With the weather as cold as it is, we could see why it might be hard to believe that the official start of spring (according to the Chinese almanac, anyway) is just around the corner. Alas, time marches on and, like it or not, the week-long period of unabiding emptiness (where the cityscape as you know it becomes a desolate vacuum of isolation and ennui) is almost upon us. Very soon now, your neighbors will leave you and you will be utterly alone in Guangzhou.
For some, of course, the carless highways, empty streets, blue skies, and unpeopled metro cars will come as a welcome respite from the usual human crush that characterizes our city in normal times. Others, though, will no doubt be left adrift on a tide of desolating solitude.
For those who fall into this latter category, allow us to prescribe a remedy: get thee to Yide Lu street market. Chinese New Year offers a unique opportunity to festoon your cold apartment with auspicious paper-cuts, spring couplets, sunflower seeds, packaged sweets and all manner of other signifiers of festive cheer. The time is ripe for you to get in on the action.
This year, as always, the streets and alleys surrounding the Onelink Plaza toys and stationary wholesale market on Yuexiu District’s Yide Lu have transformed themselves into a veritable sea of chunjie red, with vendors hawking all manner of vital supplies that self-respecting families require to properly ring in the Lunar New Year.
The standard shopping list of red envelopes, good luck door-hangings, dried fruits and nuts, individually packaged sweets and, of course, Danish butter cookies is collectively known as nianhuo or, ‘New Year’s gear.’
Whether you’ve been there before or are a first time visitor, head on down and stock up to make sure you are kitted out to ring in the Doggy Year in style.