Yesterday we joined the Joburg Photowalkers for a date in Old Chinatown because of the Chinese New Year celebrations. Last year we went to the Nan Hua temple in Bronkhorstspruit where the festivities were on a much larger scale.
Last year, it was so much fun. This year, I don't really know. It was loud, messy, disorganized and more for 6-year-old boys than for adults who value their eardrums. The festival was held in one corner of Commissioner street, but in comparison to the vast amount of activities and stalls at the temple this was rather disappointing. If one wanted food, one either would have had to book a table at one of the restaurants beforehand, or one had to queue behind 200 other people. When our hunger did finally overcome our desire not to stand in that queue, there was almost no food left, which meant we paid R30 for rice with a splash of that fake reddish sauce and a ball of chicken hiding in a corner of the Styrofoam container.
The event's flyer announced that there would be a large fireworks display at 21.00, but for the three hours before that random children and old men kept lighting crackers and other bang-sounding things. Initially it was fun, but after the 20th cracker explodes on your leg or next to your ear you really want to make a piñata out of whoever threw that thing and beat the living shit out of them. Then people had the brilliant idea of lighting their floating lanterns, which just ended up crashing into the crowd. And people don't like balls of fire floating towards them.
Although the final fireworks were an hour late, they were spectacular. The sky lit up the way the eyes of a 15-year-old girl would when she gets asked out by her crush. Only it was 50000 better. Somehow the Chinese also really really really really really really really like Gangnam Style, so after numerous attempts throughout the evening to get the crowd to participate by dancing to the song, the organizers also orchestrated the fireworks to match Psy's hit.
I think it is worth going once, but would rather recommend whatever Nan Hua plans for that year. This was overcrowded and baldy organized no matter how brilliantly the night was lit up.
Sex tea, anyone?