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John Abbot is co-owner of Married to a lovely Chinese Lady and living in China, John knows and respects China, Chinese Women, Chinese People and Chinese Culture. His blog will include good stuff about Online Dating, Chinese Women, International Relationships and Things Chinese. Join John Abbot on Google+
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Happy New Year & New Year’s Day in Hangzhou    

By John Abbot
3336 Views | 6 Comments | 1/1/2012 4:48:19 PM

First, on behalf of all the staff and owners of CLM and ALM we wish all members and visitors a very happy and prosperous New Year filled with joy, good fortune and especially love. Many of you have already found your perfect match here on our websites. For those still searching, or those who have just begun their search, we hope success finds you very early in 2012.

As for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day here is a small taste of how we spent ours in Hangzhou.

I have to say that based on our New Year’s Eve it (the Western version) still has not caught on in China. Certainly it is nowhere near the celebration that Chinese New Year’s is, and frankly even as a party day it is not remotely the party that Christmas Eve is. Maybe that is different in other parts of China.

But here we went for a long walk along the river during the day and we were nearly alone. There were hardly any people out and about. While our part of Hangzhou is always quiet and peaceful compared to almost anywhere else in China, and even compared to the rest of Hangzhou, this was strangely quiet… perhaps the sleepiest Saturday I’ve seen since arriving here.

At the far end of our 2 hour walk was a Starbuck’s, where we sat down to enjoy a Venti size Christmas blend coffee (well, I enjoyed it, my wife doesn’t drink coffee whereas I am a slave to it). I’m not a big fan of Starbucks back home but here in China I’m switching over. While Starbucks as an experience doesn’t touch a genuine little Italian, French or other European style café, or even some of the better American or Canadian coffee houses, that I can find back home, in China Starbucks is vastly superior to any of the Chinese coffee houses that are now popping up all over the place. That may be because the Chinese joints are all simply badly executed and very poorly managed imitations of Starbucks. Service is generally abysmal and the product second, or even third rate. I will give Starbuck its due – in my opinion no other Western Chain has come remotely close to bringing its brand into China and have it so exactly duplicate its offerings elsewhere in the world.

Anyway, after sitting around Starbucks for an hour we took a bus back to our part of town and went to a little restaurant/pub we often go to that serves a pretty decent mixed menu of non-Chinese food. For example my wife had lasagna that was first class and I had a Thai curry that was almost as good. However, here we were in a fairly popular place with both Foreigners and Chinese, and we were sharing it with a total of 3 other people. When we left around 9 PM no one else had come in. The owner had not planned a New Year’s party because he said he has never ended up getting much of a crowd, whereas he had a very popular Christmas Eve party and was full.

Back home we watched the New Years Evening Special which was pretty good. There were some very talented foreigners and Chinese performing. Michael Bolton showed up to sing 2 tunes, which does nothing for me, and just tells me how far his career obviously has sunk to be spending New Year’s Eve in China singing two songs. Nonetheless, the show was pretty well done. At Midnight we heard the sound of fireworks, but compared to Chinese New Year’s it was a pretty lonely sound indeed. Only one lone person had shown up down by the river to fire of one medium size box of fireworks. Compared to the thousands of people who set off an endless cascade of fireworks on Chinese New Year’s last winter, this was truly the proverbial “spit in the ocean” of fireworks displays.

On New Year’s Day we went for another stroll and found the tree pictured above. Unlike the tree I showed you on Christmas this one was not a duplicate of one in my Father’s yard from my past, and actually held no memories for me at all. But it was the biggest Bonsai style tree we had ever seen and just seemed pretty cool to us, so why am I showing it to you here. Mostly because on western New Year’s Day in Hangzhou, nothing else worth mentioning has transpired at the time this is being published. It isn't like it is back home.

Happy Western New Years everyone! Our hearts and thoughts are with all of you.

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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#2012-01-01 22:50:44 by anonymous3094 @anonymous3094

John, you hung out with the love of your life...your wife. That is all I ever wanted on a New Years. I could care less about the celebrations and wild parties. In my opinion, you had the best New Years of all.

#2012-01-01 23:19:05 by panda2009 @panda2009

And happy Spring Festival in China also!

#2012-01-02 01:17:26 by tanshui @tanshui

Happy New Year to the both of you, and anyone else reading this blog.

New Year's Eve day began here in Halifax, Nova Scotia with pouring rain. It was windy so umbrellas were getting pulled inside out.

It rained all day.

New Year's Eve the rain stopped. This allowed the celebrations down by the harbour at the Grand Parade (a big public square) to go ahead. And I watched this on TV beginning at about 11:15 with my Father who is 88. There was a very good band called the Mellotones providing music. There was large Ball that began to be lowered as the count down to the New Year began.

I had charged our glasses and my Father and I toasted out the old and welcomed in the New Year. Hen Hao!

The rain began again around 12:45am.

As I write this on New Year's Day the sun is poking out and there is some blue sky. Life is good.

In terms of coffee drinking I have begun to drink Americano's at Starbucks but when I am in Beijing or Shanghai I enjoy going to Costa Coffee, a British coffee company similar to Starbucks. Same type of environment but I find the staff friendlier.

Happy New Year.

#2012-01-02 09:55:49 by bmccull @bmccull

+1 for Costa Coffee. I thought it was great!

#2012-01-07 20:24:08 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

I've seen several Costa Coffee Bars, but only entered one. Given a choice of almost any decent coffee bar or Starbucks I'll almost always choose the former because I don't like the burnt taste that Starbucks has deliberately given it's coffee by over-roasting every variety of bean. They did that as a deliberate marketing ploy to fool Americans (and Canadians) into believing their coffee was stronger caffeine wise because it tasted stronger. It's a ploy that has obviously served them well but frankly I prefer the "unburnt" taste of properly roasted traditional coffee.

However, down by West Lake there is a Starbucks and a Costa Coffee side by side and when I chose Costa Coffee I found the service in that one to be non-existent and the coffee to be weak and tasteless. I've since gone with the Starbucks several times because we love hanging out on that part of the lake.

Now that I've seen two good reviews of Costa the next time I spot one I'll give it another try.

#2012-01-07 20:27:45 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Oh, and to anonymous, you're quite right. It was one of the better New Year's Eves in my life, and that's because of the company I was keeping. Not much else matters as much as that.

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