Lunar New Year Festival

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Here in Beijing, the big travel holiday isn’t Christmas like it is in America; it’s the Lunar New Year.  Many people leave the city for a while for the holiday.  Since we were up at like 5am, we did all we could to entertain ourselves in our apartment, but you can only do that for so long.  About 7am we ventured out to find breakfast.  With a lot of people out of the city, just about nothing was open.  We also still needed to go get a few supplies from the Walmart that was near our place.  We walked toward the Walmart to see if we could find anything to eat.  To our surprise the Walmart was open.  We did our shopping, not really finding everything we hoped, and the Chinese brands are so much different.  We had our breakfast, I cleaned the apartment to make myself feel good about it being clean and un-packed a bit to settle in.

It wasn’t even noon yet, when we decided we needed to get out and do something touristy, as well as take advantage of the Lunar New Year celebrations happening while they were still happening.  On our way out we stopped at the McDonalds for a light lunch.  One woman came around the counter to say hello to C1.  She also called out all the other employees to see the cute blond boy.  We’ve got 3-5 employees surrounding C1 adoring him.  As we then proceed to eat our lunch the first woman brings a small ice cream out for C1, for free.

We took the train to this festival/carnival and when we arrived, the train station was PACKED!  We had to push our way off the train, through crowds of people up to the street to find the festival.  While there was a flow of people going the same direction as we were, we feared the festival was all done for the day because of the amount of people leaving the festival.

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I thought Chicago traffic was bad during events, but this was insane!  People over ruled the road and cars could barely move.  Poor C1 was in and out of the stroller because with so many people we could hardly push a stroller through.  He was really good  about holding onto our hands.  Hubby and I took turns holding him.  And when we could we put him in the umbrella stroller and pushed our way through.

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To get into the festival it was only $1.40; that’s American Dollars.  Super cheep.  But once we got in, we noticed that the carnival games (such as ring toss, pretty typical type games) were more unreasonably higher priced.  We stopped to watch a performance on a stage, but we couldn’t really see and I couldn’t understand what they were saying anyway.  Standing there watching, just like everywhere we go, everyone looked at us, specifically C1.  One young couple even stopped and gave C1 a small stuffed dog.  I’m trying to teach C1 the two words I know in Chinese; thank you and hello.  At one point before we continued walking, I even caught a man pretending to take either a video or panoramic picture and plainly stopped to take a picture of me holding C1; I just smile and let them.

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We wondered around the festival and my favorite part is always the trinkets for sale.  We stopped and got C1 a fun tri, noise making, pinwheel.  As we wondered I saw nice fake flowers and thought it would be nice to get some for the apartment.  As we wondered trying to find any flowers we found Hubby’s favorite part of a festival, food.  Being pregnant, my Dr. recommended that I don’t eat the street food because we don’t know how well cooked it is.  Hubby got some food to share with C1; I’m sort of glad, because I’m not very adventurous when it comes to strange food.  The crowds were pretty heavy, but we made our way through and found some flowers.  Not all the ones I liked that I saw others holding, but some.  We stopped and I had Hubby go up to the booth to buy me some.  C1 was in the stroller as we stood back waiting.  By the time Hubby came back with the flowers I asked him to get, C1 was crying because his feet were cold.  If people weren’t staring at him before they sure were now.

As quick as we could we found a little quiet spot away from the crowd so I could put his gloves on his feet and then give him my gloves.  In the proccess, a family with a little boy come over to say something to C1, who is bawling because he’s cold and tired.  Suddenly, I look up from helping my poor child, and there is an entire crowd around us watching the crying blond boy.  The little boy and his family is trying to get a picture of the two kids together, and the crowd is only scaring C1 more and making him cry even more.  Finally I get his gloves on his feet and his shoes back on, and I pick him up to hold him and take him away from the crowd to try to comfort him.

I still wanted to look at all the trinkets for sale and find more flowers, but C1 wasn’t calming down, and wanted to go back to the apartment.  We made our way back to the train station, poor C1 crying the whole way, people staring giving suggestions on how to help, wondering why he is crying.  At the exit of the festival a man was trying to sell us a twisty drum, and kept putting the toy in C1’s hand, to get us to buy it for him.  C1 was in the stroller at this point, and the salesman was so pushy about it, I just about walked away with the toy in C1’s hand because he wouldn’t take no for an answer.  Because of the crowds, it took us about 45 minutes to get back onto the train.  Once we got to the train and he was able to sit on my lap, C1 was able to calm down.

A family, or multiple families, it was hard to tell, was sitting next to us, and the boy was trying to talk to C1 a bit.  I tried to get C1 to say hello in Chinese to the boy, but like me, when he’s sad, he doesn’t talk very loud.  Hubby heard the kids talking to the adults asking them why this boy wasn’t talking to them.  (Because remember, my Hubby is amazing and speaks several languages).  One of the men with the kids pulled out his camera, so C1 and I leaned in and smiled to let them take pictures.  Then the woman pulled out her phone to also take some pictures.

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Once we were off the train, I was holding C1, and he was holding his new toys; his stuffed dog that the young lady gave him, and a ball on a string toy.  We went with the crowd (lighter than at the festival), and headed toward the escalator toward the exit.  C1 starting yelling, and I could feel that he had let go of his ball toy.  I yelled at Hubby who is about to step onto the escalator, and we push out of the crowd back out to look for his ball.  The exiting train crowd clears a bit, and I have a chance to look, but I didn’t see it anywhere.  Ready to give up and let C1 learn his lesson of hanging on tight to his toys, I saw it at the base of the escalator.  I ran to grab it and hop on, not even sure where Hubby is.  Thankfully he was a few people behind me and followed.  Again, a sad and crying boy because he almost lost his new toy.

I too was quite tired and frustrated with how things are going.  We got back to the apartment about 3pm and let C1 take a bit of a nap.  Since we didn’t nap we had some noodles in a cup for dinner and all went to bed by 7pm.

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