Chu Shi Si:

Nicholas Quirke was preparing for the finale of Chinese New Year on 25 February 2021 and for the morning he puts on his interior decorating hat to position and hang the 9 Lanterns which would be in place for the auspicious Lantern festival the next day. Nine lanterns because 9 九, JIǓ sounds just like 久 (jiǔ), which means “long lasting” and “eternity” in Chinese and on birthdays and wedding celebrations, the number 9 is welcome as it represents longevity. Nine is also traditionally associated with the Chinese emperor. The emperor’s robes had nine dragons on them, officials were organized in nine ranks, and the Forbidden City is known to have a total of 9,999 and a half rooms. With the creative part his day complete Nicholas trad a familiar path to the the Exit/ Entry bureau to collect his passport which now would see him through to the 17th of March. He followed up this now mundane task with a visit to the recently discovered Corner Cafe where he noisily sipped tea, ate nuts and tapped away at his I-pad in the ‘Quiet Room’ which offered the only available seats. He worked hard and happily then realised he still needed to get to the police station before it shut at 17.30. He cycled furiously to the subway and when he arrived at Chanchunjie he peddled with equal ferocity to get him too the station for 17.28. The doors however were firmly shut and he would have to make the pilgrimage to register his accommodation in the morning. Tang Yuan, sweet glutinous rice balls, was once again on the menu for supper and equally delicious, but not in the least sweet was their evening movie, ‘I Care A Lot’. The evil that men or in this case, women do was a thought provoking feast to go to sleep on.

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