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Video-sharing app Vine has existed on the social media scene now for several weeks and, though we've already made our feelings on the Twitter-owned newbie well known, we're still giving it a chance. After all, though the "Instagram of video" lacks so much now, there's real potential for the future if Vine gets cracking on some fresh coding.
Anywho, over two trips in the last two weeks we've attempted to find some usefulness in Vine, andget thiswe succeeded. Vine is best deployed for sharing the tiniest moments in travel, those which would be easily lost in the static menagerie of Instagram. Below are six examples, all shot while we tooled around Hong Kong during Chinese New Year last week.
Note: Control each Vine by clicking on it to pause. Also, click the sound square at the top right of each Vine to enable the audio.
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恭禧發財 or Kung Hei Fat Choi! That's us wishing you a prosperous new year in Cantonese, seeing as how we've hightailed it out of the United States just in time to miss the big blizzard and instead fall into another kind of blizzardof red hóngbāo envelopes, the kind filled with money given at the start of the Chinese New Year.
Celebrating Chinese New Year is not so simple as getting drunk and standing in one spot to watch some spectacle, a la Times Square; instead, Hong Kong throws a massive bash that lasts for several days of public holiday and focuses on food, family, fun and travel.
By tradition, there's a whole series of "auspicious" things to be accomplished in order to guarantee a lucky, successful year ahead. Some examples are wearing the colors red and gold, dressing up in traditional Chinese attire, tossing and eating a Yusheng Salad, and decorating with tangerines and plum blossom flowers.
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You've done the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Holi in India, Oktoberfest in Munich and maybe even New Year's in NYC's Times Square. No matter what major world events you've crossed off your bucket list, there better be an entry for Chinese New Year in Asia. It's next SundayFebruary 10and if you can jet away for a long weekend on the other side of the world to celebrate the start of the year of the Snake, there's still plenty airplane seats.
Just to sample the goods, we searched for the most affordable Economy airfares* from the US to where the Chinese New Year fireworks will be largest.** Here's what we found:
Singapore may be like 22 hours of travel away from the US, but that doesn't mean they haven't got 24-hour McDonalds here and there. One we passed todayjust off the Esplanade near the Fullerton Bay Hotelwas sporting some flashy banners for limited-time-only eats. Curious, we got closer. Holy shnickeys, they're trying to make a buck off of Chinese New Year with the introduction of four special items: Beef Prosperity Burger, Chicken Prosperity Burger, Twister fries and a Prosperity McFizz.
According to the banners, these babies are only around until January 31. According to the internet, this isn't the first McDs has been cooking "Prosperity Burgers." And just exactly how prosperous are these sammies? Well, the patties are dipped in black pepper sauce, topped with onions and finished with a sesame seed bun. Sounds okay, but none of those ingredients were in the traditional Prosperity Salad. The only thing we can tell is that the twister fries can resemble 8, an auspicious number.
Just a quickie video to start the week off rightor rather, year off. Today marks the first day of the Year of the Dragon; it's Chinese New Year and yep, we're still chilling in Singapore, where we managed to take in the holiday fireworks with a view from the top of the RItz-Carlton, Millennia.
Whether or not you're passing out red envelopes or dining on Yusheng "prosperity salad," we bet you appreciate a good fireworks display now and then. And it was good! The pyrotechnics in Singapore burst above the Marina, surrounded on all sides by tall buildings from which to view the spectacle. There's the Central Business District (CBD) to the north and west, a gaggle of high-rise hotels to the east (where we are) andwe briefly pan over to itthe triple towers of the Marina Bay Sands to the south.
Pardon the fact that there's no sound; it was all people talking and our camera clicking, so you aren't missing any of the big booms.
Disclosure: Flights and some accommodation in Singapore are as a guest of Singapore Airlines. Regardless, all photos/videos and opinions presented are utterly and completely our very own.
When we travel, one of our favorite things to do is to pop into a local grocery store and check out the food products and candies we'd never find anywhere else. So we're trying out this new feature, Foreign Grocery Friday, where each week we'll feature some of our (and your) favorite overseas treats. Got a recommendation? Let us know!
This Sunday night is more than just any old Sunday night; it's the Chinese New Year, when the year of the rabbit ends and the year of the dragon begins. The celebrations surrounding the lunar new year are many, and based on tradition. There's the giving of red envelopes containing money, the eating of mandarin oranges and sweets, and the gathering with family. And with almost every other special occasion ever, Chinese New Year mandates the preparation of special dishes to celebrate.
In Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore, the new year means eating a special raw fish salad called Yusheng, with ingredients added one by one, and each with its own deeper meaning (salmon for abundance, deep-fried crackers symbolizing gold, etc). Just as important as serving Yusheng for the new year is the act of mixing the salad with a toss called "lo hei." The higher you toss the salad, the greater you'll soar to new heights in the new year.
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Despite what the traditional calendar says, the New Year is actually still a few weeks away. So we say put off the resolutions a little longer and prepare for Chinese Lunar New Year on February 3. There’s probably a celebration or parade near your hometown, but if you’re looking for the best, check out our three picks:
· New York City:
Welcome the year of the rabbit in Chinatown's Sara D. Roosevelt Park on February 3 between 11am and around 3:30pm as the locals will set off plenty of firecrackers and other things that go boom and pow to ward off evil spirits. Besides the fireworks there will be plenty of dancers, performers, and other cultural events to get you in the mood to celebrate—and you might even learn a thing or two.
The party continues through the weekend when the parade hits the streets on February 6. Expect crazy awesome floats, marching bands, more fireworks, and plenty of lions and dragons winding their way up and down the city streets. Organizers expect at least 5,000 people to march in the parade, so the spectators are probably way more than that—so get there early!
It's time once again for the Lunar New Year, as millions of people in China and around the world get ready to enter the Year of the Ox. According to tradition (and USA Today), Chinese people return to their homes to deliver hong bao (red envelopes stuffed with money) to family and friends, eat dumplings, and watch lion dances and fireworks at nearby temples.
Dunno about you, but we're getting excited for a cultural celebration that doesn't revolve around 12-point spreads or funneling adult beverages. So we're patiently waiting this week for the Lunar New Year, which happens Thursday night.
And while rats aren't the most inspiring mascot, truth is they're associated with wealth and good luck. If you wanna get your friends some New Year's gifts, go with a red packet, a traditional money-filled envelope. And don't forget to wear red yourself; its a lucky color on New Year's night.
· "In Vietnam, there's a rich tradition of rat eating" [Gridskipper]
· The Best New Noodle Shop in NYC's Chinatown [NYM]
· Vancouver Gearing Up for Its New Year's Parade [The Sun]
· Red Panties Selling Out in Malaysia [The Canadian Press]
· Year of Mickey Mouse in a Mao Suit [Jaunted]
When Chinese New Year hits on February 7, 2008, we'll officially be in the Year of the Rat. Since some people don't like rats that much, it's also getting promoted as the Year of the Mouse, and Disneyland is happy to jump on that bandwagon, since it's not known for a cute rat character.
Of course, it's Hong Kong Disneyland where you'll get the most authentic flavor of Chinese New Year, and Mickey and Minnie Mouse have just had their special outfits unveiled. We can't quite believe it, but Mickey's going to be wearing a bright red Chairman Mao suit, while Minnie will walk beside him in an equally bright red dress.
The best day to be in Hong Kong Disneyland will be February 7 for the big dragon procession, but Mickey will be wearing his Mao suit until February 24. While you're there, keep an eye out for the special guests wandering around to greet you: the Gods of Happiness, Longevity and Prosperity. Given Hong Kong Disney's recent problems with low visitor numbers, park operators will no doubt be hoping for some blessings of their own.