Sunday 14th, February 2010. At 3
O’clock in the morning when Mum and Sarah were already asleep, Dad called me
and we gathered up the remaining fire works and the two plastic bags full of
gold paper money which we had been making over the last week. We traipsed
downstairs and set up the two big fire works and the three strings of bangers
over the fence. We lit them all with a large incense stick. It felt a bit odd
being out at 3 in the morning doing fireworks. I half expected some angry Nabors
to come out and shout at us but of course there were still fire works being set
off all over the city. We then created a little mound of snow and placed half a
dozen incense sticks up right in the mound. Then we put the paper money in the
plastic bags on top of each other and lit them. The money flamed up and roared
for a moment and then it died down. Dad pulled a peace of card board next to
the fire and knelt down and bowed about 9 times, placing his head on the snow every
time. I didn’t really know why we did this little ceremony. No one told me in
detail but I think it’s to do with burning money for the gods so next year we
will be prosperous. After that we both went up stairs again and tried to sleep.
Fire works were going off all the time so it was very hard to sleep. It was
like a war zone.


The next day I groggily got up at 11ish and
was told that I had to bow to Mum and Dad, I started to kneel down but they
both shock their heads and told me just to bow standing up. I bowed to Mum and
to Dad and then they gave me 2000Yuan (about 200 pounds), which was very nice
indeed. I am pretty sure that is a tradition as well, that older people give
younger people money. Later when we went out for a meal with Mums sister I had
to give my cousin in law some money. When I offered it to him he refused it in
true Chinese fashion. I had a bag in my hand so I gave it to Sarah and ran
after Haohao, controlled him with one hand and jammed the money into his coat
pocket, then I leapt away. It was done I had given the money. It’s good for you
to try and say you will not accept something in china, I suppose it shows that
you are not interested in material goods. Its just polite to be modest.


We went to a very big restaurant and
between 7 people had enough food for double the amount of people. We had two chickens
and a duck, all cooked and crispy with lemon or honey sauce. Also there was a
pail gray deep sea fish which was in vinegar which was so soft it just melted
in my mouth. Then we had fatty strips of pork with little buns to put them in
like hamburgers, also there was a heated hot pot for spicy lamp with potatoes
and vegetables. There were also 6 big shrimps but I didn’t really enjoy them
that much, I was more interested in the hamburgers. There was broccoli, many
different kinds of noodles and more things than I can remember. I was not all
that hungry because I was hellishly tired and also very hung over. I still ate a
lot but everyone at the table seemed a bit wiry. Sarah and Dad had an argument.
Dad wanted to order the set meal for 12 people but Sarah thought this was too
much so they both argued and shouted for a while and then Sarah won and ordered
the dishes she wanted, even though she ordered a lot less than Dad wanted there
was still far too much to eat. We also brought along a bottle of 70% absinth
which I got from duty free when I came back. It was satin juice; Dad, myself
and uncle drank it gingerly, clutching our chests after a swig, as the alcohol
burnt into our innards. It was the first day of spring festival and all the
managers and staff from the restaurant went around all the tables to toast in
the New Year with their customers. Dad offered the two managers some of the
absinth and gave them at least a 3ripple shot of the stuff. They downed it
quickly which surprised me a lot, they looked very surprised as it attacked
there throats and they asked what they had just drunk. They massaged there burning
throats and reeled in pain trying no to show that they were on fire. I found it
very funny indeed. We finished our meal and went home. I spent the rest of the
day in bed. I missed supper and just called home on the internet and then
stayed up and polished off over half of the bottle of absinth on my own while
watching a film. I was in no mood to do my blog yesterday so I am doing it the
day after instead. I went to sleep at 5ish drunk and with my senses fully over
loaded with the last two days events, I closed my eyes and blissfully embraced
the darkness, even though there was not any silence I still fell asleep soon.

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