Decorations are up in London again, this time for Chinese New Year. Although today is the first day of the lunar New Year, the main festivities are scheduled for the weekend.
The next sign is less inviting, with the same “Avoid the Area” message sent out for Christmas events.
If you are in Chinatown this week, what can you see? Lots and lots of red lanterns.
If you want to combine two February festivals, go to the Chinese supermarket selling these bamboo branches with heart decorations for Valentine’s Day.
Lanterns are also hanging at the Chinese Embassy (click here to see an earlier photo) and at the Fo Guang Shan Temple in Fitzrovia.
Welcome to the Year of the Monkey!
I’ve just spent a week in Hong Kong. Some days, when I walked around with my camera, I was the archetypal tourist.
On other days I felt like an expat again. I spent many happy hours with my old friends in Central and Aberdeen, relying on them to find the best foot massage, the best Singaporean laksa and the best Sichuanese garlicky-tofu.
The best thing about expat life must be this lasting benefit, of making friends around the world. People from Singapore, the UK and the Philippines meet in north-east China; and ten years later we are together in Hong Kong, talking happily about our other friends who have scattered across the continents to Norway, Japan, India, Indonesia and the USA.
On the other hand, the best thing about being a tourist is seeing the unexpected, like a dog running a shop in North Point.