Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lion Dancing!

Xīn Nián Kuài Lè!

Happy New Year! It's the Year of the Tiger, don'tcha we'd like to also wish everyone "Gōng Xǐ Fā Cái" which means "may you be prosperous." New Year's Day also coincided with Valentine's Day, so we decided to spend the weekend down in the city. New Year's is like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the 4th of July all rolled into one! At the same time, no one really wants to miss an opportunity to make a buck (or a kuai) so most businesses do stay open, giving us a chance to slurp up a Blizzard from Dairy Queen as well as more delicious Chinese food. We caught some terrifically dangerous fireworks, too!

Of course, one of of the nicest things about Chinese New Year is a week off of work! The Hillmans barely survived last week--all but Ava were at death's door with a really nasty cough, cold, and fever. Thank goodness we're healed up enough to enjoy some time off!

First, there was awesome swimming! The pool was underground and dark--with lots of secret places, waterfalls, fountains, and FUN! Definitely one of the best pools we've ever been to.

Then, FOOD! Jiao zi (dumplings) are traditional, but the Golden Tripod serves up fantastic bowls of noodles and these terrific Cantonese shrimp dim sum thingies...which no one but me likes (hooray)!

Then there's the fireworks. The clips don't begin to describe the noise level...the firecrackers made my ears ring for several hours. The other clip gives an indea of the nonstop booming that goes on from about 10:00 until 1:00 am. And it's not only New Year's Eve--it's the days before and after as well! And safety? Forget about it. How about guys waving 7-8 feet of firecrackers over their heads while they're exploding? Or setting off fireworks in narrow alleys between buildings? Or in the middle of the street while cars are driving by?
More to come!

Monday, February 01, 2010

God Bless Minnesota. Or, Stop Changing!

Remember Santa Bear? He used to live at a magical place called Dayton's. Sadly, Dayton's doesn't exist any more. Even more sadly, I couldn't find a Dayton's logo on Google. SIGH. Yes, it "became" Marshall Fields. Not the same. You can sell your Frango mints, you can have your holiday display, but Dayton's is NOT Dayton's unless it's DAYTON'S.

Last week I started searching for plane tickets for our summer travel marathon (it's a big one this year, baby...blink and you'll miss us). I dutifully entered the address for my good old friend, Northwest Airlines. NWA is a good old friend of the sort that is always around, but can really tick you off because they're so rigid sometimes, and they always seem to borrow money from you and you never get it back, and if you want to do something, they want to have it all their way. But you know, they're around, and they've been your friend for so long that even though you may kvetch about them, it's not like you're going to kiss them goodbye or anything. You've got, you know, a history together.

Until today, when I found out they kissed me goodbye. When I entered my trusty address, this is what I found. DELTA? DELTA?! Delta is not my friend. Delta is not Minnesota. Delta is UTAH, for cryin' out loud. The merger was one thing, as long as it was hidden behind the NWA logo. I'm not happy AT ALL about this development. Last week, I could fly from Beijing to Tokyo to Minneapolis. NOW, these DELTA people have decided I should go to ATLANTA. For, oh, I don't know, 3-4 hours. HELLO, DELTA--I'm on the freakin' plane for 13 hours as it is...are you REALLY going to make me sit in ATLANTA just to prolong the fun?

They better not mess with this one, I'll tell you what...