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Report: Wellington

Good day dear reader. In this particular article I would like to tell you about my recent trip out to Wellington. I travelled west for the annual festival called Fong Lees Lane as my taiko group, Kumi Taiko were performing.

The festival takes place in and around the narrow Fong Lees Lane in the centre of town which used to be the old chinatown of Wellington in the early days. The Wellington Arts run the event to celebrate the Chinese heritage and culture that helped shape Wellington into what it is today.

We performed in an old shed that used to be Fong Lee’s grocery and dry goods store. The building has a big sliding goods entry door that opens up to the lane and we played there so that passers by could see us. We played throughout the night, attracting a big audience each time.

We had some breaks in between and thankfully we did – if we didn’t our hands would have soon been covered with blisters from beating the drums constantly with our bachi sticks. There were a lot of food stalls in the lane and at times you would be overwhelmed with the different smells of food.

There was this stall next to the shed run by a bunch of women selling some really nice Vietnamese food and they liked our playing so they gave us all home made spring rolls and yes, they sure were some good spring rolls. It seemed like the whole of Wellington had shown up, and some people from Dubbo too.

At the end of the night during our last performance there was a parade with lanterns and a traditional Chinese dragon that paraded through the lane. Overall it was a really nice experience and totally worth the two hour drive there and back.

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