Originally uploaded by JW.
As we walked beside Beihai Lake, we watched young people drifting past in Sampans, some gently serenaded with quiet music played on an instrument that looked like a lute, others singing tipsily, wearing red devil horns on their heads and waving sparklers.
Suddenly, we noticed a flaming object falling from the sky and when we looked behind us we saw that there were more bright flickering objects in the sky, moving towards us from the other side of the lake.
They were fire balloons, carried on a gentle breeze that came from the North. Eventually, when their tissue canopies got too hot, the balloons would catch fire and tumble towards the ground, frightening, no doubt, whatever would be the Chinese equivalent of an armadillo, crouching in the shadows.