Sunday, February 18, 2007
Kung Hei Fat Choy!
Happy New Year! Yesterday was the first day of the Chinese New Year. As I have already mentioned, this year is the year of the golden pig. The holiday is huge! They have three days off - yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Last night, Matthias and I tried to go to the parade, which was downtown. It was supposed to start at 8 pm. We got down there at probably 7 or shortly thereafter, and there were so many people, I couldn't even SEE the street where the parade was supposed to take place. We spent some time trying to find a better view, but finally just committed to a spot. I could only get a glimpse of the street if the heads were all tilted just so in front of me. Matthias could see more, being taller than most, but even his view was not great. The real killer though, was that at 8:20, the parade STILL hadn't started. Now, it is an hour ride or more on the subway to our hotel from downtown. With all the people that were there, I am sure if we had stayed for the parade, it would have taken MUCH longer than an hour. We were getting tired.
So despite our efforts, we finally decided NOT to wait for the parade, but just to head back to the hotel. I know, it seems like a strange decision. What is the point of the parade, if you can't actually SEE it? I guess Matthias could kind of see it, but I wasn't overly excited to stand in a large, hot crowd for over 2 hours to look at the backs of peoples' heads. Not to mention the crowded subway ride to the hotel at midnight. What would you have done? It is supposed to be an amazing parade, but I would only have seen bits of it, in the 4" screen of someone's digital video camera. (that was the only time I really saw parts of the street.) I am actually glad we went back when we did, since I was getting a bit of a headache from the volume. Does this mean I am getting old or something?? (don't answer that, please.)
I did get to spend the afternoon with a friend from Hawaii who is living here now. Jaime, whose Mom was my best friend on Maui, has been living here for about 5 years or so, teaching yoga at a place called Pure Yoga. We met downtown, close to where Jaime lives, and had lunch at a really wonderful Thai restaurant. Then, we walked around Hong Kong park for awhile before going to her apartment. I only stayed until Matthias was done studying, and then went to the subway to meet him. It was really good to see her.
The flowers in Hong Kong park are beautiful right now. I think that a lot of them were just for the New Year celebrations, but it sure is nice to see things blooming! It was also enjoyable, seeing the city at night. We rode the ferry back and forth, which provided us with a great view of the city lights against the water in the harbor. Most of the photos ended up being blurry, since the ferry was moving on the water, but I think I have one to give you an idea. I also got a fun photo of the beloved "nose hair trimmer" at night. By the way, I found out from Jaime that most of the locals have nicknamed a lot of the buildings downtown, and "nose hair clipper" is in fact the nickname for this building!!! Funny!