Finding a way through holidays

By Matt Hodges ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-04-15 09:20:49

Opposite my office they had put up white statues outside the Lane Crawford store that vaguely resembled a polar bear and some penguins. Something about those cold, white, godforsaken geometric shapes filled me with a sense of horror. Japanese girls in Cosplay uniforms would have been way better, even geometric ones.

Finding a way through holidays

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Finding a way through holidays

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I spent much of the vacation working, reading the Old Testament (especially the part about how to build a temple cubit by cubit) and wondering why I wasn't snowboarding in Andorra. As the mercury under my bed sheets plummeted to minus 10, I drew my hoodie tighter, downloaded Christmas carols like In the Bleak Midwinter and watched slasher movies wishing I was one of the victims.

A month later it was Spring Festival and the penny dropped that this is the Chinese Christmas, which is why the real one drops into a wormhole along with anyone who believes in it.

What Chinese New Year means to me is: Quieter streets; a citywide lock-down due to stratospheric flight prices; human stampedes at all other portals out of Shanghai.

I reasoned that it was safer all round if I spent the holiday dividing my time between M1NT, Muse on the Bund, The Book of Job, episodes of Family Guy, and medicinal doses of soju for breakfast.

Then something happened that redeemed my faith in mankind: An elderly Shanghainese lady invited me to take her taxi one morning as the heavens opened and snowdrifts appeared. It was the weirdest thing.

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