Chinese New Year Celebrations

Living in Washington, DC, offers some unique opportunities such as attending the Chinese New Year Celebrations hosted by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Affairs Office at the National Building Museum. Aaron was invited to attend and I got to go along. I don't usually go to Capitol Hill receptions and you can find one every week. But this one was an annual celebration and Aaron asked me well in advance. :)

Surprisingly, it was a breeze to get to the city—it took me a mere 25 minutes! Valet parking was great and I was in before Aaron got there. I had never been to the National Building Museum before, although it is on my never-ending list of places to visit in DC. It was an impressive building with massive pillars reaching toward the sky, and decked out in red lights and big screens and buffet tables everywhere. I picked a good one to attend!

The place was teeming with people, all with drinks in their hand and a loaded plate. Speaking of loaded, the decadent spread of food was almost sinful. The buffet tables were adorned with a roasted pig—I had never seen a whole roasted pig just sitting on a platter before! Delicious fried rice, wontons of every kind, shrimp rolls, radishes, pork, succulent beef, rhubarb dipping sauce, green beans, parmesan-crusted mahi mahi, (atuocorrect wanted to change mahi to maui..haha), and delicious creamy shrimp and grits. That was just one table! The dessert table was straining to bear the weight of the goodies it carried—chocolate in every kind and version—chocolate dipped strawberries, chocolate ganache, chocolate raspberry bites, decadent cheesecake, banana chocolate crepes and we, in turn, loaded up our plates to relieve the table of its weight. :)

The picture above is one of Aaron greeting the lion. The Commissioner, Mr. Donald Tong, performed a small ceremony in which he dotted the eyes of the lions to bring them to life, and the lion dance commenced. As you can see, the costumes were colorful and the dance was energetic. I managed to quickly snap a shot of them (the first picture, please excuse the bald heads) as they were a bit too energetic to capture on camera.

As we were getting ready to leave, Aaron's friend (don't know his title) who is the right-hand man to the Commissioner himself, introduced us to Mr. Donald Tong. He was a gracious host, had a wonderful sense of humor, understood the American culture in a beautiful way and how to bridge the gap between the two countries, and was very accomplished. We loved talking to him and spent a good 15 minutes or so discussing his appointment as Commissioner, his tenure and political ambitions, his previous work in Hong Kong, and his family. He helped build the new Hong Kong Airport that he says is like a small city. A must-see place when I go to India next time.

The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Affairs Office put on a great show and their guests were treated like royalty. All in all, it was a wonderful evening and I was happy to spend it with Aaron.


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