Hong Bao Na Lai!

Many Chinese citizens hIMG_0715-001ave been on the go the past few days, criss-crossing the country and heading to their family homes to celebrate the Lunar New Year. It’s apparently the largest annual (temporary) migration in the world.

But here in Bali, an influx of a slightly different kind happened in the small artists’ village of Batuan, on the outskirts of Ubud. AltIMG_0687hough the party hostess (and organic farm owner) is of Chinese heritage, she excitedly claimed that her friends and acquaintances attending the day’s festivities hailed from nearly 30 countries.

Indeed, a quick look around IMG_0707at peoples’ well-marked badges confirmed that people were originally from as far away as Greece, Poland, Switzerland, USA, Canada, Taiwan, Australia, Singapore, Germany, Italy, France and Russia. A microcosm of the world, this little Balinese hillside town is, most certainly deserving of an honorary title for UN obIMG_0787server status.

Universal aspirations aside, CC pulled out all the stops: Red-colored decorations around the compound; umbrellas, lanterns, dragon statues, flags, flowers and treats. Even her dress was red satin inlaid with golden threads. Food and dessert overflowed, plenty for a sizable army. Drumming accompanied a 2-man lion dance. A 6-man musical group serenaded thIMG_0745e guests, a lead singer belting out American tunes that had people dancing on the grass – and in the pool.

It was the beginning of the Year of the Snake. And, luckily (or not?), though I’ve crossed paths with a few recently (some alive, others quashed) and though I spied Ron the Snake Man sitting offside with his spouse (most likely with snake-catching gear in tow), blessedly there was not a single such live creature in sight…

Ah yes.. you might be wondering about the title of this posting. Well, the traditional greeting for Chinese New Year is Gong Xi Fa Cai. A typical reply is Hong Bao Na Lai.. which translates to: Red envelope please! (Red envelopes hold lucky money!)


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