A trip to Chinatown on Super Bowl Sunday was the perfect way to ring in the Chinese New Year. Dancing dragons and lions, red envelopes and lettuce hanging from doorways, and overflowing restaurants brought Victoria’s Chinatown to life this afternoon. As the oldest Chinatown in Canada, it is a special little gem with a rich history and a modern vibe. It’s two alleys, Fan Tan Alley and Dragon Alley, boast a number of unique shops that carry everything from candles and incenses to hemp seeds and dog biscuits, and even fine art.
And it’s enchanting art, too. If you’ve never been to the Arrogant Pirate, it’s worth a visit. The hole-in-the-wall art boutique is one of Dragon Alley’s hidden treasures. As you step in the door, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a different time and place. It’s a feast for the eyes –an antique typewriter, framed art creations, and hand-crafted jewelry are beautifully displayed. The flavour is Asian with a twist of pirate. Arrogant Pirate has claimed it’s territory in the alley known for Dog In The Bakery, The Thai Spa, and Union Pacific Coffee.
Today I was a tourist–after a warm bowl of wonton soup, I was happy snappy. All the lettuce and red envelopes hanging in the doorways and scattered in the entrances — evidence that the lion had stopped by – fascinated me. I’m familiar with the red envelopes, but not the lettuce. After a little research, I’ve learned that shopkeepers and restaurant owners hang the lettuce for the lion dancers, so that they will pluck the greens, cai quing, and spit out the greens at the entrance to bring the owners good fortune. (The lettuce isn’t actually eaten by the dancers, but blown apart by the firecrackers.)
Those lion dancers must have been dancing for the Seahawks today, too. The Denver Broncos didn’t stand a chance against the Seattle Seahawks. Truth be told, the only things that kept me watching the game were Bruno Mars, photo editing, and laundry. And all in that order. You would have thought the year of the horse would bring the Broncos some good luck?
For a monkey like me, the Year of the Horse is suppose to bring me luck. Money is looking good, and I’m going to be moving or traveling somewhere. The love outlook is still dismal, but I’ll have my health….and my sanity! I’ve already planned a trip this year, so it looks like my 2014 predictions may have some truth to them.
What does the Year of the Horse have in store for you? Find out here.