This is the traditional greeting for the start of the new lunar year here in Hong Kong. Roughly translated it means, "Wishing you prosperity". All the shops are heaving today, people are really stocking up, particularly with nuts, dried fruits, snacks, fancy sweets, biscuits, etc. It is believed that to eat these sweet things at this time of year will give you and your friends and family a sweet nature in the year to come. Les is now on holiday as most factories close for a week or even two. Most shops and offices will be closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.Some places are closed for longer as people travel back to their hometowns for the holiday period, often taking all their annual leave on top of the public holidays. We will join in the celebrations. Tomorrow, Sunday, we will go over to Victoria Park on the island to see the huge traditional market that is on there. As well as foodstuffs and street foodstalls, there will be flowers, lanterns and fruit trees for sale. On Monday, we will join the crowds in the local streets to watch the big parade and on Tuesday, we are having 3 couples over for drinks and supper to watch the firework display from our newly-cleaned windows. The display lasts for 23 minutes, that's a lot of squibs!
The window cleaning took place yesterday, it was quite exciting as the gondola arrived outside the window with 2 men on board, leaning right out to wash our big front window 46 floors up. Rather them than me! I went out to look up and what had seemed a big structure when outside our living room, looked absolutely tiny when viewed from the street.
On Wednesday, we'll be packing for our journey back to Bonnie Scotland. This is the correct thing to do, as on the third day of CNY it is the tradition to visit family. It's just that ours lives thousands of miles away, so we can't pop round with a bowl of dried fruit!
As for this week, well, I hardly had a minute! Monday, my weekly morning meeting introduced a new (to me) form of excercise; NIA, which incorporates elements of aerobics, zumba, jazzercise and yoga. It looked fun and we hope to start up our own class soon. I met three friends for lunch afterwards, it was good to catch up with everyone's various Christmas and New Year travels. Between us, since we last met in December, we had visited 5 different countries!
Tuesday it was Book Group in the morning and a Cantonese lesson in the afternoon. On Wednesday, my friend Sue and I went up to China for the day. She bought a painting and I bought a handbag and two enormous silk cherry blossom branches. It was fun and games on the train home, I almost had several peoples' eye out! I went to poetry club in the evening, again good to catch up as I hadn't been for ages. Thursday, just a quiet day doing housework then a Cantonese lesson. Les had a couple of conference calls in the evenings this week, so we didn't go out for dinner on Thursday, just making it in time for a quick drink before happy hour ended in our local! We went to Temple St market to eat on Friday night and in the afternoon I met Elaine and Hannah for a quick coffee and catch up before I head off to see her new wee niece in Scotland next week.
Today we went to the cinema in the afternoon to see "Flowers of War" a violent film about the Rape of Nanking during the Sino-Japanese war in the 1930's. It certainly explains why some Chinese people to this day cannot forgive the Japanese brutality of that time. I wouldn't say it was exactly enjoyable, but it was thought provoking and interesting to see a film about a period of history about which I know little.
Next post will include some pictures of CNY decorations, which are absolutely stunning!