I was with Will and a friend I met in Beijing at the People’s Park in Liaocheng the other night, and every couple of minutes we would hear this huge explosion.  At first I just thought it was fireworks, but usually fireworks are accompanied by long strings of firecrackers.  I decided to wander down the street to see what the hell was going on, and discovered a street merchant using the old fashioned method of making popcorn, in which you heat up the kernels in a pressurized canister and then release the pressure to pop them.  It was quite a spectacle, and it seemed to me to be a little unnecessary, especially because the popcorn was pretty horrible.  All the same, it was one of the more memorable moments of my time here in Liaocheng so far.