When I came back to Mix Hostel I was told I only could have my 'single room' for two days, then I'd have to change. That was OK. But when I asked the other day where I was going to move to Elaine wasn't sure about it and disappeared to ask. She came back telling me, I didn't have to move.
This is a 'social' day. Yesterday Laura asked if I had signed up for the tour tomorrow. I hadn't heard about it. "A tour to the countryside" it was called. That sounded nice - and it was free.
We meet at 9.30 when 3 minibusses are ready, well, maybe we don't leave until 10 but even that's pretty exact according to times in China.
We go 20-25 km to the south-west. There are to dutch girls, a belgium girl and a canadian in my car. We talk about where in China we've been and China in general, for example the pocitical system, and there we don't agree.
We're walking around a lake. It's originated from a dam, so water can be saved for dry periods. It's 5-8 km around, I don't count the time and when you talk you don't notice time and place (I don't). Except for the landscape. It's beautiful. The beautiful waving landscape I saw from the bus two years ago on my way from Chongqing. Now I'm walking in it. A local family has bought the rights for the lake and sells fishing licenses - and it's a popular place to fish you can see. There are both traditional farms and newly build houses. We arrive at a 'store' which looks like it has for 50-50 years, I'd reckon. An old couple has it. MAYBE they could live from it once. Now it can only be a subcidy for the pension. They mainly sell candy and that kind of stuff. Provisions are produced by the farms. You may also have been able to buy pencils and other school materials.
The shelter in front of the hatch is filled with bamboo furniture. Here they've been sitting drinking tea no doubt. Maybe still.
|A break at the shop in the countryside||Bamboo furniture|
Laura has brought things for a snack. A pile of thin pancakes and a plastic bag
with oiled sliced vegetables, they're not too spicy she promises. But even this
not too spicy ("bu la"), is too much for some of the girls who thanks no in
advance. It's great, but a bit spicy. I eat two, some of the vegetables are nice
The walls are covered with posters and messages. I ask about some official looking ones with stars and lightning. It's about electricity. Probably from the age where they had first electricity. I have a clue about how it was from "Pavillion of women" (Pearl S. Buck), a recommendable movie. Tear stained love and chinese society, culture andd history.
Anyway the bulb from then is still hanging from the ceiling, it looks at least like that.
The canadian show to speak chinese. I'm always wildly impressed when I meet westeners who can. He can also read - unbelievable. But he's also been studying here. But not that long it seems.
At one time we talk about age. I have to admit having passed 60. Laura asks how old we think she is? There are several guesses. I claim that from her looks she could be in the beginning of the twenties, but from her way of acting my guess would be 30. She's 28. The canadian has small wrinkles around his eyes and grey stribes in his dark hair. So I estimate him to be 40. Some of the others think likely. He's only 35, but he doesn't seem offended.
When we've been around the lake we move on to the "ancient town", a town totally kept in traditional chinese style and all shops. There seems to be a tradition for newly wed people to go here to have their photo taken. There are a lot of shops with bridal dresses. The rest is mummery and snacks. And a traditional chinese tea house, like those I expected to find along the river in Chengdu, but they were long replaced by modern time. But there should still be some left other places. Where the old men sits all day drinking tea and playing: chinese cards, ordinary cards, chinese chess, mahjong a.s.o.
The belgium girl and the canadian are the most resonable, I think. When we talk about traffic, they also see some logic in the way it functions, while "the hens" just find it crazy.
In the evening I go on talking with the canadian. He offers me pictures he's taken during the day, I on the other hand offers a beer. An israeli girl joins later. When she hears about my trip to Maoxian she's all ready to go. She don't just want to "have fun". She had been thinking of going to have a look at the latest earthquake in Qinghai, which I in the most serious way dissuade her to do. To the chinese she'd just be another burden, like I was, even I took care of myself.
It's almost 23.30 before I get to bed.
|A visit to the local school||Coming brides?|