Tag Archives: Chinese New Year

Super Bowl Monday Links

First, thank you Will Hutchens for unknowingly letting me steal your idea to make a blog post of links.

If you missed it – the Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25.  Where were you?  I was up at 7am Monday morning to watch it in CHINESE.  Super Bowl XLV

Oh and I didn’t get to see the commercials either, but I did check out and like these two on YouTube.  Unfortunately, it takes my computer (internet connection) about 5 minutes to process a 30 second commercial.   Finger Lick and The Force

All those Chinese New Year fireworks don’t always go off without a hitch.  Massive Hotel Fire

Don’t believe everything you read… Amazingly enough there is FAKE news in China.  Blacklist for Fake News

The breadth of social media provides benefits even in a censored third world county.  Did Sina Weibo users help find missing boy?

Skiing in Shanghai?  Yes, it is true – anything is possible in this city. Yinqixing

The best way to end a day on the slopes?  A nice cold micro-brew.   I will definitely be checking this place out*!  Boxing Cat Brewery

Another story of tragedy because of fireworks.  Saved this one for last as it may damper your mood.   Warning there are graphic images but it is a powerful & moving story.  He Changti

*Update since starting this post – I checked out Boxing Cat Brewery last night; it is GOOD.  Beer & food both get a double thumbs up in my book, despite being a bit spendy.


Welcoming the Year of the Rabbit

If a picture is worth a thousand words, and I don’t believe a thousand pictures could explain the experience of being in the middle of residential Shanghai at midnight on Chinese New Year’s then I certainly don’t think anyone could fathom what it is like without being here.  That being said you should come to Shanghai for Chinese New Year sometime.  🙂  Insane is all I can say.  I thought it was insane at 10:30pm.  At 11:30pm, I thought there was no way possible for the fireworks to INCREASE at midnight.  At midnight, I was truly blown away.  At 1am, I realized there were moments of silence between explosions and at 3am I wondered how anyone in the city ever slept.

The great news – this supposedly continues for the next 7 days.  Especially on the fifth day of the celebration, “It is also common in China that on the 5th day people will shoot off firecrackers in the attempt to get Guan Yu’s attention, thus ensuring his favor and good fortune for the new year.”  (Thank you, Wikipedia for your never ending knowledge.)

Anyways, Happy New Year!  And despite not capturing the essence of the night, here is a firework picture for you with a blurry Oriental Pearl Tower in the background.

From my window - CNY

Giddy from Insanity

I am giddy – like a little girl at Disney World – from the insanity of the Chinese and their fireworks!  Seriously, it is INSANE.

At 7:20pm, I was waiting on a corner at an intersection less than a block from my apartment, looking down the streets there were fireworks going off (like 20ft in the air completely illegal in the US fireworks) within 20 yards of me in 3 out of 4 directions.  People just light off fireworks on the side of major roads for HOURS.  I had to walk UNDER fireworks to get where I was going – they were exploding 5 ft from me!  (Note: never look UP at fireworks directly above you – burning ash in eyes would not be good!)

Now it is 10:30pm, the streets are already littered with debris and it only gets louder and louder.  Can’t wait until midnight!!  I’m eating this up!

10pm - from the front door of my apartment building, this was set off at the gate of my apartment

Debris from fireworks being swept up @ the gate to my apartments - yes they come in those HUGE boxes

End of the Tiger

Today is the last day of the lunar year of the tiger.  Meaning for the Chinese it is essentially “New Years Eve.”  I was excited at the prospect of spending the Chinese New Year in the biggest city in China, until I realized that CNY is actually quite boring – especially for a newcomer who doesn’t know many people or have family in the area.

The traditional Chinese way of celebrating the beginning of a new year is actually quite similar to an American Christmas in that most typically spend time with family, travel “home”, eat a large meal, drink and stay in.  In fact, not only have most of the people I met in Shanghai left for the holiday, but I heard on the news that this week is considered the biggest annual “human migration” in the world.  They estimated that during the course of this week over 1.1 BILLION people will be traveling for the holiday.

As I had nothing else going on, I set out again today to explore some of Shanghai on foot.  I decided to head to Xintiandi, another little group of old Shanghai buildings that have remained and been turned into touristy shops, posh bars and overpriced restaurants aimed at foreigners.  I was impressed with the buildings – not really with the rest.  However, I did enjoy taking in my surrounding on the way there & back, as well as the nice dark chocolate latte I had in comfy chair in a warm coffee shop with an English Shanghai newspaper and small magazine.

"Paulaner, Munchen" Wait, which country is this? What continent am I on? In Xiantiandi.

The tiger in the Chinese Zodiac is energetic, strong, powerful, overly confident and courageous; a crazy year perhaps for the Chinese, as was the supermarket this afternoon.  This will make the upcoming year of the rabbit a welcome breath of fresh air. As it is calm, peaceful and associated with home and family, artistic pursuits, diplomacy, and keeping the peace.  Much more like the back street of Shanghai I explored earlier today.

I was surprised at how quiet the streets were, most shops closed for the holidays, people weren’t going anywhere today – unless they were late getting out of town to visit relatives.  The weather was nicer than it has been in quite some time (up to 54 degrees Fahrenheit/11 degrees Celsius); thus, the sunshine & warmth did bring some folks out to the street, to sit on stools in front of their homes and catch up on neighborhood gossip, many had their laundry out to dry and bedding airing out.  My only advice is to be sure not to walk under freshly hung laundry – you will be dripped on!  It was a social, relaxed setting on the streets of Shanghai.  Not what I have become used to.

Laundry out, shops closed.

Catching up & enjoying the sun

All of the fruit shops were still open though, with fruit baskets made up for the New Year celebration lining the streets.  I even saw some apples decorated for the occasion!

Fruit Baskets

New Year's apples

Firecrackers and fireworks have spontaneously been heard for several days now, but the frequency and duration is quickly increasing.  Occasionally, they cause me to almost jump out of my window seat as they go off right outside my apartment building. I notice my fear of heights (or falling) kicks in if I look down from my window – looking out is fine, but if I try to look below me the 28 stories get to me. Tonight the city (from what I hear) will not sleep (without earplugs or soundproof walls) as the fireworks will be continuous all through the night.

Looking out is good! From my 28th floor bedroom.

Another odd thing I saw on the streets today was several small fires where people were burning trash, what looked like some clothes and who knows what else.  I’m not sure if it was merely cleaning up and getting rid of unwanted items or if there was significance to this.

Fire in the street

That’s a wrap for the year of the tiger.  Happy Chinese New Year from the 老外in 上海。(Laowai, foreigner, in Shanghai)

Oh, dear China!

Yesterday, while waiting for a subway to go to Ikea, I witness a small child (maybe 1 or 2 years old) misbehaving by running away from his parents towards the train tracks.  After pulling him back a couple times and yelling at him, when the child started to run off again – the father kicked him.  Awesome parenting.

Hong Kong’s awesome parenting was summed up quite nicely in this picture (then again, she may not be from Hong Kong).  But this lovely animal was roaming around by some parked tour busses – this lady, with small child in tow – walked right up to it, getting about 6 inches from its face, to get a closer look.  Brilliant.

Please approach large wild animals with child

While I’ve known for sometime about the traditional substitute for diapers in China (crotch-less pants or clothes – allowing kids to be free to relieve themselves at anytime) and I have seen them worn, I never experienced them quite like I did today.  (They are becoming far less used in the major metropolitan areas of China such as Shanghai and are being replaced by diapers.)  I noticed this particular boy (and I’m sure this one was a boy) because he was sitting with his legs spread in his stroller, and as his mother helped to make sure he was situated properly, he peed on the sidewalk in front of a major grocery store.

Today, my first attempt at purchasing fruit in a grocery store failed.  I didn’t have bar codes on my fruit.  What happened to scales at the cash register or a little sticker with a number to punch in?  Come on, the stinkin’ oranges were INDIVIDUALLY wrapped in cellophane, but still no dice.  I wasn’t about to get out of line, find my way back to the produce section and figure out how to barcode my fruit when I was already worried about carrying home the amount of stuff I purchased.  A simple sigh & “bu yao” (don’t want) kept my fruit at the counter and me sipping on Emergen-C for my vitamins.

In other news, the holiday is approaching!  Chinese New Year (based on the lunar calendar) falls on February 3rd this year and we will be entering the year of the Rabbit.  For the occasion, I get 11 (unpaid) days off work! Of course, most people I know will be journeying home to be with their families for this time.  But I plan on making the most of my free time in Shanghai by exploring the city, becoming more familiar with my surrounding and perhaps finally ridding myself of this cold that has been trying its best to get me down for over a week now.  My work week this week originally consisted of Mon/Wed/Thurs/Fri working 4pm-9pm with Tuesday off and then the break for the holidays starting on Saturday.  If this were to remain the case, I would have observed 1.5 weeks of classes then I would have 1.5 weeks off and come back on February 9th and thrown into teaching my very first class after vacation.  However, most of the Kid Castle schools DO have class this Saturday and there is teacher who will be absent, so I was called today and asked if I would like to teach 3 classes that day.  I guess it’s time to sink or swim!

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