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Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States

Feb 13, 2011

Kung Hey Fat Choy!

That is the New Year greeting in Cantonese, Xin Nin Kuai le! is one way to say it in Mandarin. Chinese New Year began on February 3rd this year. We celebrated the first day of the Year of the Rabbit with a family hike to
Lai Chi Wo. The old Hakka village gets it name from the Lychee fruit which is native to this region.
We began our journey at Wu Kau tang and it took us about 2 hours to reach the village.

This cluster of houses didn't appear to be lived in, but people were having a party outside on the porches.

On a previous hikes dad had demonstrated how tough bamboo is by snapping a stick against the little trees quickly cleaning it of its leaves. Elliot remembering this asked for dad to get him his own bamboo stick. He then spent some time attempting to clean the smaller trees and shrubs of their leaves.
We found this big one and put his name on it. It was fragrant and had a light and nutty scent to it inside. I know food is sometimes prepared inside bamboo and I can understand how that would add to the flavor of the dish.

The landscape changed along the way and the variety provided us with a fun walk. Mangroves were found along the water, similar to Yim Tin Tsai. The kids had reached a count of 90 piles of "evidence" that cows were around by the time we found the actual cows. They stopped counting piles after 134. Then we came upon a beach with rocks and shells.

We stopped to have lunch here next to a sign that read Lai Chi Wo indicating we had made it but we still had a little walk to reach the village.

Across the water is China. You need a special permit to take the ferry in this area, foreigners are not usually allowed permits.

Between the houses (most are empty) we saw thousands of scraps of red paper. Remnants of the Chinese firecrackers that are used in tradition and some in superstition to scare away the demons.
The kids swung on a vine of a tree called the Derris. This can be seen in the video.

This big tree I believe is an Autumn Pine, there is a whole in it large enough to fit a person.

We had left late in the day and were running short on time so we didn't get to explore more of the woods and trails behind the village. To beat the sunset the kids really had to travel fast. They did so well and kept up the pace even over steeper hills and rocks. On our return trip we spotted a wild boar in the distance. We didn't get the camera out in time to catch it. I am thankful it was far away, I have heard they can be quite aggressive.
It was a pleasant New Years and we enjoyed greeting everyone we met along the way with Kung Hey fat choy.

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