Kung Hei Fat Choi from Hong Kong!! This phrase is used in greeting during the Chinese New Year and loosely means "Congratulations and wishing you prosperity!" We have been using it quite a lot over the past couple of days.
The official Chinese New Year is tomorrow, January 31st, and we are welcoming in the Year of the Horse. In preparation for this special celebration, we have had quite a busy day in Hong Kong. Today was the first day we were able to experience Hong Kong in the daylight, and it is by far unlike any city I've ever visited. The buildings are beyond skyscraper-tall, there are islands, mountains, valleys, and it is densely populated with the friendliest, most welcoming people.
We began our day by going to our first rehearsal with the Cathay Pacific Chinese New Year Parade at the Hong Kong Cultural Center. We are also participating in a magic box portion of a magic show right before our performance in the parade, so several of us were able to practice the trick with the magician until we got it right. Rehearsal was hot! However, the 70 degree climate is much welcomed after the frigid conditions back in DC.
After our rehearsal was finished, our wonderful tour guide, George, and our Hong Kong Tourism representative, Irene, arranged a Sampan Boat Ride to the famous Jumbo Kingdom floating restaurant in the middle of Victoria Harbor and we enjoyed a traditional Chinese dim sum lunch. The tea here is delicious! We then took a tour of a jewelry factory, wandered around the "Standing Market" to barter for several Hong Kong souvenirs like jade, bags, and scarves, and finished the day by going up to the picturesque Victoria's Peak to look out onto all of Hong Kong.
Following a brief break at our hotel in Kowloon, we went to our dress rehearsal for the parade tomorrow. All the performers from all over the world were at this rehearsal and it was such an incredible, fun, colorful experience to be performing with them!
Even though our time here has been so jam-packed with activities, I wouldn't have it any other way. It's been such a unique experience for me having both alumni cheerleaders as well as our current team here in Hong Kong - like worlds colliding!
Be sure to check back with what else we're up to this week... Hail to the Redskins and the Year of the Horse!
Love & Hail,