Monday, January 12, 2015

The Other New Year

Ryan and I are talking about what to do for Chinese New Year, which is in the middle of February this year. Since he came to Hong Kong for Christmas and New Year's Eve, it seems only fair that I go to China for the Chinese New Year. The problem is that it's the busiest time of year for both of us. He will definitely have to work on 農曆除夕, Chinese New Year's Eve. I do not always work New Year's Eve or even New Year's Day, but I always work at least some of the days during the holiday period. Technically, only the first 3 days are legal holidays, but the entire festival lasts about 2 weeks, from 農曆除夕 to 元宵節.

Whenever he comes to Hong Kong, he stays at the new apartment. There is plenty of room for everybody. Whenever I go to Fuzhou, we either stay at a hotel or his house – with his 4 roommates. Naturally, I would rather stay at a hotel. I kind of like privacy. But Chinese New Year is the worst time to stay at a hotel in China. They fill up quickly and are usually far more expensive. I always have to pay the extra foreigner price in China, but during the New Year, everyone pays extra. If we are going to book a room, we have to do it now. It might already be too late.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

New Year Fireworks

Ryan came back to Hong Kong for New Year's Eve. What's impressive about that is that he was just here for Christmas – even if it was only for 2 days – and New Year's Eve is one of his biggest days in China, second only to Chinese New Year.

Ryan's band has been playing in the same club for over 2 years, which is pretty remarkable when you consider that most of the bands there only last about 6 months. When he first left Hong Kong, I thought he wouldn't be able to adjust to living there and he'd be back by the end of the year. Longevity has given him some clout, and now he can take the days off that he wants more than he could before.

He was only in Hong Kong for 4 days, but that's still better than nothing. Combined with the 2 days at Christmas and that's almost a full week. That's pretty good for us. We mostly only see each other 2 or 3 days at a time, once a month.

On New Year's Eve we went with Lily & Kevin for a fancy dinner at the InterContinental on the Promenade. They do a big New Year's Eve dinner every year and you have to reserve a table well in advance. We didn't know if Ryan would be able to make it a few months ago – or even if Lily & I would both get the day off – but we went ahead and booked it for all of us.

One of the reasons the InterContinental is so popular on New Year's Eve is that they have excellent views of Victoria Harbour and, of course, New Year's Eve is one of the harbor's biggest fireworks shows. There are a million places to watch it, but sitting at a table with a drink is a nice change of pace from standing in a crowd of a few million people all spitting on the ground and pushing each other to get the best views.

People who have never been to China sometimes think the spitting is exaggerated, but last year the government had to bring in crews with industrial hoses to wash down the Avenue of Stars. If you go there on New Year's Eve, your shoes are going to get wet – and it's not all spit. The less said about that, the better. Being in a 5 star restaurant at a 5 star hotel alleviates that problem – but you have to pay to stay dry.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Family Christmas

Ryan came to Hong Kong for Christmas and we spent the day with Lily & Kevin at the new apartment. We've had the new apartment for about 8 months now, so it's not really new, but I still think of it as the new apartment.

No one had to work that day – which is unusual since most of us are in the entertainment industry – so we had a traditional Christmas Day at home. We all opened presents, ate too much and spent the day together. The only real difference from this Christmas and what I like to think of as real Christmas is that it was almost 70 degrees outside and we didn't have a Christmas tree. You can buy fake trees in Hong Kong, but there are few things I loathe more than a fake Christmas tree. Where I grew up, we went out and chopped down our own trees for Christmas. They were all natural and you could smell them throughout the house. A fake tree is an insult to Christmas trees everywhere.

Other than that, it was a real Christmas since I got to spend the day with the closest thing I have to family in Hong Kong. All things considered, these are the people I'd rather spend the holidays with. (Or, these are the people with whom I would rather spend the holidays, if you are a book editor).

Ryan had to go back to China on the 26th, which wasn't exactly the end of the world since Lily & I had to go back to work. Christmas/New Year is the busiest time of year for all of us, so just having a day together is pretty good. It doesn't happen every year, so we're all grateful when it does.