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Old 01-25-2012, 05:15 PM   #286
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OT - Chinese New Year - The Lion's Dance


Chinese New Year day....and more running around. This time, I'd been given a tip that there was troupe of Lion Dancers heading to a Chinese grocery shop in the 'burbs.







I'd gotten lucky! There were going to be TWO lions dancing.






The Lion Dance is performed to ward off evil spirits. In return, the lion is provided payment in the form of a red packet or 'ang pow', wrapped up in green vegetable 'choy cheng' as an expression of gratitude.







The Lion heads into the shop to dance and scare away the bad spirits.










They seem to especially dance around where the cash registers are.






And then they head outside the shop to get their 'payment'.






I hadn't realised it when I pitched up, but this particular dance was more elaborate than most I had seen. I had seen them set up the lettuce with the red packet and that was the normal payment for a dance troupe. The owners of this store decided they wanted to provide extra. So, there was an additional payment attached to a watermelon....







....which meant more fancy footwork!









Tradition has it that the lion is supposed to break up the 'greens', carry it in its mouth and 'spit' it back in the shop to bring more good luck.









I stayed clear of the spitting bit.



Then it was time for the more traditional payment acrobatics!





As a child growing up in Asia, I had seen lion dances where the troupe had to reach up 4-men high. In Australia, I've seen 3; but 2 high is much more common (and expected).





They get their payment...which might take a while, so the guy at the bottom has to be rock steady!






And then we were treated to the lettuce in the mouth.....both lions got in the act!





I stayed clear of the spitting again....but this time, some of the customers came running out complaining about being hit by the debris.


The lions bow at the end...







...and then the Asian fireworks are lit.....LOUD!












Lots of Debris and smoke. I ended up being covered in the red paper!





Remind me to bring some earplugs into the city this weekend and to stay up-wind!



(Continued in Next Post)
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Old 01-25-2012, 05:31 PM   #287
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OT - Chinese New Year - First Night Dinner



On the first night of Chinese New Year, family and friends will gather together to have a big dinner. I remember lots of open houses and lots of food as a child....but in Australia, we all just congregate at my mum's.

I am normally responsible for organising the starter - a special New Year's dish that we only have at this time of year. The dish is called Yuu Sang, which literally translates to Raw Fish. It is a salad of fresh vegetables, Chinese pickled items and raw salmon; topped by a plum dressing.





When we are ready to eat, everyone grabs a chopstick and cries out "Lo Hei" and tosses the salad....effectively, the Prosperity Toss.





The word "fish" or "yuu" in cantonese/chinese with a slightly different intonation can mean abundance. So, this prosperity toss is to signify and increase in abundance for the new year.



On the warm Chinese New Year night, the salad was a great starter.






We had a lot of the standard curries that my parents like to cook whenever the family gets together...


















...but there was one other dish on offer that is also considered 'special new year' fare (it is also eaten at birthdays). The Long Life Noodles, which (naturally) signifies long life to the person(s) eating them. The noodles are left as long as possible. We had them with Lobster or Crayfish, symbolising the dragon year.







We also had dessert on this night. The one that I took pictures of was the Eton Mess. We assembled it after dinner.
















We also had Sago Pudding on the table as well.







All in all, a pretty satisfying meal and another fun family celebration!


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Old 01-25-2012, 06:05 PM   #288
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Hey ehsmum! We miss each other by a day or so. I'll be leaving around the 11th April. I assuming you're coinciding with WA hols? I had to work around the Vic holidays.

Your list and my list are very similar. I have a few more markets on my list....Fish, Jade, Ladies etc.


Have you worked out accommodation yet? Where are you considering staying?
Your TRs/PTRs make me hungry!

Yes, we are going in the school holidays. My daughter is starting high school on Monday so we decided not to travel during school time this year so that she doesn't miss anything. We are heading to Singapore on 6th April (Good Friday) for a week, then a week in Hong Kong, then back to Singapore for a few days.

The trip was originally just to Singapore to visit friends but my DH loves Hong Kong and you know I love Disney, so I suggested that if we were going to be in Asia anyway, why not visit HK too. He was totally onboard . I'm so glad that he doesn't object to me Disneyfying our holidays! We're flying SQ which means the return flight is via Singapore, so we thought why not stay another few nights and visit with our friends some more? We might even drive up to Malaysia for a quick look around on the return leg.

So Singapore is sorted as we'll be staying with our friends there but HK is another matter. I've been advised to stay in Kowloon rather then HK Island but I'm struggling to find anywhere that suits our family size and budget. Of course I didn't know that April is peak season in HK until after I'd booked the flights . I was hoping to book the YMCA http://www.ymcahk.org.hk/sales/html/hst001e.htm as it's been highly recommended by friends, but it's not available. What I really need is for these school holidays to be over so that I can get these kids out of my hair and dedicate some time to researching and hopefully booking this thing! As an ex-TA I always book our trips myself but I'm thinking that I might have to admit defeat this time and use a TA to get us some accomm.

I was going to book the Hollywood Hotel for our 2 nights at Disney but I'm leaning towards The Disneyland Hotel now as all reports are that it's spectacular and worth the extra money. I want to do breakfast at The Enchanted Garden, dinner at Chef Mickeys and the Disney Dim Sum, not sure how we are going to fit it all in to our 1.5 days.

So yes, I've still got a lot of planning to do! Hopefully I'll have at least the accomm sorted out by next week
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Old 01-26-2012, 05:57 AM   #289
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I looked at the Salisbury/YMCA when I was considering hotel accommodations. I wasn't sure and it didn't make my original list of hotels. Glad to hear that it came with high recommendations.

I hope you get your accommodation sorted out. If I recall, shushh did post something somewhere back in the PTR about where she stayed. I don't think it was in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui, though.

If your budget stretches a little more, I'd go with the Disneyland Resort Hotel. Afterall, it looks like the Grand Floridian and how often would you have the opportunity to go stay there?
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Old 01-26-2012, 06:46 AM   #290
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shush recommended The Cosmo which is on my shortlist at the moment.actually its the only thing on my shortlist :lol:. Its a little more expensive then i wanted and not in Kowloon but i don't really have a lot of options. i spoke to a TA friend today and she said its about the only option. Ill keep looking though.
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Old 01-26-2012, 05:54 PM   #291
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The food looks wonderful, and so interesting about the lion dance. I would have steered clear of the spitting too!
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Old 01-26-2012, 10:12 PM   #292
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I am a terrible follower. I started reading but never subbed and got obviously lost over Christmas. I am still catching up.

I'm glad to see you have your Disneyland part sorted. I also enjoyed reading about your mini-break. Looked like a lot of fun despite the heat.

Looking forward to catching up on the rest.... BTW I'm subbed in so I don't miss a thing now.
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Old 01-27-2012, 06:16 PM   #293
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Subbing....loving the pictures!


I'm hoping to add a quick stop at HK DL while we are on our heritage trip in July. I'm in the very early stages, but super exciting at the possibility. We have been to HK a few times now, so I don't feel guilty just going for DL.
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Old 01-29-2012, 04:02 AM   #294
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ehsmum View Post
shush recommended The Cosmo which is on my shortlist at the moment.actually its the only thing on my shortlist :lol:. Its a little more expensive then i wanted and not in Kowloon but i don't really have a lot of options. i spoke to a TA friend today and she said its about the only option. Ill keep looking though.
School goes back this coming week in Victoria. I expect its the same in WA?

Have you looked at one of the Chi Residencies? I sent them an email and they seemed rather helpful.


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The food looks wonderful, and so interesting about the lion dance. I would have steered clear of the spitting too!
I wish I had thought it through more carefully....there's a category on this year's photo scavenger hunt called "Spitting Image". I'm kinda kicking myself for NOT taking a picture!!!


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I am a terrible follower. I started reading but never subbed and got obviously lost over Christmas. I am still catching up.

I'm glad to see you have your Disneyland part sorted. I also enjoyed reading about your mini-break. Looked like a lot of fun despite the heat.

Looking forward to catching up on the rest.... BTW I'm subbed in so I don't miss a thing now.
It's been a busy Christmas and New Year all round, so I don't blame you for getting lost. You're back here now.

BTW - I lurked onto your blog to check out what you did in HK.



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Subbing....loving the pictures!


I'm hoping to add a quick stop at HK DL while we are on our heritage trip in July. I'm in the very early stages, but super exciting at the possibility. We have been to HK a few times now, so I don't feel guilty just going for DL.

Hello! Welcome to my PTR and thanks for subbing in.

Is your quick stop in HKDL on the way to a heritage trip in China or somewhere else?
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Old 01-29-2012, 03:36 PM   #295
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Two of my childen were adopted from China. We are going with our adoption travel group on a 12 day trip to mainland China. I am going to follow up with a couple of days in Hong Kong to catch our return flight.
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Old 01-29-2012, 05:20 PM   #296
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Two of my childen were adopted from China. We are going with our adoption travel group on a 12 day trip to mainland China. I am going to follow up with a couple of days in Hong Kong to catch our return flight.
I'm another adoptive parent who is quite interested in following this trip report since my family will be heading to Hong Kong Disney late this summer at the tail end of our 3 week homeland tour to China. Like the poster quoted above my husband and I have two daughters who were adopted from China (10 and almost 8 years ago by the time we travel). We felt that having a couple days at Hong Kong Disney after the orphanage visits might be a good plan for our girls since I'm not sure how they will react seeing their first homes again--and we know that they love Disney.

I can't wait to read all about your visit to Hong Kong (especially the Disney part). I'm not sure how much energy we'll have to tour Hong Kong by that point of our travels, but I'm hoping we'll be able to see a few things there besides Disney, so I'll be watching your trip report for ideas.

Catherine
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:31 PM   #297
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I would steer clear of the spitting also. I think might have gaged. Its quite interesting. The food looks so good. Thanks for sharing,not easy when its hot outside.
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:34 PM   #298
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Two of my childen were adopted from China. We are going with our adoption travel group on a 12 day trip to mainland China. I am going to follow up with a couple of days in Hong Kong to catch our return flight.
How lovely for you and the family to go back to China.


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I'm another adoptive parent who is quite interested in following this trip report since my family will be heading to Hong Kong Disney late this summer at the tail end of our 3 week homeland tour to China. Like the poster quoted above my husband and I have two daughters who were adopted from China (10 and almost 8 years ago by the time we travel). We felt that having a couple days at Hong Kong Disney after the orphanage visits might be a good plan for our girls since I'm not sure how they will react seeing their first homes again--and we know that they love Disney.

I can't wait to read all about your visit to Hong Kong (especially the Disney part). I'm not sure how much energy we'll have to tour Hong Kong by that point of our travels, but I'm hoping we'll be able to see a few things there besides Disney, so I'll be watching your trip report for ideas.

Catherine
Thanks for following and welcome to the PTR/TR. I hope that I'll be able to share some of what we do in Hong Kong and I sure hope it helps with your plans.
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:36 PM   #299
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OT – Chinese New Year Melbourne Chinatown Celebrations


Every year, Melbourne Chinatown hosts Chinese New Year on the Sunday after the first day of the New Year. As luck had it, CNY fell on a Monday this year…so that meant that the festivities in Chinatown had to wait a whole 6 days!

Melbourne’s Chinatown runs along Little Bourke Street, from Spring Street down to Swanston Street. For those of you that don’t know Melbourne, that’s about 4 major city blocks.

3 blocks up this way (all the way to the top)…




…and about 1 block in this direction.




We’d just arrived when I noticed that there were a bunch of people around wheeling chairs and other equipment. They advised that the various lion dance associations would be dancing at this street corner in about 30 minutes. So for me, it became a question of where to stand. The intersection was already in full sun…and with the temperatures already in the high 80’s, I figured we needed to find somewhere else to go. Anyone else thinking what I’m thinking?





Yup. We ended up in the parking lot with this position and view.






At the allocation time, this is what showed up!!!! And it was just as well we made the decision to keep out of the sun. From when we got to our spot to when the dances all finished, it was well over 90 minutes.




Traditionally, there are 3 types of lions – the golden, representing liveliness; the red, representing courage; and the green, representing friendship. The white colour lion is used more as the funeral lion.






There are traditional beats played that dictate the dance and style of movements made by the dragons.





It all seems like hard work to me. Particularly where the dances get into the acrobatics and have to stand tall!









It was left to the golden lion to roll out the ‘red carpet’…






…and release the oranges, ‘kum’ in Cantonese, which has the same intonation as gold.






I didn’t catch the dragon last week, so I was delighted to see one in action here today.





The Dragon Dance on New Year’s Day is said to scare away the evil spirits and all the bad luck with them. The longer the dragon, the more good luck it brings.





The Dragon follows a man carrying a ball on a stick, known as the "Pearl of Wisdom". It is said that the Dragon chasing this "pearl of wisdom" represents the Dragon's way to pursue insight and knowledge. During Chinese New Year, sometimes it is a red or yellow globe, which is supposed to be the sun as the festival celebrates the spring rains and the sun for a good harvest. Given how hot the day turned out, I guess it certainly fulfilled its promise.






I did wonder about whether the Dragon ever got tangled or if the dancers tripped at all…





…maybe it’s a case of biting yourself in the bahookie. Near enough is close enough!






(Continued in Next Post)
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:43 PM   #300
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(Continued from Previous Post)


I’d been well satisfied with the lion and dragon dances and we’d been watching the ceremonies for close on an hour how. DH and DS were starting to make noises about going. Afterall, the next group of dances that came out didn’t exactly grab any of us.






I figured I’d just get a snap or two in and then pack up and leave…. Pretty in pink really isn’t my thing.






I delayed a little bit as one of the dances started with the ribbons…





And then I realized that this was going to be one of those rabbit out of the hat tricks…..





….or more the point….Dragon out of the Lotus flowers!







Sure glad I stayed in my spot to grab these shots!











This time, it really was the end of the ceremonies.





5 sets of double stringed firecrackers went off. It was bad enough with one set….these just went off and you could feel the noise resonance hit you in the chest.





One final bow.






By this stage, there were HEAPS of people around…and this is the cross street; not Little Bourke Street.





We wandered around a little bit more. Temperatures were well into the 90’s by this stage, humidity was high, and with all those bodies around, I think we all decided it was time to make a move.

I tried to check out the food…but really….I could hardly get to the front at all.


I had promised someone a shot of Dragon meat or Long Yoke. This is a kind of Jerky, but what I would call the equivalent of Chinese Bacon as it isn’t dry or chewy like Jerky is. It is made from pork mince, 5-spice powder, various Chinese sauces and sugar. After you press or roll it out into a thin sheet, you then bake it until cooked and then grill it before serving/selling.





It was at this point that I realized that the Big Dragon, Dai Loong, was awakening. This current Dai Loong in Melbourne was commissioned in 2003 and is named the Millenium Dragon. It is the largest processional dragon in the world and the head weighs 200 kg.


Naturally, we stayed!


















And if there are any Melbournians reading this, you may have noticed that the man in the white shirt with the red tie is indeed Premier Ted Ballieu.




















I hope you enjoyed sharing in my Chinese New Year celebrations.






ps. It has been a busy week this week in Melbourne. I have pictures from Australia Day, which was on Thursday 26th Jan. I’ll get round to posting these at some stage as well.
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