If I could have transported myself to any place in the world last week, that place would have been Hong Kong. I would have spent my days soaking up the city’s spectacular Chinese New Year celebrations with a wander around Victoria Park, where I would have fill my arms with fresh flowers and maybe a picked up a miniature orange tree for good luck. I would have stopped by the Man Mo Temple for a reading with Harmung, my favourite HK fortune teller, and would have feasted on some sublime Cantonese food before watching the fabulous flash, bang of the New Year fireworks display from my brother’s roof terrace in Happy Valley.
Alas, I was not to return to my beloved Hong Kong for this year’s festivites, some 6000 miles and a packed work schedule had seen to that. So, when an invitation from Cathay Pacific arrived in my inbox to attend the Chinese New Year celebrations in Trafalgar Square, I was on the train quicker than you could say “Kung Hei Fat Choi”.
The celebrations began with an early morning parade featuring floats, dance troupes and performers winding their way through the tightly-packed streets of Chinatown. Beneath the strings of lucky red lanterns that lined the route, thousands upon thousands of people joined in the fun. Fierce looking Money Gods wandered through the crowds, children delighted in throwing tiny “snap” firecrackers and being the Year of the Dragon street-sellers proffered the fiery creatures in every form imaginable from paper to inflatable to furry.