Chinese New Year was one big food orgy.
With the weekend attached, we had five days off and I spent four of them just sitting at home and eating. In case you don’t understand CNY, think Christmas. Imagine having a Christmas dinner for four days in a row. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner all merged into one big continuous meal, with splurges on sweets in between. You can’t even say “You’resogonnaturnintoafattie” fast enough in the little bits of time I wasn’t actually eating something.
At one point, I was frying nin-gou in the kitchen (a traditional CNY treat: a sweet red chewy pudding that is dipped in eggs and pan-fried with a bit of oil – fat enough yet?). Plan was to make a whole plateful and then take it out so everyone can have some together. When I almost had one plate made, mum walked in and promptly ate half of it. Since mum did it, I ate the rest of the plate too. Now we have an empty plate. So I stood by the stove and made some more. Mum kept eating them and I just kept putting them in my mouth as fast as they came off the pan. I was stuffed just standing there in the kitchen. Didn’t hurt that it was the warmest part of the house too!
On the last day of the holiday, my friends and I revived a “tradition” we started last year – we go hiking. (How many times does something have to be done to become tradition?) We went up some hills in Lantau, the largest island in HK, where it was 3°C and was continuously howling with wind and pelting down with rain. It almost seemed like we were compelled to punish ourselves after four days of gluttony. It was kind of fun to being with, because we’ve only ever hiked when it’s sunny and dry, so the experience was unique to say the least. The mountains were cloaked in rain and fog and we couldn’t see where we were going to or where we’ve come from.
As usual, the hike started off with lots of chit-chat and energy, but as our trousers got soaked and people discovered that their shoes and jackets aren’t that waterproof afterall, there was a long stretch where we were just walking with our heads down against the wind, cold hands in our pockets, and just plain gritting through it. I was grateful for the wet-weather gear I’d accumulated in the UK, but my cold fingers did me in. Two of us were really thinking “This is fucking miserable!” but we didn’t say it. Because if you don’t say it, then it’s not real. (Yes, desperate times call for desperate forms of logic.) The whole thing really just lasted 3.5 to 4 hours but it seemed like 6 hours at least. There was no shelter at all. No tree to sit under to escape the rain for a bit. There were these eerie little huts along the way, but none except for one of them had anything we could hide under. I found this, the only reprieve we had from the rain, and we took turns standing underneath it.
It was so cold I didn’t eat anything at all lest I risk freezing my fingers off digging around in my pack for food. Otherwise, it was different and fun and once the rain stopped and the end was in sight, the usual chit-chat came back and we were energised thinking about where we should go to for tea. :) With the worst over, everyone agreed that it wasn’t actually so bad. I think we liked the craziness of it and being able to go to work the next morning and brag to everyone that “we went hiking in Lantau where it was 3°C!” (See, I’m doing it right now.) Next time, everyone will get proper gear, and we’ll tackle the cold again!
Happy Chinese New Year everyone. Hope you had a lovely holiday.