We picked up the girls from Andrews and headed into town to Welcome in the Year of the Snake. It was the girls second Chinese New Year and the first in Melbourne itself. In fact it may be my first Chinese New Year in Melbourne itself. We parked in my favourite spot in Carlton which allowed us to go down through the Exhibition Gardens. They were very excited.
We wandered from the gardens in a little bit of a hurry to reach the parade.There were lots of people heading in the same direction as us. When we got to Little Bourke Street there was a large crowd. Because of the narrow confines of the street we were unable to get up close to see the Dragon. But the girls did not want to anyway, they did not like the loud noise of the fire crackers.
Unlike the Sydney Chinese New Year, which is a glamorous parade through much of the city, this was very much a local Chinese Community Affair, very earthy and home grown. It was very like what happens in China itself, and I have not heard so many crackers in one place at one time since we saw a wedding in Yang Shuo in china in 1994.
We headed off to get some lunch at the Crown Cafe Bakery. (One of Kirsten’s haunts and quite good food at a reasonable price. My Red Curry Chicken was good, but Kirsten’s Massaman Beef Curry was a bit tough.)
We then headed back up to the Chinese Museum. Because Little Bourke Street was so packed and to avoid the fire crackers, we headed up Lonsdale Street. This turned out to be good as we saw several of the dragons heading back from the end of the parade so we saw the dragons with their percussive bands but without the fire crackers.
We tried another abortive attempt to go up Little Bourke Street, by crossing over on Russell Street. This allowed us to stop for a moment to watch a bit of a Peiking Opera performance. I was a bit surprised that the girls were quite happy watching the opera. They would have stayed there for longer, but we wanted to get to the Museum. Before we left we got some some lemonade and headed back up Lonsdale Street.
On the way we did stop in a Lane Way where the Yellow Dragon was going from business to business. I explained to the girls what they were doing as we watched one dragon and it’s drum head into a business on the lane way.
We finally found the little lane way (Cohen Place) where the entrance to the museum is located and headed in. The girls were very excited and enjoyed much more of the museum than I expected. We saw the dragon on the ground floor and followed it’s tail. I explained how I once carried one of these dragon segments in the Moomba Parade and how it was very heavy. Up on the top floor Teresa wanted to show me all the exhibits.
After this we started heading home. We headed up Little Bourke Street. There was a crowd watching another dragon performance which was blocking the street before which we were able to negotiate with the pram before getting up to Parliament Railway Station.
There is a nice little park here and we had a rest. By now the girls were very tired. I explained to Teresa how to tell a mummy lion from a daddy one. The mummy has the baby and the daddy the ball. They were both a little horrified that the mummy lion had the baby under her foot, but I explained that this was what lions do. Teresa came up with the rationalisation that it must be because the mummy lion was putting a nappy on the baby,
We headed back past the Exhibition Building and the Melbourne Museum. We stopped to play in the playground in the grounds. This too has become a bit of a tradition The girls both had a bit of a tantrum when we had to leave and the good times come to an end. So we just grabbed some take away pizza and gelato form La Porchetta in North Carlton before heading home. Both of the girls went to sleep on the drive home.