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Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Lunar New Year Lo Mein in Jiangmen

During the Lunar New Year holiday in China many restaurants close and many red signs with messages of good luck appear. Some places remain open, though, or reopen before the end of the holiday period. And the eating goes on . . .

二十杆 in Jiangmen (江门)


I stumbled upon the above small place, Èrshí Gǎn (二十杆), on Taiping Road in Jiangmen yesterday. The XO sauce lo mein (XO酱捞面) was recommended, so I gave it try.

XO sauce lo mein (XO酱捞面) at 二十杆 in Jiangmen


The noodles might not look like anything special, but they were rather flavorful and quite satisfying — perfect fuel for a game of xiangqi.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

A Sign of the Upcoming Lunar New Year: Bulky Trash Collection in Macau

Last year I shared a special Lunar New Year trash collection activity in Macau which occurred during the holiday period. So it is only fitting that I now share a special Lunar New Year trash collection activity in Macau which is occurring just before yet another year begins.

"Collection point for bulky waste before Lunar New Year" sign


As announced on a government website:
In view of the sharp increase in the amount of garbage during Lunar New Year period as residents clean their homes to welcome the new year, the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) and the Macau Residue System Company, Ltd. will strengthen their city cleaning and garbage collection efforts from 28 January to 5 March 2018 to ensure the cleanliness of the city.

From 2 to 15 February 2018, 128 collection points for large-sized garbage will be set up in Macao. Among those collection points, 106 will be set up in Macao Peninsula, and 13 and 9 collection points will be set up in Taipa and Coloane respectively. Residents can make use of the mentioned collection points for large-sized garbage from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. The Macau Residue System Company, Ltd. will put up signs at the mentioned locations.
At one site yesterday afternoon there was already an assortment of bulky items, presumably free to a good home.

broken seat, worn tires, and broken baby stroller at trash collection point in Macau


This is shared in the spirit of shining a brief light on a side of the of the Lunar New Year holiday in Macau which typically doesn't receive so much, if any, attention elsewhere. And it seemingly contrasts with neighboring Zhuhai across the border in mainland China. Trash is collected there in one form or the other, but I have never seen similarly-marked sites for collection activities specific to the Lunar New Year holiday.

Hurry up if you still have bulky trash in Macau though. You now only have just a little more than an hour left.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Taipei Lunar New Year Festival at Dihua Street

One of the main entrances to the Taipei Lunar New Year Festival on Dihua Street
One of the main entrances to the Taipei Lunar New Year Festival on Dihua Street

Dihua Street runs through Dadaocheng, a section of Taipei dense with visible history. According to a government tourist website:
In late 1880s, Dadaocheng started to prosper in light of the opening of Tamsui Harbor. It has since become the keystone of economic and cultural development. In Dadaocheng, you will see extravagant Baroque architecture, traditional Hokkien bungalows and brilliant red-brick western houses. Historical buildings, traditional folklore center, tea houses, fabric stores, Chinese pharmacy and local eateries alike are rich in history. A new everyday-aesthetics derives in the vintage neighborhoods of Dadaocheng where century-old stores meet with contemporary innovation.
And at the moment, there's another reason to visit Dihua Street. It is one of the locations for this year's Taipei Lunar New Year Festival:
The Dihua New Year's Goods shopping street will be in place from February 1st to 14th, featuring hundreds of stands selling classic or trendy items. There will be 15 food trucks at Yongle Plaza during the period as well. On weekends, chefs are invited to demonstrate how they prepare New Year's dishes, and visitors can also pour their emotions and creativity into making red envelopes and New Year’s banners. Vintage style clothing and cute dog costumes are also available for people to take fun photos with, sitting in front of an AR technology backdrop. This year's festival has been expanded to Ningxia Night market, Taipei Station Wholesale Market, Rongbin Shopping District and Taipei City Mall, immersing visitors from all places in the lively, colorful Chinese New Year experience in Taipei.
When I visited Dihua Street last Thursday afternoon, what most caught my attention early on were the very dense crowds, all the more striking considering it was a cold overcast weekday afternoon and rain had been forecasted.

dense crowd at the Taipei Lunar New Year Festival on Dihua Street


This made me wonder what it would be like on a weekend day with good weather.

In comparison to past Lunar New Year Fairs in Hong Kong I've attended, there appeared to be more of an emphasis on the traditional items people commonly buy for celebrating the Lunar New Year, making it more distinct from a regular night market, common in Taiwan. In that spirit, some of the sellers wore traditional clothing.

sellers at the Taipei Lunar New Year Festival on Dihua Street


I didn't see anybody wearing a dog costume, though, fitting for the upcoming Year of the Dog. But I see someone wearing a Cheshire Cat outfit.

person wearing a Cheshire Cat costume


As usual for the Lunar New Year, candy was a common item for sale and a great number of varieties were available.

candy for sale at the Taipei Lunar New Year Festival on Dihua Street


candy for sale at the Taipei Lunar New Year Festival on Dihua Street


chocolate coins for sale at the Taipei Lunar New Year Festival on Dihua Street


I tried one of the chocolate coins, something familiar from my own childhood, and I'll just say after the first taste I had no desire to finish it. The cheap Italian chocolates, many with liquor fillings, sold at the same stand were significantly better.

I also took advantage of the the many food vendors there.

Taiwanese sausages for sale at the Taipei Lunar New Year Festival on Dihua Street


Sure, black cuttlefish sausages aren't specifically a Lunar New Year treat, but I don't come across them often (the one place which comes to mind is a long metro ride away in Tamsui, though I assume there are closer options). And how can you ignore somebody waving a giant cuttlefish sausage?

woman holding a large fake Cuttlefish Sausage


As it started to get darker around 5 p.m. the crowds thinned slightly and it was easier to explore the various stands.

The Taipei Lunar New Year Festival on Dihua Street during the evening


But things seemed to pick up later on, though still not as busy as the afternoon.

There's much more to see (and eat) than what I have shared here. So if you can, head on over to Dihua Street before the festival ends on February 14. It's an opportunity to immerse yourself in a bit of history while enjoying the Lunar New Year festivities. You won't be alone.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Getting a Head Start on Showing Love: A Valentine's Month Sale at Qsquare in Taipei

Yesterday, January 18, I didn't expect to be thinking about Valentine's Day, which isn't until February 14. However, sale signs at the Qsquare shopping mall in Taipei changed that.

Valentine's Day Winter Sale sign at Qsquare in Taipei


The mall's website now prominently features its Valentine's Day themed winter sale as well.

Valentine's Day Winter Sale promotion on the Qsquare website


I don't know whether it is typical for Qsquare to start a Valentine's Day promotion nearly four weeks before the holiday. Qsquare may have chosen the timing because another holiday with sales potential — the Lunar New Year — falls on February 16 this year. However, I have seen similarly early starts to holiday sales elsewhere. So I wouldn't be shocked if Valentine's Day signs would now be up even if the Lunar New Year fell on a later date.

In any case, the Chinese message on the banner indicates the sale will be an opportunity for couples to show evidence of their love. It doesn't mention that depending on your significant other it may or may not be beneficial to mention you bought their gift on sale.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

A New Year Holiday in Taipei

Although I am belated in posting for the first time since 2018 began, I wasn't belated in celebrating it. Thanks to some matters not deserving much mention here I spent the holiday in Taipei for the first time. Thanks to good friends who have access to the top of a well-located building, I had a splendid view when midnight arrived.

New Year's fireworks for 2018 at Taipei 101 in Taipei, Taiwan


I was familiar with Taipei 101's fireworks displays, but seeing it in person is something else. My friends felt otherwise. Apparently after watching fireworks shoot out of a skyscraper more than a few times the experience can become mundane for some people. Anyway, I had a grand time. Later, one of the friends shared a photo taken by Kent Chuang from a location very close to where we watched but at ground level:



I don't have a long story to share about the night like I did for my very different New Year's experience last year in Xiapu, a county with numerous fishing villages in Fujian province. The most remarkable thing this year other than the fireworks was later stumbling upon a large gathering of young people from a variety of places in Latin America who were celebrating in Da'an Forest Park.

So . . . ¡Feliz año nuevo!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Thanksgiving in Wuhan

I didn't have any rats running up my leg like I did in Changsha five years ago, but Thanksgiving this year was still a success. Although a holiday-special pulled turkey breast burger with cranberry BBQ sauce took way too long to arrive at lunch, the delay led to a free slice of dark chocolate cake (thank you, Sunny). The cake was more impressive than the burger, so it felt like a net win. For dinner I chose a Western upscale hotel with a buffet that I figured would be serving turkey today. Not only was I correct, but I arrived in time to score a leg. It took a little extra effort to communicate that, yes, I really wanted the whole leg. Early bird scores the worm and all that.

I won't be sharing any photos of the pricey food since none of it would be remarkable for Thanksgiving fare. Part of the reason for my choice in dining location tonight was that it would offer the opportunity for a late walk somewhere I hadn't visited before. So in that spirit, for a photo here is a scene from tonight in Wuhan's Hanyang District including the Yingwuzhou Yangtze River Bridge (鹦鹉洲长江大桥):

People near the Yingwuzhou Yangtze River Bridge (鹦鹉洲长江大桥) at night


Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Halloween Night in Changsha, China

Five years ago I shared photos from Changsha, Hunan, indicating Halloween's growing popularity in China, and two years ago I shared a similar set of photos from Shaoguan in Guangdong province.

This year I was in Changsha yet again for the holiday. Later I will post more about the business/marketing side of Halloween. But first, below are some Halloween night photos from an area covering Hualongchi to Taiping Street which has several pedestrian streets and many shopping centers, restaurants, and bars. The photos range from children in costumes to people selling Halloween-related items to a dance club's spruced-up entrance. The last photo reflects that most people who were out weren't dressed up for Halloween. It didn't necessarily stop them from having a good time though.


two young women dressed up for Halloween in Changsha



two young men dressed up for Halloween in Changsha



two children dressed up for Halloween in Changsha



woman selling Halloween-related items in Changsha



young woman dressed up for Halloween in Changsha



young man dressed up for Halloween in Changsha



two young women dressed up for Halloween buying corn in Changsha



Halloween-themed entrance to the Muse dance club in Changsha



young woman dressed up for Halloween in Changsha



three children wearing Halloween masks in Changsha



disposed Halloween mask in Changsha



young men enjoying a late night meal outside in Changsha

Monday, October 9, 2017

End of National Day and Beginning of New Sales in Zhongshan

The eight day long holiday period in China combing National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival concluded yesterday. Today the Sun Wen West Road Pedestrian Street in Zhongshan was far less crowded then it was during the holiday. During the day small vehicles were permitted to use it, which made things a bit less pedestrian.

Sun Wen West Road Pedestrian street with small vehicles


The end of the holiday also meant the end of the related holiday sales, though a few persisted. But that didn't mean an end to sales. A number of stores now had Autumn sales, even though Autumn began over two weeks ago in the Northern Hemisphere and the temperature still reach over 90°F (32°C) daily in Zhongshan.

Autumn sale sign in Zhongshan


But for at least one store, today was the beginning of a Halloween sale on cosmetics.

sign for a cosmetics Halloween sale at a mall in Zhongshan


And the year goes on . . .

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Holiday Patriotism and Mooncakes in Zhongshan

Today at the Dasin Metro-Mall (大信新都汇) in Zhongshan there were patriotic signs of the ongoing National Day holiday.

patriotic flag and star display at the Dasin Metro-Mall in Zhongshan, China


Chinese flag at the Dasin Metro-Mall


Today is also the Mid-Autumn Festival. Like elsewhere in Zhongshan, the conjunction of holidays apparently inspired some "Buy One Get One Free" sales at the mall. Perhaps because of the overlap, I noticed just one sign which only mentioned today's holiday.

sign with "Happyiness mid-autumn festival"


Mooncakes are a popular feature of the Mid-Autumn Festival. Unlike last year, this year I have no sightings of Hello Kitty mooncakes or mooncakes for dogs & cats to share. I saw both of those in Macau, so maybe a short trip would have fixed that.

Instead, for some mooncake spirit here is a photo of an advertisement for mooncakes from Starbucks at Lihe Plaza in Zhongshan:

Starbucks ad for its Mid-Autumn Festival mooncakes


A single Starbucks mooncake costs 59 yuan (which at the moment equals U.S. $8.88 — how lucky). A barista pointed out it came in a fancy box which looks like a lantern. It isn't hard to find even pricier mooncakes for sale in China.

Or you could go somewhere like Walmart and buy tiny mooncakes for about 2 yuan (about U.S. 30 cents) each. The ones with black sesame filling and salted egg yolk aren't bad.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

National Day Sales in China: Buy One Get One Free at War Ground

As usual, National Day in China means . . . sales.

sign with "national day" printed with "NATI", "ONAL-", and "DAY" on separate lines


This year is a bit different in that the Mid-Autumn Festival happens to fall during the seven day National Day holiday period, which has been extended to eight days this year to accommodate both holidays. Some stores have played off the double holiday theme this year with variations of "Buy One Get One Free" sales.

For example, a New Bailun LP (Xinbailunlingpao) store I passed today in Zhongshan displayed a "Buy One Get One Free" sign.

buy one get one free sign at New Bailun LP


And so did a YG-Niubailun store nearby.

buy one get one free sign at YG-Niubailun


Both of these stores sell sneakers with logos remarkably similar to New Balance's — fascinating story there for another day.

Now I can't mention holiday sales in Zhongshan without bringing up War Ground - a military-themed clothing store. Two years ago, I noticed that a War Ground store in Zhongshan had a sale for International Women's Day. Later in the year, I saw that they also had a sale for National Day. Today I briefly stopped by the same store. The promotion there was toned down in comparison to two years ago, and I didn't see any explicit mention of the National Day holiday. But there was a red colored "Buy One Get One Free" sign.

buy one get one free sign at War Ground


You can decide whether this counts as a National Day sale or not. Perhaps they decided they could have a sale but it would be best not to mention the holiday directly. War and all that.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

A National Day Moon and Soccer Show in Zhongshan

The last post of September included a photo of the moon. I happened to have a good view of the moon today, so I will start October in a similar fashion.

moon above Zhongshan


The clear view of the billowing clouds also caught my eye.

Today is National Day in China and the beginning of a long holiday period. Once again, I find myself spending the holiday in Zhongshan – a city bordered by Foshan, Guangzhou, Jiangmen, and Zhuhai in Guangdong province. Two years ago, I shared photos of people in Zhongshan spending National Day with patriotic flags and without flags. I didn't arrive in Zhongshan until the late afternoon today, so I won't be doing the same this time. Instead, here is a photo from tonight of the west end of the Sun Wen West Road Pedestrian Street:


West end of the Sun Wen West Road pedestrian street in the evening


And yes, already things nearby were getting wild and crazy as usual.

two young men wearing wigs doing a soccer show in Zhongshan


little boy participating in a soccer show


I assume those are wigs. And that's all for today.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Reflection, Sweetness, and Rest in Foshan

Charming Bridge (韵桥) at Liang Garden (梁园)
Charming Bridge (韵桥) at Liang Garden (梁园)


Durian and black glutinous rice with frozen coconut milk (榴莲忘返)
Durian and black glutinous rice with frozen coconut milk (榴莲忘返)


man sleeping on a stone bench at Zhongshan Park in Foshan
Zhongshan Park


And to those who will be celebrating a new year, Shanah Tovah.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

A Bit of Bengbu on the Fourth of July

Two days ago in Bengbu, a city in China's Anhui province, I spent the evening trying to celebrate the Fourth of July. Like a big part of my reasoning for choosing to visit Bengbu — appreciating the sound of its name — I saw it as a way to mix things up and learn things I may not have otherwise learned about China. I don't have as much of a story to tell about the night as I did a few years ago for a Fourth of July in Hengyang, Hunan. And while I did find much of interest, it would make more sense to share most of it in other contexts. Still, I have a bit of story . . .

The night started more fittingly than I could have ever reasonably expected. Seconds after heading out, I saw a Stars & Stripes themed motor scooter driving off.

American flag themed motor scooter in Bengbu


While I have seen scooters with an American flag design in China on occasion before, including one other in Bengbu, the timing here was wonderful. This really happened.

Later in the evening, I saw a scooter with a design seemingly inspired by a country who played a large role in making the Fourth of July happen.

British flag themed motor scooter in Bengbu


I see these British-looking designs on motor scooter far more often, so this was less of surprise.

After several nighttime snacks including two local items and one Big Mac, I stopped by a small convenience store to buy a celebratory drink. A Bengbu brand of baijiu struck me as a grand idea, and I jokingly asked a young girl who was eager to help whether she liked it or not. With body language playfully suggesting she wasn't exactly telling the truth, she said she did. Her mother (I presume) and I laughed. Good enough.

girl holding bottle of 皖酒王


So for 15 yuan (about U.S. $2.20) I bought a bottle of Bengbu Baijiu — not its name based on the Chinese (皖酒王), which more emphasizes its Anhui roots, but I like how it rolls of the tongue.

During a discussion with the taxi driver as I headed back to my hotel, I wasn't surprised to learn she didn't know July 4 had any significance in the U.S. But I was a bit surprised when she said she liked drinking this brand of baijiu. And I gotta say, as far a cheap baijiu goes I found it to be pretty decent. I didn't finish it though. I had more explorations planned for the Fifth of July.