20 February 2007

Chinese New Year Parade! Awesome busy crazy police defying goodness!

Last night was the New Year night-parade. I was expecting the huge crowd, but not the stupidity offered up by Hong Kong police all night. More on that later...

The parade was amazing. I have never seen so many different types of groups all in one parade with so much energy. There was everything from dragons to NFL cheerleaders from Arizona. I'm not sure why they were there. At least they wore red. Most enjoyable were the 4-5 different lion and dragon dance teams. They moved so fast and intensely it was hard to focus my eyes or my camera for that matter. Other groups included bagpipes, ballet dancers, disney characters, light bulb head people? weird... there were many groups from around Asia as well. The Korean and Japanese groups were fun and didn't get into any fights as a bonus. So many floats, so many people, so many different shades of red.

As for the buffoons heading up HK police. (It is the year of the pig afterall) For some insane reason, it was impossible to cross the two biggest roads in TST. I realize they were the parade route, but there are at least 20 different ways of crossing that don't involve going on the actual road (subways etc.) I decided I would take the ferry to the parade as it was the fastest way. What this meant was when I arrived in TST I was basically unable to move. They had blocked off almost any way of moving from the ferry pier to the parade and the amounts of people only grew as more ferries came in. For some dumb reason you could not get across to the other sides where the parade was actually happening. It's difficult to describe, but basically the police pissed off a vast amount of people for no good reason other than 'safety', but people falling into the harbour due to over-crowding is safer I guess.

In order to watch the parade, I had to walk through a 10 block long mall past the parade route, go through some weird back alley of a hotel that was being used to shuttle hotel patrons from the hotel because the front entrance was blocked (can you say fire hazard?) go underneith an overpass, up and over another overpass which thankfully was blocked off to traffic, and walk up the hill to where I ended up watching the parade at its midpoint. A lot of effort for arriving more than an hour early. My final viewing point was on top of a medion of the highway where the parade route turned around on, so it was quite perfect for viewing. I am proud to say I was the first person to climb on the medion, and about 1000 others followed. Lucky for me as the police were quick to tell everyone to get down. Let's just say it didn't work. About 5 people actually climbed down, some kneeled, haha, and when the police walked on ahead everyone just jumped back up. We watched the first 10 minutes of the parade and were told to get down again. This time no-one got off and the police didn't make a fuss. My excuse was I didn't speak Cantonese. About 30 minutes later the original police guys came by and did absolutely nothing about us all climbing up. Good enforcement boys. I wouldn't have had a problem getting off, as I was one of the only people who could see over the medion, but since no one budged I didn't mind following the crowd.

The parade lasted almost 2 hours, a tad more than the original 1 hour estimated. Let's just say I have no idea how all the fancy buildings got built here. No one seems to have a clue about organization.

And the most amazing thing of the night... the crowd that took 2 hours to build up was nicely dispersed in about 20 minutes.

I didn't take many photos as my lens selection was not the greatest for the front row seat I had, but here's a few I took. Also I video-taped most of the groups, and got some awesome footage. Check back in about a week and I might have a video done.

Happy New Year!

P.S. The fireworks were wet... to be continued

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