The year of the dragon is here! Sorry, no Bruce Lee. Traditionally it's the new years eve night that families have their big meal together. Aiyun's family will have their meal together next week. Aiyun came down to Hangzhou last night so we could ring in the lunar new year together. Thats tonight (February 9th). The 10th is the start of the lunar new year, also called spring festival across much of Asia. Pretty much everyone isn't working next week. However, most people will have to go back to work on Sunday February 18th. It's a bizarre notion, but it's widely accepted. Get a day off for a holiday? You have to work the following Sunday to make up for it.
We started our day watching some sprint cars in Florida. It's the the start of the racing season this weekend. We watched a couple of episodes of a Chinese show on Netflix. Trying to pick out words I recognize is good practice for me. The subtitles in English helps a lot. Actually, it's the short phrases that I can pick out that are helpful and reinforce a bit of language learning for me. Things like "don't want" and "don't have" are the ones that I catch most often. After a quick trip into the city to buy some groceries for breakfast tomorrow we spent an hour hitting golf balls on the soccer field. Aiyun made some serious progress in making contact. Lots of high fives were shared. I'm thinking we might go to the golf course Sunday and she can drive my cart while the caddy rides on the back. Or I'll hang onto the back and they can drive together.
Aiyun picked out a place for dinner next to Xi Hu (Hangzhou's famous lake). She does a great job of reading reviews and finding us great meals.
Duck and spring rolls. I'm a sucker for duck and she knows it.
Shrimp soaked in garlic, onions, and butter. And then there was the rice wine soup. It was really sweet with tiny rice balls. The small bits you see in this are flowers from a fragrant tree. You can't see the rice balls in the soup. Here they are...
We strolled by the lake for a few miles and watched random fireworks across the water. The hill on the far side of the lake was all lit up. I'm not sure this picture does it justice. It was literally glowing.
We returned to my place fairly early and crashed on the couch to watch the "Chunwan" on CCTV1. It's a four hour show from 8pm until midnight that Chinese people watch all over the world to ring in the new lunar year. The first 15 minutes of this show was spectacular. Very cool drums, songs, and dance being coordinated live from cities all over China. After the opening it quickly became obvious that I wasn't going to be able to follow this and asking Aiyun to translate everything wasn't going to work. We settled on the new Wonka film. A great piece of cinema. Highest recommendations.
Fifteen minutes into the movie and I'm falling asleep. I had watched the film last week and was confident Aiyun would enjoy it. We will finish it off today. I needed to sleep. When midnight hit we were blasted with tons of fireworks. Felt like a sudden invasion from a foreign invader.
Chinese tradition involves using "good words" to start the new year. Positivity, praise, and hope are the theme on the first day of the new lunar year. I made sure to send all my Chinese friends a special note this morning.
After breakfast I hit my local golf course with a note making sure Aiyun could ride in the cart. Sure, but they will charge her a full greens fee to ride. Not kidding. They really really don't need business. Only two golf courses in a city of 16 million people. Further, China has a moritorium on building new courses. Ugh.