A China Travel Holiday Special... MEET THE GROOMS! Episode 10: The Year of the Ox arrives with a BANG!

Culture | by Aimee Groom
Posted: January 27th, 2011 | Updated: March 31st, 2011 | Comments
[showtime] Click above to view slideshow. The intrepid Aimee Groom (aka Daughter From Hell) is back from her own travels in Europe but the story continues as we approach Chinese New Year in MEET THE GROOMS! Think of it as China Travel Reality TV holiday special (without the TV). So, without further ado, please Meet John and Lesley Groom, the backpackers with a bus pass. In December 2008, this adventurous pair of Shanghai, Zhejiang, Anhui, Taiwan, Fujian, Guizhou and Jiangsu. >>> Huangshan, anhui Sent: Thurs, January 29, 2009 1:38:39 PM Subject: Travels in China cont'd Got to the caves but it took four hours to do eighty miles because of the winding mountain road, the markets, traffic jams etc. The Zhijin Caves were awesome in size. Then had a meal in the car park where you could see your breath it was so cold. Then on to Anshun. The hotel reception was freezing—they don't allow heating and for some unknown reason they never shut the outside doors! The three Chinese dolly birds behind the reception all wore overcoats with fur collars. Now it is Chinese New Year's Eve. Passing from the Year of the Rat to the Year of the Ox. So if you are about to have a baby hang on until after midnight between 25th and 26th Jan to make sure you don't have a rat!! (More after the jump...) We celebrated by going to the Huangguoshu waterfalls. You are supposed to be 70-years-old to get a discount but frankly they know that at that age you would be unlikely to survive walking up the steps to the waterfall. We did however negotiate a discount for the two of us. The Huangguoshu falls were quite impressive and the scenic park around them very enjoyable. There had been fireworks going off all week but this evening there were far more of them. We went out but almost everywhere was shut. We managed to find a place open and had noodle soup with dumplings and chicken wings together with black beer to celebrate. We watched the fireworks from our room on the fifth floor. There were no formal displays, just people letting off fireworks in the streets parks and gardens all over town. The noise built up during the evening to a crescendo just before midnight. The fireworks are so powerful that they set off all the car alarms making even more noise. The fireworks are on sale everywhere. There seems to be no regulations about them. Everyone lets them off from toddlers to old men. They hold them in their hands when clearly they shouldn't. The firecrackers come in twenty-yard strips and make so much noise to ward off the evil spirits around at the end of the old year. Anyway here we are. The Year of the Ox! It is New Year's Day, so what do you do to celebrate? You and your family put on your best clothes and go for a walk along the hard shoulder of a motorway! Hundreds of them doing it. Even kids playing with a remote control car on the hard shoulder and inside lane. We celebrated by doing more caves (Longgong Caves), this time with a boat ride in the cave. Then off to Kaili to start touring round some of the Miao villages. Nothing much in Kaili so amused ourselves investing £10 in fireworks. For that you get enough fire power to wage war on one of the smaller nations. Two boxes of aerial fireworks, twenty yards of firecrackers, and half a dozen flame throwers. Great fun. Tomorrow we head to Miao country!
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