Thursday, February 6, 2014

Celebrating Chinese New Year in London

Actual date of this event: 2 Februar

(the actual 2014 Lunar New Year was on January 31)

Beginning Note: I learned during sorority rush in college that when making comments about things, you should always start with a positive and end with a positive and anything in between is fair game. 

I had this grand plan earlier in the week for Luke and I to check out the festivities in London for Chinese New Year. We had never celebrated a Chinese New Year before, and since we are in London and trying to keep with our theme of "using our weekends more wisely", it was a terrific idea for us to go. Not! Oooops, that is a negative. Let me take that back to start with a positive... it was a beautiful day!!! But we should not have gone to "celebrate" Chinese New Year. Note: The main purpose of this blog post is to remind myself to not go next year.
I knew it would be crowded, but it was so much worse than I expected. It reminded me of New Orleans Mardi Gras on Bourbon Street except there were way more kids and strollers, less drunk people, and we were dodging poppers thrown at our feet (the firecracker things kids throw on the ground and pop) rather than us dodging beads being throw at our heads (maybe soon I will tell you about my NOLA Mardi Gras experiences). Note: I do recommend checking out New Orleans Mardi Gras on Bourbon Street IF AND ONLY IF you are able to get on a balcony.
We started at Trafalgar Square and had just missed the Lion and Dragon Dance which probably would have made our outing a little more worth it (here is last year's lion dance, I couldn't find a decent video of this year's). BUT we missed it, so we can't do anything about that now. We weaved our way up the stairs toward the National Gallery to see what all was going on in the square. There were some stalls lined up along the sides of the square, but I wanted food.... like dumplings or something Chinese.

People lined the walls to get a good view of the main stage, but it was impossible for us to get a good view except for on the stairs, so we headed back down to the bottom. We actually had a spot in a pretty open area in Trafalgar Square for a few minutes, but we really weren't interested in the performances on the stage at that time (perhaps it was the super cheesy British announcer guy??), so we decided to wander to China Town. We had no idea what we were getting into at that point.
For whatever reason, the city had blocked off most of the streets as exits only, so we had to pass by two exits before entering China Town. Not a soul was coming out of those exits at that time... we should have known to stay away after seeing that.
After finding an entrance and getting closer to the main drag of China Town (Gerrard Street), we saw super long lines at all of the restaurants. Makes sense, yeah? I've seen that before on Cinco de Mayo for Mexican Restaurants. We tried to walk down the main street, but it was absolutely impossible! A group of police officers formed a barricade and were not allowing a single person to go down the street. They were only allowing people out.
It was also impossible for us to get pictures of anything other than the decorations that were strung between buildings and the tops of people's heads.
The act of celebrating the Lunar New Year was just not happening for Luke and me at all. Luke was so irritated that he came along, "Sundays are supposed to be relaxing, and this is NOT relaxing!"
I was determined to get something to eat though! I'm telling y'all, even if it wasn't crowded, there was very little for us to enjoy. It was a free event, so I really shouldn't be so negative (I am really trying to stay positive here). Anyway, I finally found a stall that was selling food and got a Pork Pocket. Thankfully, it was yummy, but it ended up squirting pork juice all over my freshly washed scarf. Hah... first world problems.
We were very much done with the experience after an hour or so. We tried to meet up with a few people, but cellular service was spotty. We found out that evening that they only stayed for 15 minutes, haha, but they also had four kids in tow. Yikes! We don't usually like to use the words "checked that off the list", but been there done that not doing it again. Oh, and one last thing, yippee for getting to wear our sunglasses!

The first rehearsal of Led Zeppelin took place on Gerrard Street in London's China Town in 1968, although at that time it was not a China Town.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...