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  • Day5

    From Tourist to Guest

    September 23, 2018 in China ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    The train rolled into Taiyuan right on time, around 2.25pm. Here I headed for the West exit and found Jared, Yuan and her second cousin waiting for me to transport me an hour north by car to her home town of Xinzhou, where her parents lived, my family was staying, and the wedding would be held in a couple days time.

    An opportunity here to talk about traffic in China. It'll appear fairly erratic and wild by Western standards. Speed limits are guides, indicators are optional, horns are plentiful and cars go anywhere at any given time! Mobile phone use when driving is standard, and milimetre collision evasion is expected. You've got to constantly on your toes. Its chaos, but works. When crossing the street, a "pedestrian crossing" is a suggestion.. you've got to walk briskly, confidently and cautiously. If you can predict who is going where and weave between a car and bike, you can assume (and hope) they won't hit you.

    Busy traffic delayed our arrival in Xinzhou a little but we arrived without incident at the hotel I'd spend the next four nights; Funhua Jinglun Hotel. It's basically the grandest, most Western Hotel in the city, organised by Yuans (bride to be) parents. Its nice, and Im on the 23rd floor. I was pre warned about the lack of aircon and its the clear standout issue.

    By 6pm, we headed by 2 taxis (myself, my youngest brother Brody and his fiance Alyssa, my parents, Jared and Yuan) to Yuans parents apartment about 10 minutes away to meet her family and enjoy dinner and drinks. Yuans family home was lovely and her parents were gracious guests leaving us all well fed with plenty of home cooking (noodles, duck, soup, pork etc). The family dog (Jui jui) s a sheep like spawn of Satan but loveable none the less. There were many shouts of Gambei (cheers) as we tried Chinese white wine, some beer and whiskey.
    We saw plenty of excellent pre wedding glamour photos of the bride and groom to be, not before the family albums and baby photos came out. By 11pm we had taxied back to tbe hotel to rest up.

    I'm exhaustes from my Beijing adventures and content to relax, feast and experience true local over the coming days. If Beijing had the fewest Western tourists I've seen for a big city, Xinzhou has none... Tomorrow, afternoon wedding rehearsals! For now, sleep.
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