Welcome, Year of the Snake!
I took an early morning stroll through Chinatown, a few days before the start of the new year. (I didn't want to fight the nighttime crowds for my photo ops.) Here is what I found:
The God of Fortune and the Good Luck Cat look down on the streets
The shophouses and stalls are decked out with lanterns, awaiting customers:
I came upon a queue of people...it was too early for tourists...they were patiently waiting for...what?
I asked a man (drinking his Starbucks) what it was all about..."We are waiting to buy our BBQ pork for our Chinese New Year celebrations." I asked if this was the only place to get it; "No, but it is the best!" I later found out that this line of customers would be there every day for at least a week before New Year's, and the stuff costs $50 per kg...and they buy several kgs each...here is the shop:
The main streets are hung with lanterns, this time in the shape of a snake:
Another street has a yellow snake:
A little Muslim girl on an early morning errand and a box collector out on his rounds:
When I came back around to my starting point, the BBQ que was 3 times as long:
They brought their chairs and newspapers and looked ready to settle in for the day! (I hope it was worth it)
Other treats are quite similar. Here is a temporary shop and its special food items:
(yes, those are real fish and dried ducks)
As everywhere, beer advertising gets into the holiday mood. Here is an ad for Chinese Tsingtao beer:
I will leave you with some iconic decorations from my apartment building and local shops: