The Great Chinatown Walkabout

Saturday, February 5, around 9.15 pm
Partners-in-crime: Casey, EH and ex-bosslet

We began, wisely, with an ATM/restroom stop at Chinatown Point. Miraculously, there were only two people in each ATM line and I nipped into the loo before it got crowded with children (imagine what it'd be like post-children-peeing, eeyur), so we hit the streets without much delay.

Among the things I hadn't seen at these bazaars before:

  • Muah chee --- Besides the usual, there were plenty of stalls selling a Taiwanese variety, which was basically Japanese mochi balls with various fillings: strawberry, red bean, etc. They were individually packed, like Japanese confectionery, and the standard going rate seemed to be $1.80 per 100 grams or $5.00 for 500 grams. No free samples, though.
  • Ashtrays shaped like open cigarette packs, going for $6 each --- On the other hand, while I don't mind people smoking around me, I suppose I shouldn't encourage anyone I know to continue to do so, so I don't buy smoking-related gifts (I lied politely to the lady stallholder that I'd "think about it").
  • Milk ice --- Smoothly shaved milky ice, topped with red bean or peanut. Kinda like Hawaiian shave ice, only with fewer colours/flavours and in much larger servings.
  • Decapitated lion heads --- Okay, so Casey enlightened me that they're not just selling the head part of the lion dance mask, but they've got the rest of the lion (i.e. the body fabric) tucked inside the heads. But when it's just a row of lion heads peering at you from the stallfront, it'a little creepy.
  • Yellow pomelos! --- I thought they only came in green.

Yellow pomelos
Originally uploaded by Tym.

I didn't get many (decent) pictures because we had to keep moving along with the crowd or risk being twisted aside. As for toddlers, this seemed to be the preferred mode of transport:

Not very Dash-ing
Originally uploaded by Tym.

It sure beats trying to push a stroller through the human morass.

Thankfully, despite the crowds, it was a breezy evening and the Chinatown streets were mercifully free of wet slop. Yes, there was the unmistakable Third World-esque whiff of garbage every so often, but no sweaty bodies brushed up against me and I didn't feel completely icky by the time I got home.

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple update: It turns out that the temporary structure will be replaced by a permanent five-storey palace on the same spot, as soon they raise all the money they need for it. Which just proves that every time I think Chinatown can't get any tackier or more abused, they go and think of something even more garish to add to it.

As we passed CK Department Store, EH declaimed, "That's the ah lian store." Miraculously (again), we did not get immediately beaten up.

Later, Casey and I stopped for a dim sum snack before heading home.

Dim sum shop
Originally uploaded by Tym.

As I walked home from the train station, I was newly jealous of a neighbour's Chinese New Year decor:

Originally uploaded by Tym.


At 2/07/2005 10:47 am , Blogger Abigael said...

Nice one babe!

I ended up at River Hong Bao but the atmosphere was nothing close to Chinatown. But oh well, I've got front row seats for fireworks and that worked out just fine for me.

Sorry chickie ... till we usher in the pup!

At 2/10/2005 7:39 am , Blogger TriplePeriod said...

Hmmm, the last picture with the lanterns along the corridor looks really eerie.Hope thats not the reason why you are so jealous over it. Happy CNY. :)

At 2/11/2005 4:08 am , Blogger Tym said...

tripleperiod --- I was jealous 'cause the red lanterns create a really lovely ambience (not to be confused with any other 'red light' areas). I think it looks eerier (is that a word?) in the photo because my camera does such a bad job of capturing light!


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