Goodbye Monkey, Hello Rooster

Quinn Salditch has arrived in Singapore!  Quinn was one of my Mock Trial captains who graduated from The Park School of Baltimore in 2013, which now brings the number of Park Mock Trial affiliates in Singapore to a grand total of three.  Quinn is on a two-month tour of Asia, so she’s staying with us here between her travels to Bali and Vietnam.  It’s very exciting to be surrounded (insofar as one person can be surrounded by two others) by people from home.

The Park School crew — Quinn, Everett, and I — were joined by Prescott for dinner downstairs at our Italian place, iO, last night.  We then dove into the crowds of Chinatown to have the cultural experience of being part of Chinese New Year’s Eve.

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The highlight was definitely the giant rooster, which is just stunning at night:

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It turns out that plenty of Chinese people are in Chinatown on Chinese New Year’s eve to take advantage of last-minute sales — you can get steep discounts on everything from rooster posters to jelly candies to pomelos to seaweed crackers — but they’re not out in droves to see the festivities.  Instead, lots and lots of white people come down to check out what’s going on — so the experience was not what we’d expected.  The set-up is also really odd:  there’s a stage for performances, but only about a hundred people (paying customers, presumably) can see it. Everyone else stands on the street and watches the event on a small jumbotron:

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There’s also not much of a sound system, so you can’t really hear what’s going on (and it’s all in Chinese, so unless Everett was able to catch some of the words here and there, we were entirely in the dark).  We mostly stood around for a while and chatted.

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We decided not to stay for the moment when the year of the monkey ended and the year of the rooster began — instead, our evening ended with a long walk to see the Singapore River (complete with the Merlion and the Marina Bay Sands hotel) at night.

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