As I perceptively foreshadowed earlier in the week for those who may be unaware, it’s Chinese New Year. I think today is about day 5. I don’t know what you’re meant to do on day 5. I know day 4 ended with the younger generation of the family next door being thoroughly lambasted by Mrs Kong when their outrageous slightly audible conversation and giggling continued even past midnight. All the elderly heads in the village are newly shorn, as a haircut is part of the new year traditions. The air is sweet with the scent of roast chickens, fresh oranges and incense from the offering tables set up outside each door, heavy with smoke from red candles burning continuously, and otherwise filled with sudden clattering bursts of mahjong tiles being reset, a sound which ricochets around the village as loudly as the firecrackers on day 1.
In our house the year of the dragon has been ushered in with offerings of a less propitious kind – snotty tissues, hacking coughs, so many hours of Disney Junior on TV, and doonas strewn (without any regard for the principles of feng shui) on the couch over sick kids. Yes, they’ve both been sick as dogs and the only time we’ve ventured from the house was to take them on long drives, basically to relieve my boredom and escape yet another episode of Higglytown Motherf’ing Heroes. Three days in a row we went for a leisurely cruise from Sai Kung up to Kowloon and back home through Sha Tin, me in the front doling out bananas and sharp denials of their repetitious song requests, them in the back moaning and napping (Joel was at home working).
One day, in a deserted industrial backlot in darkest Fo Tan, we came across the sweetest little shrine.
I made the invalids get out of the car to demonstrate the shrine’s tiny dimensions. Excuse the big one’s pallid and dizzy appearance. And the little one’s pyjamas.
And just around the corner, another statue in the grass, of a little but incredibly fierce warrior. The kids refused to get out of the car.
On day 4, yesterday, the snot started drying up and the hacking coughs became less productive, so we ventured outside. It was Australia Day, and where usually at home we would be enjoying a barbecue in blistering temperatures of about 40 degrees Celsius, here it was a bitter 6 degrees. And this is the meat selection in the open freezer at the local super:
Who wants a rank chop?
Obviously a barbecue was off the menu so we settled in for a frozen-pizza picnic in our “frontyard”. See in the background both the auspicious kumquat tree, and Rufus’s adorable Chinese chalk graf on our fence.
Later we made a trip to town to stand under a cherry blossom. That’s gotta be lucky. Everything else is!
We watched some lion dancing (on day 4, hundreds of “lions” dance around Sai Kung to usher in a prosperous year for all the local businesses. I posted a much better post about it last year.) This year I did take a photo of the ground outside Shun Kee House Ware Emporium after the lion had finished his dance, had a massive party popper burst over his head, and moved on.
The sparkly aftermath.
And here’s a couple of lion heads, obviously superfluous to requirements, reposing sadly on a trolley outside a convenience store.
Here’s a more active lion that we followed around the Old Town for a bit. Happy
Australia Day Chinese New Year!