A Golden Week
My National Day holiday is quickly coming to and end, 6 days down, 1 to go. National Day commemorates the founding of The Peoples Republic of China. The official National Day is October 1st, but most folks here in China end up having 7 consecutive days off, that is, after a little schedule jockeying. It’s one of China’s two remaining Golden Weeks, the other coming during Spring Festival. Three days paid holiday are given, and the surrounding weekends are re-arranged so that workers in Chinese companies usually get seven continuous days of holiday. What that means is we usually have to work the weekend before or after the 7 day break. Not really a week of vacation, you work 7 days to get 7 days, but fine with me. The government began the practice back in 1999 , supposedly to help drive the economy as folks took time to travel and go shopping. It’s debatable just how much the economy is bolstered by the extra time off but one thing is certain, a lot of folks do travel. Fares double and triple and if you don’t have somebody “inside” to get your bus or train ticket far in advance, you are simply outta’ luck. Resort hotel’s also charge ridiculous prices during this time, so, I stayed home. It was a good decision, actually it’s been a great week. The weather in south China has been unbelievable. It’s sill quite warm during the day with cloudless blue skies and no humidity to speak of. Nights are cooling off and I have been able to sleep without the AC for the first time since mid-April. I’ve caught up with my photo processing and, as you can read here, I am actually posting in the blog regularly. Yesterday I took a walk around the neighborhood, a lot of folks were out and I was able to take a ton of photos in the kind of light photographers dream about. I spent about two hours in a riverside park watching street performers and the crowds.
Takin’ A Drag In Drag
The old fellow above was a blast to shoot. He is one of the performers in a traditional folk opera group comprised entirely of retirees. He had removed his make up, most of it anyway, and was watching the rest of the performers from the side “stage”. I love his s-shaped furrowed brow, permanently etched into his forehead after years of hands-free smoking. I watched him for nearly two hours and not once did his right eye completely open. He chain-smoked continuously, except for a brief few moments when he actually dozed off during a particularly raucous part of the show. Yes, he really is asleep.
The group gets together every holiday and some weekends, as long as the weather is nice. They put on a fun show for the locals and busk a little cash as well. I’ve seen them three different times now and always get some great photos. The guy below is the friendliest guy in the group, an animated sort and his acting is completely over the top.
Real Men Wear Pink – The Sequal
The best voice in the group belongs to Ms. Chen. She is still a bit of a flirt and owns up to being well into her 60’s. When she saw me this time, she told me it was always good for the troupe when I showed up. First, she said, I draw some curious onlookers who might not otherwise stop. Second, I always give them some cash, and that encourages others to do the same. So, I am a patron of the arts in Liuzhou! I now have my own reserved (pink) plastic stool. Below she is seen working her way up the scale in the classic, very distinctive, shrill vocal style of traditional Chinese opera. It grows on you. Slowly.
Ms. Chen Hits A High (Shrill) One
The park was full of families enjoying the perfect weather. It’s the last time off many of them will have until Spring Festival in late January. This little girl was so cute. Absolutely filthy but adorable nonetheless, she never noticed me as she watched the show.
Lost In The Moment
Conversely, this tyke couldn’t take his eyes off me and the camera! Grandma told me, he had never see a Laowai before nor had he seen anyone as big as me! He was a sweet boy and eventually walked over to take a look at the LCD.
I’ll have many more photos from my holiday week posted on the Flickr site. Check them out if you have the time. Tomorrow, I’ll begin preparations for returning to work. I’ll have some tailoring done, get my printer repaired (hopefully), and update student records on the computer. It feels like I may actually be into some sort of routine with the blog, we’ll see if it will last!
So, what else? Dodgers are up 2-0 on the Cubs and I thought I would be happy about that, the Dodgers being the team of my youth. Now I am actually feeling a bit sorry for the Cubs and wouldn’t be all that upset if they came back and won the thing, putting an end to the “curse”. Kentucky plays Alabama later today, we’ll soon know if the Cats are for real.
That’s all I got for now, so, until next time…