Sanya New Year

We wanted to call on Winston and his staff; they had been so gracious and generous with us that we brought them gifts from America.  We had dinner plans to meet Winston and his wife Lulu and their staff at a restaurant in Sanya.  We took the bus – this time from Yalong Bay to Sanya instead of the other way around – arriving a few hours early so that we could stroll around Sanya and do some shopping.  The bus was filled to standing room only with tourists who had made the day trip from Sanya and were now “wiped out” from the sun and a long day at the beach.  I saw a lot of rosy cheeks and sunburned noses on these Chinese tourists…

Once we were in Sanya I noticed a “buzz” about the town not unlike the few days before Christmas in America; the children were out of school and playing, the restaurants were crowded and busy, fireworks were going off constantly with a steady crackle of strings of firecrackers and the occasional booms of cherry bombs and mortars, adults scrambled about from store to store picking up items for the great holiday that was fast approaching…

There was an acrid smell of sulphur in the air and everywhere we saw firecrackers, ground flowers, smoke bombs and firework snakes as children (some with parental supervision and some without) lived in the world of gunpowder and flame.  Seeing this Chinese family reminded me so much of my childhood on the 4th of July: as children, we were allowed sparklers, ground flowers, piccolo petes, snakes and smoke bombs.  But the rest of the fireworks, the “big stuff” was reserved for the adults.  By the time I came to maturity, California had banned most fireworks leaving only the big shows at the local schools and parks.  Not only are fireworks allowed in China, you can buy military grade mortar bombs that are strong enough to knock down a building!  Yes, I was like a kid in a candy store and anticipating the days that were to come…

Every store was displaying all sorts of New Years decorations.  These decorations are always in red with yellow characters on them.  As the days approaching the New Year grew closer, we saw more and more red decorations everywhere we went.

Just as in America, the salons were full as men and women alike had their hair cut.  Chinese New Year is a chance to visit relatives, some that may not have been seen since the year previous or even longer – a great excuse to get “done up” to look your best to see the family.

Just before dinner time, the crowds on the streets started to thin out as groceries and gifts were taken home.  This exact spot would be shoulder to shoulder with traffic by 9pm as everyone returned to dine and have beers and cocktails with friends.  I really like this spirit of “party” leading up to the New Year, for a solid week it seems that everyone goes into “vacation” mode with fine dining, visiting with family, fireworks and cold beer.  I was really settling in and looking forward to the crescendo of the week.


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