Vancouver Chinatown Chinese New Year Parade

The weather was wonderfully sunny and clear to celebrate the Year of
the Rooster in Chinatown.  It was perfect to allow all the
performers to strut their stuff, fluff their feathers, dance their
steps – and the Lion dancers, the Chinese fan dancers, the martial
artists, and the Brazillian dancers all did just that! Fantastic. 
This was the first time in many years that I attended the annual
Chinatown parade – and it was the biggest I had ever seen.  The
parade began at the Millenium Gate and proceeded up Pender St. to Gore
– turning south to Keefer, then proceeding back to Carrall St. where
the performers ended up in the courtyard of the Chinese Cultural Centre.

I saw Brazillian dancers, Martial artists, chinese fan dancers, Lion
Dancers, lots of dragons, the Carnaval Band, the Dragon Boat
Association even put a teak dragon boat on a trailer and decorated
it.  It was led by my friend and dragon boat coaching cohort Bob
Brinson.  Earlier on Saturday he phoned me and asked where he
could buy chinese drums.  Upon my advice, he went to Dragon
Martial Arts on Pender Street and purchased two smaller sized drums to
create a “drum set” for the dragon boat.  Very unique – very
outside the box!  Way to go Bob!

After watching the parade, my girlfriend and I went to Tinsel Town for
some food and to check out what was going on there.  It was the
busiest I had ever seen Tinsel Town.  Lots of booths set up like a
bazzaar.  We ate chinese combination plates, then watched the show
below from the 2nd floor.  It was then that I was approached by a
family that had attended last year's Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner at
Flamingo restaurant, but couldn't attend this year's dinner at
Floata.  They asked questions about this year's dinner, detailing
how much they enjoyed the 2004 dinner.  It is always great to
recieve such enthusiastic feedback about the Gung Haggis Fat Choy

Deb and I next wandered past the booths in Tinsel town exploring all
the Chinese New Year specials.  I bought some Karaoke
DVD's…  “Karaoke! exclaimed Deb.  You're going to do
Karaoke?”  “Yes, I smiled – perfect for our dragon boat team
parties and the the Gung Haggis Fat Choy volunteer appreciation party
coming up.”

We wandered up Keefer St. to Main St.  Lion dancers and
firecrackers were still in action, visiting all the stores in
Chinatown, accepting offerings of lettuce and li-see (lucky money red
envelopes).  We went to Bamboo Villiage to purchase a bamboo tea
kettle handle for  her tea pot.  I checked out all the Lion
head masks.  The proprietor's recognized me because I was wearing
the chinese jacket I had purchased from them in Sept 2003.  “We
are the only ones who sell that style,” they proudly exclaimed.

More lions were dancing, and we saw a young lion climb up the door
frame to grab a lettuce and li-see hung from a string from the 3rd
floor office of the Chinese Benevolent Association – one of the key
associations in the development of Chinatown.  Next we stopped in
at Chinese Zodiac Souvenirs – operated by my friend Martin – born and
raised in Xian – the ancient capital of China.  “Business is very
good today – Very busy” smiled Martin.  He is a gracious man –
well spoken in his quiet english.  Further down the street, the
Lion Dancers were recieving the offerings at Jack Chow insurance,
housed in the skinniest building in the world, at the corner of Pender
and Carrall St.  Jack was dressed in a red Chinese jacket, taking
pictures from inside his building – that is only about 4 feet wide.
Very exciting – I took a picture.

Pictures will be developed soon, and posted…

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