Saturday, September 24, 2005
Mooncakes, Cows and DVD's
I was falling behind so here is a big post...
Mid Autumn FestivalThe weekend of September 17th was Hong Kong's Mid Autumn Festival. This holiday is celebrated between the 14th and 16th day of the 8th lunar moon. The festival was also marking the day when the moon is at it's brightest. We have found that the date of their holidays are based on lunar moons as opposed to actual dates or days of the month.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is a celebration of the 14th century uprising against the Mongols. During that time, the rebels wrote the call to revolt and hid them in small cakes which they then passed on. Today the holiday is celebrated with these horrible tasting Mooncakes that are exchanged among friends and family members.We had seen these Mooncakes sold everywhere so we decided to try one. While we were at the airport waiting for our plane to Xi'an we bought one. Let me tell you it was gross. We have found the Chinese idea of dessert is completely different from ours. They use a lot of ill-flavored custards, red beans in ice cream shakes and just plane nasty stuff (at least to us - but Chinese seem to like it). This Mooncake was no different as you can see from the expression on my face
The holiday is also celebrated with bright colored laterns which come in all shapes and sizes, including Buzz Lightyear and Power Rangers. We heard conflicting stories about the role of the laterns, but evidently, during the revolt, the laterns were used to signal each other. Not quite sure what a Power Ranger has to do with a 14th century uprising, but whatever! Several parks around Hong Kong were a place to gather to watch fireworks, fire dragon dances and to watch hundreds of kids with their laterns.
We chose to go to Shek O beach with our friends Chris and Stephanie. After dinner, we headed to the beach which had an awesome view of the full moon rising over a nearby cliff. There were a ton of people here, BB-Qing, swimming and playing weird Chinese games. Near us was a group of high school kids that must have been playing Truth or Dare. Every so often two girls would run over to us, tell Chris and Troy that they loved them and then run off giggling. Troy, being the gentlemen he is, returned the favor by running over to them and telling them the same thing. Sometimes he can be so embaressing :)
Tap MunMonday was a holiday and Troy decided to take the day off for a change. We headed to Tap Mun Island which I have talked about in past blogs. It was an absolutely gorgeous day with a clear blue sky. We actually were surprised the sky was so blue, because in the near distance, we could see the shoreline of mainland China. Troy thought about mooning them, but we decided that there was probably someone over there with high powered binoculars that would not have liked seeing Troy's white ass. We found a spot in the shade where we had a picnic and could see kids in the distance flying their kites while we a had phenonmenal view of the South China Sea right in front of us.
After we hung out for about 2 hours, we continued walking around the rest of the island. We kept coming across cow patties and wondered where all these cows were. As we approached a small graveyard, we saw about 7 cows, tromping around the graves while pooping all over them. That just isn't very nice.
ShenzenThis past Saturday we went up to Shenzhen. If you take the train up through Kowloon into New Territories, you soon come to the border of mainland China with Shenzhen being the first city you enter after you cross the border. Shenzhen is a very popular shopping place for expat women. As soon as you pass China immigration, there is a huge mall where you can buy fake anything! Once you get past the young girls saying "Missy, Missy, Missy, you buy watch, you buy purse, you buy DVD" you can shop to your hearts content for anything from Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Prada, Gucci purses, Rolex watches, Callaway golf clubs, Christian Dior and Tiffany jewelry. Then on top of this are endless stores selling shoes, watches, clothes, stereo and electronic equipment.
You can also buy illegeal copies of current DVD movies. This was one of the things we were after Saturday. Our friend Stephanie said to go to stall 21 and ask for Betty. At stall 21 were purses and watches. We thought we had the wrong place so we kept looking for another stall 21. When we realize we're not seeing DVD shops, we returned and asked for Betty. A girl quickly left and shortly returned with Betty who we followed to her stereo and electronic shop. She told us to sit then SLAM, SLAM, SLAM!!! The security doors that close the store at night come crashing down so no one can see inside the store. I had heard this would happened so was more amused then worried. Betty quickly set up a ladder, a guy ran up it, moved aside a ceiling tile then started handing down books of DVD's covers. As we flipped through the book and chose DVD's, Betty would radio up to the guy in the ceiling and he would pull out what we wanted. It was all very entertaining. We ended up buying a complete season of 2 TV shows (9 DVD's each) plus 16 movies for about $38 USD. Don't get all righteous on us and tell us we shouldn't buy fake DVD's and merchandise because it's illegeal and we're stealing from the movie studio's and industries, blah, blah, blah. It's basically a part of the Chinese culture and we have to partake in it!
Another thing to do in Shenzhen is to get clothes custom made. There is an area that is nothing but bolts of fabric. It is huge and overwhelming. We can get Troy custom fitted dress shirts for about $15 each (including material and tailoring). I can get suede jackets made for about $30 and custom fitted pants for $20. This is very addictive because the tailor has so many catalogs to choose clothing styles from and then you have thousands and thousands of different types of fabric to choose from.
If we keep going up there, we will be stylin' when we get home!