isn’t as big as Canada, but their are about forty Chinese kids for every one kid in Canada!”
With her mouth wide open, and her hands on her hips, the adorable, little Abby turned to look at her big brother and said, “Man! That must keep the tooth fairy busy!”