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Welcome to Marches Travel Log Page for Monday, 23rd January 2012

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Chinese New Year (Year of the Dragon) 2012

New Year to New Year……..It’s with great pleasure and anticipation that I am able to continue my travel log where I left it in October last year. Having just parted with New Year in the Western tradition I am soon immersed in the Chinese Lunar festivities. Chinese New Year’s Eve may not be the best date to stage a recovery from my long-haul transfer here with fire crackers exploding from mid morning but I cannot deny these traditions and venture out. Soon I am invited to a Thai/Chinese home where I witness the results of labours to prepare for the festivities. I understand this time is precious in Chinese culture in remembering family roots. The family is in the 2nd generation here in Bangkok originally from Hainan, southern China. This experience causes me to do some research. More in my Travel News reports.
Let the festival begin……..I am heading for Yaowarat, Bangkok’s Chinatown. This is just a 10 minute walk from Hua Lamphong Railway Station. I can divide my time between observations at the station and the opening ceremony. I get a bonus by first arriving by bus at Don Mueang Railway Station and travelling in by train. Arriving in Chinatown I see the streets are already crammed with people in festive mood waving flags and banners. Roads have been closed and street partying is underway. There is a buzz of excitement everywhere in anticipation of the arrival of Royalty. By 4 p.m. police have marked out a procession route. The official opening of the Yaowarat Festival takes place at 5 p.m. at King’s Birthday Celebration Arch with the arrival of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. People wait patiently while the formalities begin. Afternoon drags into dusk as police and security staff increase their presence. Projector screens glow in the failing light as the opening ceremony moves into entertainment mode. Finally the Princess and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit begin their tour through Yaowarat’s streets in a white Rolls Royce. Security is as tight as it could be given the recent terrorist threat. That appears to be it for now. I don’t wait the cultural show but head back by bus and van intending to return the next day.
Making tracks for the lion contest……..I am heading back to Hua Lamphong Railway Station and on to Yaowarat for the second day of the festival. I am taking a more direct route by MRT (Mass Rapid Transport) from Rama IX to the station. I get plenty of exercise as I skip from one platform to another but my agility bares little resemblance to that required by the entrants for the lion dance contest. Activity during Chinese New Year celebrations are renowned for the theatrical and in Yeowarat it was no exception as the four young teams strive to win the competition by performing on pillars above the street in full ‘Lion’ dress. I get more time at Hua Lamphong before I head for Victory Monument to out-of-city vans.
New Year Preparation
(1) New Year Preparation
(2) Activity at
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Email: marchespast@yahoo.co.uk