Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Kung Hei Fat Choi, OR, We're All Going to Die

Happy year of the pig, everyone!

After our wonderful Saturday adventure to Brighton, we decided to head into Chinatown for the Chinese New Year celebrations.

This was a very bad idea, which several billion other people had also had (see above). The minute we got off the train at Embankment, we hit the biggest crowd I have ever ever seen, and I used to commute through Town Hall station :) London has a fairly small Chinese community and I guess it was pretty cool to see the numbers of non-Chinese out in support of the occasion. I was feeling less cheerful about it at the time, when the sheer volume of human beings effectively deprived me of food, freedom of movement, and at one point, the ability to breathe.

The red lanterns were lovely as always, as were the various cultural displays, including Shao Lin brick smashing and whatnot, and four dragons, which is excellent as I am a sucker for a dragon dance (note: the dragon dancers had a human wall of crowd-shifters around them, which meant they could actually move, unlike us). What was not lovely was that despite rigorous street closures and an attempt to assert a one way human traffic direction along Chinatown, the police had basically created a Mob of Doom in Chinatown itself. It took us about 45 mins to get from one side of the three-block strip to the other, including a five minute argument about whether we should wait in line for 30 minutes for a restaurant table (Grant - affirmative, me - negative). Most of this time was spent being rammed from behind into a solid mass of bodies in front, which typically would be actually trying to do the same thing but in the opposite direction. But now and then a dragon's head would pop up over the crowd, so that was cool, at least.

We had intended to go and visit one of the National Heritage sites afterwards, but were so buggered from crowdwrassling that we just got some food from a street vendor (who was selling Thai/Japanese/Chinese food, by way of really helping the pig-ignorant European tendency to be unable to tell the difference between the cuisines, cultures and indeed faces of those nationalities) and fled home to the relatively deserted streets of Sunday Holland Park/Ladbroke Grove for a pastry and a cuppa tea.

Thesis this week: zip, am trying to catch up on copyright (and failing, I might add, although I did get 20-something case notes written yesterday).
Bicycle km: zip
Steps: might as well be zip. Last week 98K.

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