Chinese New Year is coming up shortly. I have Wednesday-Friday off this coming week from work. To me it appears that Chinese New Year is a bigger holiday than the Muslim Hari Raya after Ramadan. They are both much bigger than Christmas here. I have been watching decorations go up this week around town. At the major intersection just down the street from me, Chinese lanterns have been hung up in a large square around the four streets. I saw it for the very first time last night on the way home and it is very pretty. At the grocery store across the streets there are tons of gifts and cards. They actually have two large temporary walls up surrounding all of the products that are for sale. I know that for Hari Raya there were also gifts and hampers (like gift baskets) but not the volume that there is for Chinese New Year. When I have been in the grocery stores in the last two weeks I am amazed at the volume of oranges and beer. I went to one of the larger grocery stores the week before last, and I had never seen so much beer in a grocery store in my entire life. I think they had more beer here than in the largest grocery store back home for the Super Bowl. In definitely did not fit in the small non-Halal room that they normally have that sort of product in. They had all sorts of beers that I am familiar with the names. On the way to work I have seen houses with tons of lanterns up and garlands of red flowers.
I am renting a room in a Chinese house and they had done a tiny bit of decorating but not to the extent of most of the places I have seen. All the fake flowers now have red tulle ribbons around the vases. One of the taller fake plants has a piece of red tulle at the top standing up. It also has these red and gold fold envelope or card things attached with string hanging down from the leaves. They have some large green melon where what looks like a red hat with a black stem coming out of it. It is surrounded by oranges that each have a red circle of material on them. There is another display of several oranges with a brown candle sitting in on top of them in the middle. They have also been doing some deep cleaning. They clean the house every day, so it is never dirty, but this time they used different chemicals. They didn't clean my room but it still stunk up my room and bathroom. There were two different smells. One was kind of like an incense smell and the other was a horrible chemical smell. The first day when I came home from work I had the windows to my room open for hours but it made no difference. It gave me an awful headache and made me sick to my stomach. The next morning it was just as bad. Luckily I was able to escape for the day. When I got home that evening there was not much difference. The good news was this morning when I woke up the smells had finally dissipated. I noticed today in between rain showers the servants were out scrubbing down the walls. I didn't seen any progress or change, but maybe there was something to it that I couldn't see. I also heard a group of what sounded like young girls singing today for several hours. I don't know if there was a performance somewhere near by or someone was having some sort of party and it was a recording. It was too yucky to go out and investigate. We shall see what the next few days holds.
|The Blossom Restaurant decorated|