A China Travel Holiday Special... MEET THE GROOMS! Episode 15: Fire in the sky

Culture | by Aimee Groom
Posted: March 1st, 2011 | Updated: April 28th, 2011 | Comments
Huangshan, anhui The intrepid Aimee Groom (aka Daughter From Hell) is back from her own travels in Europe but the story continues as we 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. >>> Sent: Tue, February 10, 2009 9:59:15 AM Subject: China travels We put off the adventure to Zhenjiang to spend another day sightseeing in Yangzhou. Then we went out for a meal; any meat you like as long as it's duck, and whatever you like with it as long as it's noodles. All for £1 each! Then we trusted Little Miss Sunshine in the hostel reception—she thought we were the perfect couple for whom to sort out a hostel room and travel. She came up trumps, her note to the taxi driver "Good morning please take this dear old couple to the bus station and don't rob them, charge them the meter rate" worked like a charm. So did her note for the coach station and the hostel here in Zhenjiang, which is in the middle of the old town which itself is gradually being restored. (Continues after the jump... ) Knocked off a couple of temples and then went out for the Lantern Festival which is the last day of the Lunar New Year festival and appeared to merely be an opportunity to let off all the left over fireworks. However, then we saw a few children towing rabbit lanterns with candles in them... then we got to the town square and saw lots of lights in the sky and found they were paper lanterns with meths burners in them. You open the bag up, light the burner and when the bag is full of hot air you let it float upwards. They go very high. Anyway about a dozen had already been launched and we were watching a young couple who had lit theirs and were preparing to launch when they arrived! The bloody lantern police! Three of them. They grabbed the lantern nearly causing a fire in the process. What killjoys! Anyone would think having a paper bag with a flaming container of meths floating over your head was dangerous. So much for the Lantern Festival. After the Chinese New Year we would not care if we never saw or heard a firework again. A few points of interest, firstly there is a drought here in China and it is threatening the wheat crops. We have only had two rain affected days in seven weeks. Secondly we have noticed a practice in many restaurants whereby rice, bowl, plate, spoon and glass are all shrink wrapped together. Once they have been used they are put in crates out on the pavement where they are collected and replaced with clean ones, the dirty ones are taken away for washing and more shrink wrapping. Sadly an old man round the corner has died and they have laid him out in a red shroud in a room opening on to the street. At his feet is a photo that looks remarkably like Simon Cowell, but that's probably wishful thinking. Just round the corner the authorities have built a nice new road, it is tree-lined with lots of bushes along the edge. It would look lovely except the locals have strung washing lines between the trees and hung their clothes on them to dry. To be continued... PS—We think we have worked out why the Chinese carry their dogs everywhere. To save them walking in other peoples' spit.
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