Hello Uncle Foreigner

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Feb 16, 2012

Chinese New Year: The last night

More and more and more fireworks

Last Tuesday was the last day of Chinese New Year. Now, there had been fireworks every night for the entire two weeks, but the last night display was something. We joined the throngs down at the river to catch the show.

After the official fireworks, people started shooting off their own:

Feb 6, 2012

A night of dancing by the river

Chatting with the locals

The weather’s been lovely this past week — it’s getting warmer, there’s less rain — so the other night we grabbed some beers after dinner and went down to the river. (Don’t worry, there are no open container laws here!)

There were tons of people out for a postprandial stroll, of course. But they were also just hanging out … and dancing! In the video above, you can see our older gentlemen bench neighbors who struck up a conversation with us. What you maybe can’t tell is that neither party speaks ten words of the others’ language. (OK, I can speak almost 10 non-number words of Chinese. [Brag No. 1.])

We have a lot of conversations here that are just like those scenes in “Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai” where the English-speaking Ghost Dog talks to the French-speaking Haitian ice cream truck man; somehow it’s meaningful to talk, even if you can’t be sure of being understood.

Anyway, I did understand that they thought I should dance. So I danced, even though I didn’t know the steps. I did pretty well for myself (Brag No. 2.), watch and see.

There are a few more videos at this link.

Feb 3, 2012

Dinner at sticks, now with video

It will definitely get loud

Pretend you’re there with us and enjoy:

Dinner at Sticks from Uncle Foreigner on Vimeo.

Feb 2, 2012

Happy New Year: Karaoke time!

Let’s sing

Karaoke on New Year
More karaoke pictures here.

The night after they first invited me to celebrate the holiday with their family, Wendy and Xi Xi invited me again to their clan’s continuing New Year’s party. (Peter, again, was still recovering from his cold.)

After another great feast, we all went out for karaoke. It took some doing to find an open room; this is apparently what all families were doing that night. But eventually, after many phone calls and some driving around, we found an open spot. In addition to the singing, there was also a lot of dancing. You can see me, in the video below, dancing with Xi Xi’s uncle, the evening’s host. You can also hear some of the karaoke-ing going on. Make sure your volume’s not too high.

Karaoke New Year’s from Uncle Foreigner on Vimeo.

Jan 31, 2012

Spring is just around the corner

Even though it’s very cold

We’re smack in the middle of Chinese New Year — aka, Spring Festival — and while most people have returned to work, there’s still a party atmosphere in the city (and a ton of firecrackers). Today, also, was the first sunny day in a while. And, the weather is starting to get warmer.

All of this added up to: “Too nice to stay inside.” So we took our camera and got out there.

Accordion

A group of musicians giving an impromptu performance by the river.

on the corner

The chaotic traffic of central Luzhou.

We found a new bar! You can hear people doing karaoke in the background, of course.

Jan 23, 2012

The Nian Will Not Come Tonight

Happy Spring Festival!

01 Xin Nian Hao

(This is not camera noise in the video above. There are so many people setting off stuff that it’s just that loud.)

So, tonight is New Year’s Eve. From what we can gather, the entire holiday is observed for 15 days, but the real heavy lifting is done in the first three days.

We went to the grocery store this afternoon in the mind of buying three days’ worth of food, and we were glad we did. There was almost an end-of-the-world feel, or at least a battening of the hatches.

At about 6 pm, the fireworks started. These were not city-organised; we passed by several stores that had been specially converted for the season to sell crackers and heavier to anyone who wanted. We bought a pack of snappers for the equivalent of 20 cents.

As midnight approached, it got loud. According to wikipedia, the celebration of New Year’s started with frightening off a beast called the Nian with loud noise and the color red. I think we achieved our mission this year.

02 Xin Nian Hao

Jan 18, 2012

REPOST: Metal Maneki Neko

Bring us money and METAL!

Metal Cat

Since we’ve been here, we’ve had an eye out for a lucky cat for our home. We finally found one last night (in a shop right next to the school). Peter made a few mods so that our lives will be filled with metal, as well as wealth!

ETA: There should be a video above. If you can’t see it, let me know in the comments.