Monday, August 18, 2008

A Wedding Celebration

I wish I had pictures to accompany this post, but alas, I just enjoyed and didn't worry about picture-snapping this time.

For all of its local culture and heritage, Lijiang is also the perfect host to the ephemeral traveler, a network of tourism. And, for all the booming development that it brings, tourism brings a wealth of hospitality, outgoingness, and fun, as well.

Recently, I made friends with Sunny, a cute nine-year-old in my Calligraphy class. Her parents, kind people, invited me to dinner last week--they spend every summer in Lijiang (for the past ~10 years). Lijiang really is their second home.

Tonight, we had something special to celebrate. Sunny's English teacher, a young Australian-Chinese guy, was getting married! Here was the ultimate expression of traveling romance. Two months ago, on a planned year of traveling abroad, he met a girl from Xian, also vacationing in Lijiang. They both extended their stay, and are now getting married. Sunny's parents, in wonderful Chinese hospitality, threw a huge traditional wedding bash for them tonight. Horse riding through the streets, anklets with bells on both bride and groom, thousands of red roses decorating the courtyard. Table full of food (all made by Sunny's dad), bountiful wine, a colorful cake, and many, many friends--mostly travelers themselves.

The evening involved a small ceremony for bride & groom (the bride wears a red cloth over her face for the first bit--much like a veil), then the banging of a gong, the kiss, the popping of balloons, the throw of the flowers, the hoots and hollers of the crowd, then eating, drinking, watching Olympics (girls gymnastics), playing with babies, & teasing & laughing.

As we munched away on the glorious banquet, just my luck: I took a bite into my jiaozi (dumpling) and crunched on something hard... a silver coin! As per custom, my good fortune meant I was supposed to perform a talent. In front of Everyone. Woweee. Chanting began, Jia you Jia you... Common Common! I couldn't get out of it.

And so I took a deep breath, and performed.

Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers
A Peck of Pickled Peppers Peter Piper Picked...

Obviously-- they didn't really understand my tongue twister; I guess my talents weren't really on par tonight. Nonetheless, being the pretty American, I got a round of applause all the same(& a boyfriend proposal). It might be superficial, but at least I have that lao wai (foreigner) thing going for me!


ChrisCabrini said...

Your blog is awesome! I can't believe you've kept it up this whole time. As a fellow blogger, I admire your dedication. see u soon!

michael bird said...

Again, a super peek into the daily lives of the locals. A good one. Made me chuckle.