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Reisverslag My trip to Mainland China, For Chinese New Year
25 februari 2015
My trip to Mainland China, For Chinese New Year
But back to the story the first exciting thing was will be Chinese Visa do his job and can I get into China, this was no problem, no questions I could just enter. The place of destination was Guangzhou, you can find it on Google maps, it is above Hong Kong. After a three hour tour we arrived at our destination and my first impression of the city was that it looked awful, really dirty and smelled bad. The dad of my fiancé owns a house, or more a penthouse on the 13th floor of a nice building in the center of the village next to the river. This river as you can see on the photos was really dirty all the trash was thrown into the river, it was the trash bin of the city. But now back to the house the house looked really nice. It has a big living room with kitchen and a balcony, where all the wash was hanging. Next there were three bedrooms and one bigger bedroom with 3 beds. There were three bathrooms and two of them had a normal toilet and one just a whole in the ground, this are the common toilets in China. Besides this big house there was also a smaller but still very nice big room on the roof of the building were you could watch television and play Mahjong, drink tea and had dinner with a bigger group. While we were there the first days this room on the roof was not finished yet and in this room also a kitchen was build and an extra toilet with water. All the rooms were decorated in a typical Chinese style. This is not always comfortable so were the couches from wood just like the chairs and the mattress are not soft like in the Netherlands but hard, like if you camp outside on a too small airbed, so this was something I had to get used too. The purpose of the big house was to give shelter to a lot of people, but the first days we were only with Bella her little brother, sister, mum, dad and grandma.
The first day I went out I found out that the people in this town are not used to western, maybe I was even the first Dutch guy over there. Nobody spook English over there and everybody and I mean everybody was watching me. Not only watching but they also stared at me. Even if there were driving a car or a motor they looked back to stare at me. In shop family was called to get a look at me. When I came closer they all moved away they were also afraid. Next to being afraid they took pictures of me if I was a new specie. Even in the shop I visited they talked about me the days after (heard from Bella her sister). Another thing was they had no signs on the road and the traffic just drove where they wanna to drive. Also the road was used for stalls and people to walk so this was sometimes a bit dangerous. They also don’t have a fee for using the horn. Really everywhere you walked people used the horns.
Another thing we found out the first day in China, is that we did not had google anymore as our biggest friend, so If you have an android phone, which is new and not with many apps yet, it will stay that way because you cannot access the play store. If you use gmail, you are also lost because this is blocked as well. Same with Instagram and Facebook. The only way you can use it is via a VPN connection to somewhere outside of China.
From the day we arrived until the day we left it looked like it was every day war, because new year was coming. Every day you could hear the sound firework, I don’t mean the flares, but the firework on the ground. The closer the new year was coming the more firework was lighted.
During the week more family was arriving and on the end we were staying with 13 people in the big house, this was a bit crowded and every day we ate all the three dishes with all of us and sometimes guest joined us. It was not always easy because the common language they spook was Chinese and most of them could not even speak English and my mandarin learning book was still in Hong Kong. Now you are maybe asking yourself: What was on the menu every day? The Menu was every day a bit of the same we had all a bowl of white rice and on the table which you can rotate were standing different dishes: Green vegetables, beef, chicken, fish, pork, seafood, organs of different animals, mushrooms, noodles, meatballs and also their oliebol, it is smaller and if it is cold almost not possible to eat. There was some variation In the dishes on the table but everyday there was being cooked. Three times a day we had warm food and sometimes for breakfast we went to a restaurant and had breakfast there but the same idea. Only instead of rice we had noodles. The food was good, really good. The chicken was freshly slaughtered every day again, on the balcony we had also some chicken walking around. This is really common in this town, the chicken are walking on the streets and on the shores of the river.
On the 18th of February it was the last day of the year and on this day there were some traditions. The first activity on this day was going to meet the whole family and I mean the whole family. So we went outside of the city to the outer skirts of the town, the farmers, and over there the buildings were older and more dilapidated than in the town, but one of the big farmhouses was from the family Chan, not that they lived there anymore but they also don’t take the effort of demolish the old building. But it looked really nice and you got an impression of how it looked in the old days. In front of the big farm a lot of Chinese people were standing ready to meet me and make some offers to their ancestors. Their offer was a slaughtered chicken in a basket with candy, fruit and other stuff you can see it on the pictures combined with three shot glasses of vodka. We all had to bend down three times and again a really big ground firework(duizendklapper) was lighted which made really a lot of sound. After the first ritual we went to a place closer to the mountains were some praying houses were build filled with symbol and statues all with fruit and candles and again we fired firework and did the praying three times. Some of the ancestors were buried in the hills in caves made my human.
After buying some firework we had at home our own dinner and again there was a chicken slaughtered and we prayed to our ancestors and had dinner. After the praying you throw the vodka glasses on the ground. I don’t know the meaning of all the rituals but I joined it. Now it was time for dinner and tonight we had to refill our bowl with rice, with new rice as symbol of we have more than enough food.
As you can imagine every second closer to 12 o clock the amount of firework was increased and the last half hour our whole house was blue of the fireworks from outside so much firework was lighted. Everywhere where you looked there was fireworks. Happy new year. The real moment it was 12 o clock was not possible to know and also not tradition to make wishes to each other. This all happens on the days after. To give everybody the best wishes they learned me some sentences which I have to say to everybody. You maybe think after new year’s eve they all have used all there firework but this is not true. It will just go on. Firework is used as symbol see how much I have. Showing off to each other. You can really see why China invited the fireworks.
Next days were for the best wishes and for the kids to collect lucky money or pocket money. It is a tradition for people who work or are married to give money to the kids of their friends and family so every time there were coming quest all the kids ran to the living room collected lucky money and said wishes and went back with what they were doing. The lucky money is packed into really nice looking envelops most are red. The tradition is also to put the collected pocket money below your pillow so it will bring good fortune.
The first evening after new year we went out to light the Chinese balloons with our wishes on it. All those balloons in the air really gave the feeling you are in a fairytale, looked really beautiful. But it is absolutely forbidden, because it is really dangerous, it is open fire. But around new year you are allowed. In the town there was also a big square filled with stalls were you could get food and play games, do activities so we also walked over there and enjoyed the warm feeling of it. Games you can think of are darting on balloons and win prices, throwing rings on caches with pets which you can win then or on toys. There was also a bath filled with water where small kids could row a small boat or go in a big air balloon and then run over the water. There were whole tracks with air cushions, which you could climb and jump off again, was fun.
Foto's bij verslag (20)
25 februari 2015 21:31 | Door: Debbie Hettinga
Wat leuk om je verhalen te lezen! Veel plezier daar!