My First Chinese New Year

Hey everyone, Happy Chinese New Year (or Spring festival!).

It has been very fun walking all around Kunming and seeing the red lanterns hanging in the trees, banners wishing good luck, and signs sprawled over every store wishing you fortune. Also, it warms my heart walking around and being wished a Happy New Year from restaurant workers, street vendors, and even random strangers.

We spent our New Years day hiking to Dianxi Lake. We hiked for at least 4 hours and got lost in the best kind of way. We were heading West, using the She Shan (West Mountains) as our indicator.

walking on the tracksWe eventually found this stream (and as you know, streams lead to larger bodies of water) with a quaint brick/earth trail beside it.We decided why not, let’s follow it. I’m so glad we did. We at first were covered by trees, then by flowers, and then finally old fishing boats lined the canal. The boats were covered with fabrics of all different colors.

boats in the canalNot so long after the boats, we made it to Dianxi Lake. The path we took lead us to the water’s edge and we continued following it until we found a nice place to sit and appreciate the scenery. Have I mentioned how awesome the weather is here? Well, just so you know, it is flippin’ amazing. There is a never-ending Spring breeze that goes through Kunming, so having the wind blow through my hair while sitting on the water’s edge felt pretty damn good.

wind in my hairWe were getting pretty hungry by this point, so we decided to find our way back to the main road. We followed this dirt trail that lead to an alleyway. While walking through, we witnessed the true Chinese New Year; children lighting firecrackers, parents decorating their doors, smelling the spicy smells of Chinese cooking, watching dumplings sizzle in pots, and hearing the laughter of families spending time with one another. It was a beautiful sight. It would have been fun to share New Years with a Chinese family, but Colleen is a pretty good second choice. :)

Biking near KunmingWe found a road and thank goodness there was a taxi, we were BEAT!

We got back to the apartment (by this time it was sunset) and cleaned ourselves up for our dinner plans with other U.S. Fulbrighters. We were getting pretty used to the sound of firecrackers, so I didn’t pay too much attention to the sounds of Tommy guns going off, but while we were getting ready we heard some massive booms that shook the building. We looked out the window and *BAM* a huge firework right outside our window (Okay, maybe not right outside, but it was pretty darn close). There was another and another, and then we could see all the other fireworks shows happening in Kunming. It was an incredible sight.

Fireworks out of the apartmentThe rest of the night went very well. We ate some dumplings, hung out at a foreigner bar, drank some TsingTao beer, and set off some very dangerous, but fun Chinese fireworks. The firecrackers were the scariest! Oh, what fun. Hah, nerd moment here. The last thing Colleen and I did to celebrate the New Year was watching the finale of season 2 of Battlestar Galactica. It was epic! I’ve seen the whole series, but Colleen hasn’t. I am getting such a kick watching her reactions to the show. SO MANY EMOTIONS!

Other than that. Colleen and I set up an ultimate game on Sunday. It felt so good playing frisbee again! We’ve spent lots of time with her Fulbright friends eating and drinking and I’ve been able to practice some of my Mandarin with Colleen’s Kunming buddies. Tonight we are celebrating Mardi Gras! There will be lots of people coming together for a Potluck. I’m looking forward to seeing the assortment of food.

Well, I must be off. My tummy is rumbling and Colleen and I must prepare for the potluck. She’s making a pumpkin pie and I’ll be making my sweet potato casserole.


P.S. We’re leaving Kunming for Dali tomorrow. We’ll be traveling till the end of the month.

3 Comments on “My First Chinese New Year

  1. Molly… sounds like a great adventure, looking forward to your posts. Have you read China Road by Rob Gifford? Also Shadows of the Silk Road by Colin Thubron both excellent travelogs for this part of your journey.


  2. What a marvelous journey you and Colleen are on. I love opening your blog to find new photos and writings. Enjoy the Spring Festival and stay safe–maybe safer than riding one-handed on the motorbike…Love,



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