Friday, February 4, 2011

Chinese New Year

On Thursday we went to Dong Yue Temple Fair. As part of the New Year Celebration people go to the Temples. While there they can buy incense to light as an offering while they pray. Many vendors come and sell their wares. We bought a large Whirly-ma-jig (our name for it). It has many pinwheels that spin around with the wind. Each pinwheels has a little drum attached with 2 drum sticks for each drum. When the pinwheel spins the drum sticks beat the drum. It's a pinwheel and a noise maker. How fun is that?
For an 'old-time' experience you could grind some grain.
There were dancers, acrobatics, and jugglers performing for the crowds
One night we went to the Sanlitun Village for dinner.
Festive lights are everywhere.
On the Eve before New Years Day Fireworks were the thing to do. Beginning at 7:00 pm and lasting till after midnight fireworks were lunched from almost every corner. Completely amazing. We began by watching the fireworks on the street outside of our apartment. After awhile we moved indoors. The booms, bangs, pops, sizzles and flashes of light made sleep impossible, fortunately we had a great view from our window and enjoyed the evening immensely.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Harbin, China

We signed up for a China Culture Center tour group to Harbin, China. Harbin is in north China bordering Siberia, Russia. The Siberian cold winter winds blow over Harbin causing temperatures to plummet. The temperature during our stay were -15 to -25 or colder. Given the cold, we were thinking that Harbin would be a small town. We were surprised to find Harbin a city of 5 million.

Each Chinese New Year people will buy "money" and burn in in small outdoor fires. The ashes will take the money to the spirit world of their ancestors, allowing the ancestors to buy the things they required for the coming year, or to "bribe" the officials as needed.
A vendor "catching" a fish out of his fish tank.
Apparently, when it comes to fish, the fresher the better.
A side street in Harbin.
We ate lunch at a sea food restaurant. They had live seals and a large turtle tank for visitors to admire. We came during the seal's snack time.
A Warning Sign by the Seal tank.