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My Fifth Colourful N Sqawking Chinese New Year

Hey Hey and a Huge Happy New Year G´Day toya, MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE! How many people do you know have celebrated FIVE Chinese New Years IN CHINA! Well besides some of the 1.3 billion Chinese that actually live here! OK, now it doesn´t seem like much of a feat! HHHhhhhmmmmm! Bugger! My first was spent in the Xishuangbanna Region (Yunnan Province) in the year 2000. My second was spent in Yangshuo (Guangxi Province) in the year 2005. My third was spent in the Xishuangbanna Region (Yunnan Province) in the year 2006. My fourth was spent in a small Shaowu Village (Fujian Province) in the year 2007. And here I sit once again in my beautiful little mountain city of Shaowu (Fujian Province - 2008) bewildered by the fact that I have actually celebrated my fifth Spring Festival here in China. If I had a choice I would have spent it on the tropical island of Hainan Island eating fresh seafood and snorkelling every day with my wonderful boss Owen and his lovely wife Jennifer. But the powers that be had other ideas. My passport was sent off at the end of last year and it still hasn´t been returned with my new Residential Visa. This makes it pretty much impossible to travel here in China. Instead I´ve been doing what any normal person would do, celebrating each night at one of the several bars or enjoying huge home cooked feasts at friends homes.

This leaves the day light hours tightly locked away behind sleepy eye lids until the phone rings with another random invitation to the next selection of celebrations! A few days ago a friend who attends university in Beijing arrived home to stay with his family for the Spring Festival. This being the same family I spent Spring Festival with last year in a little village an hour or so away from Shaowu. Luckily for me there was another happy invitation to spend Spring Festival with them but this time in their new family home in the south of Shaowu City. I began my Spring Festival Eve by rising much earlier than usual and headed out into the busy morning streets. They were full of so much colour, strange aromas and sounds. I walked the little alleyways and watched as families took down the old Spring Couplets and with utmost and sometimes extremely funny precision put up new ones. Spring Couplets are horizontal and vertical scroll type pieces of red paper that are stuck on the left and right side and above the door or gate way to each house. On them are written short poems offering each family a prosperous new year. I also believe that the one above the door is actually stuck upside down. Why? I think as this allows all the good luck to rain upon the family. Around me people ran around the streets making last minute New Years purchases. The market places were lined with bamboo trays filled with fresh vegetables, eggs and tofu. Along side were tables filled with freshly cut meats and seafood. Live chickens and ducks could be heard and spotted being carried feet first through the bustling streets. Life would soon end for these fat little friends! I tried to make a list of names for them as they passed me by squabbling and squawking their last; breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, bits, pieces, yummy, delicious, with lemon sauce, too much chilli, not enough chilli, soup, drumstick, fried, boiled, plucked, over the floor, over the table, in my stomach, tender, KFC, squabble, squawk, sorry, help, chop chop chop, my sister tastes better, I´ll give you free eggs for a year if you let me go, you´re hurting my feet, fat, thin, too thin, succulent breasts, more drumsticks, more please, I´ll have that piece please, feel free, wok, wokmeup, wokherfirst, the oils too hot etc etc My favourite was the most simple... OUCH! I ended up walking for almost six hours and covered most of the city on both sides of the river along with a trip up Pagoda Hill. It was such a wonderful day. All travel had ceased and families were together once again. Many for the first and only time this the year. Along with all the above were the never ceasing sounds of fire crackers being let off. The air was filled their sourish smell. Around me children from the age of three to children the age of eighty-three could be seen throwing crackers at each other, at people passing by and at anything that actually moved. It seemed that if any object/thing didn´t move it was pushed and then it had a cracker thrown at it! Around five I headed to my friends new house and we spent a most wonderful many hours together. His mother and father had spent hours cooking up the most amazing feast. A million dishes came and went and soon we were all at the windows watching the colourful fireworks filling the night sky. Hours went by and they never stopped. No matter where you looked from their sixth floor window, colourfully loud blasts filled your vision. After saying a huge thankyou and Happy New Year I was soon found at Ting Tings Bar with Yan and Crew. They had been there for many hours and believe me, they and the surrounding area told the tale! I spent New Years Day walking around town getting ready for the nights huge onslaught of Whisky! Yan's school friend owns the rather expensive and lavish KTV (Karaoke) Bar in town and whenever Yan and Friends visit it is pretty much as many free bottles of whisky as they can drink. As it is free we had to wait for a room to become available. This, my friends I was more than happy to do, in fact I was preying that a room wouldn´t become available. We had to wait in the dancing/bar area where we began the nights first few bottles of whisky. Around me and on stage were extremely sexy and beautiful Chinese dancing girls. Sadly a few hours later a room was made available and we took our mess there. Each room comes with a huge TV, an amazing sounding sound system and your own Karaoke Computer filled to the brim with every Chinese song that has ever been released. There are English songs but it seems that they are either horrible or songs that no westerner has ever heard of. The rest of the night was a total blast and I´m sure even Yan´s friend the KTV Owner found it as funny as we did when one of the girls fell on the huge screen TV and watched as it fell forward. Luckily someone did their best to catch it and how funny it was that only the side broke. Yep that was my fifth Spring Festival here in China! Not a village in sight but still an awesome day spent in the bustling squawking streets, an invitation to a home cooked feast, skies filled with loud booms and colour, extremely sexy dancing girls and drunken songs by the bottle full. Once I´m over this one I´ll begin preparing myself for my sixth Spring Festival here in China. Where I will be is anyone´s guess at this point of time. Happy Chinese New Year to you all! Beers N Noodles toya.....shane ____________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was the only thing that my whisky soaked brain could possible relate to; Mr `I´m an Orange´ himself; the wonderfully insane Syd Barrett. The album was `Barrett´ Awesome!

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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