Published: December 9th 2010February 17th 2010
New Year's Eve dinner
at the Drum and Gong, Nanlougouxiang
No sooner had Christmas finished then it's straight into Spring Festival. There were numerous Temple Fairs dotted around Beijing. One that we went to was in Chaoyang Park...it was like Side Show Alley...I thought I was back at The Royal Easter Show. Another was at a Dongyue Temple (the oldest Daoist temple in Beijing) which showcases a range of folk customs and activities and people attend the blessing ceremony and pray for good fortune.
Grrrrr…hear the Tiger Roar! 2.4 billion people move around China visiting family and friends over this week long holiday. Will we stay or will we go that was the question. Everyone said it's a time to leave Beijing...'the constant noise from the fireworks willl drive us crazy' but Adam in his infinite wisdom told us that we should stick around...'everyone should experience at least one New Year's Eve in Beijing' and he was right. We had such a good time and in fact didn't find it that noisy at all. Most of the fireworks were finished before we went to bed and they didn't start again til after we were awake.
A group of us headed for a Chinese feast where we gorged on
delicious Chinese food, ate jaozi (Chinese dumplings a traditional dish to have on the eve), drank beer and the local spirit of baijiu
(buy-joe). With our full bellies we headed towards Salud a local bar for a pit stop and to bide some time. As midnight approached we headed to the courtyard nestled in between the Drum and Bell towers which is where Adam went last year. When we arrived we were surprised to see a total of 6 police cars all parked in the courtyard…the courtyard was doused in silence. Apparently this year it was a no-no, they didn't want one of their national treasures going up in smoke. We followed the crowds, the flashing sparks and bangs from fireworks and headed toward Houhai lake. We found “ground zero” for 2010. There were masses of people everywhere, fireworks everywhere....accidents waiting to happen everywhere....and Malcolm and Adam were in seventh heaven...they were like little boys with their toys.
After 1.5hrs of bang, pop, eeeeeeeeeeeeew, fizzzzzzz, and with your neck doing a crazy 360 making sure you weren't in the line of fireworks and remembering that we are standing around in sub zero temps the more sensible of us retreated to
a coffee shop for hot chocolates followed not too much later by the others. In the wee early hours of the morning we decided it was time to hit the hay despite the fact that fireworks would be 'popping' all night around Beijing giving us little sleep. Trying to catch a cab proved to be next to impossible (almost like a rainy day in Beijing) We had been walking for about 45 mins and were almost home before we were able to hail a cab but nevertheless decided that enough was enough and gratefully accepted Adam's offer of the firs cab. As we made our way home the street sweepers were already in full swing sweeping up the sea of red paper and cardboard debris. The next morning it was if there had been no fireworks at all.
There are more photos below