(There is no city or place name for this past the province that I was definitely in, because I am afraid I don’t remember… a clear sign I need to finish this series already lol)
We start our day in a town that I do not remember, because I had just started my period and was feeling nauseous and Very Not Good and did not pay attention when my uncle said where we were. My brother and I just kind of strolled throughout the town while our parents and aunt/uncle went off to the original touristy destination, and it was nice to get a breather from the nonstop sightseeing my aunt/uncle are big fans of. We just got to wander around together and pop into stores that caught our eye, and be flattered by light-up café signs that say the sweetest things.
A group of kids were having a dance performance performance at the town square (? Is there a better word for this?), so we sat for a bit while I tried not to feel like barfing and watched them.
I think my brother took a few of these photos while I was feeling pained and pitiful, so pls reach out if you would like to hire him for photography jobs!!
This part of the trip was very chill, and I have no much to say about it other than relaxing on vacation is so nice! Rushing around to see a million things has its days, but just getting to walk around and see things with someone you love (whether your family, your friends, or yourself) has really won me over the past couple years. I guess age will do teach that wisdom to you…. (I turned 22 a week ago. I haven’t stopped thinking of my own mortality since.)
Food now! I don’t remember much about this because it was liiiike over half a year ago lol. Beautiful exterior architecture though, yeah?
This part I do remember! The hotel we stayed in to visit was really cool, and I of course did not take a lot of photos of it. I think in the past few years I’ve been trying to put my phone down and ~be present~* and all that, but I think I’ve done it too much for my liking. I’ve realized that I can’t look back on photos and remember certain memories they trigger, and I like photography and making things and art, and it’s sad to not do it as much. My point is, I think I went too far on the ‘no photos – photos all the time’ scale, and I’m trying to find balance again.
Our hotel was near a national park kind of area, so surrounded by nature and greenery. Each room was basically a fancy tent – like, standing on stilts out of the ground, tent as a roof/walls, but with modern amenities like a nice large bed, elephant towel sculptures, and those fancy Asian toilets that clean your butthole with water. I was a total wimp and didn’t try it out, but I regret it now after reading some articles/watching some videos about butt hygiene lol.
Isn’t this thing beautiful?! The word is 福 (fu), which means luckiness and good fortune.
And now, to the national park I mentioned! This was not so much a hike as a big walk, since it was all paved with a boardwalk and not a hiking trail. A big interest of mine is bilingual signs with funny English translations that either don’t make total sense or are wonderfully poetic – here’s the first one from today! If only all the signs we have in the U.S. that say “KEEP OFF THE GRASS” said “please don’t step on me, I also have a life” instead, huh?
Another one! In case you can’t read it, it says “drifting fallen leaves cause appreciation, littering cause disgust”. I wholeheartedly believe that if we had signs that said “LITTERING CAUSE DISGUST!!” by trashcans instead of a whole lot of nothing or the occasional “trash here”, people would be better about it.
Another activity we did here was rock climbing! It wasn’t super intense, but we got pretty high and I am soooort of scared of heights. I tried not to look down too much and to distract myself from thinking about how I was hanging to life with a carabiner by taking photos. My brother, of course, climbed really fast and occasionally went like “AGH!!” with one hand off the rails, because younger brothers live to scare you.
My boo! On this day, I felt pretty gross – I was tired, felt sick (#menstruation!), and we were nonstop from our morning wake up. My aunt and uncle are, as I said before, intense tourists, and I was so not feeling it this day and wanted so badly to just lay in bed with soup, but etiquette dictated that I had to stick in there so as to avoid upsetting and inconveniencing others with my health. Sometimes I don’t understand how Chinese culture works or why it works this way. I called my boyfriend as soon as we got down from the mountain and chatted with him and Luna for a bit, which made me feel a lot better. Good at emotional support, my family is not, lol. She came and sat down in front of his phone which I take to mean she missed me a lot; not that she wanted to come between J and I and have him all to herself.
Dinner now! Food was lovely, especially after my mood improved. I know a lot of people tend to eat more than they usually do when they’re unhappy, but I actually do the opposite and lose my appetite when I’m unhappy. It’s really bizarre because I very much enjoy eating food and count it as a dear habit, but when I’m feeling depressed or maybe got into a fight with a parent or something, I genuinely lose all inclination to eat. I could be starving and then get into a fight and then I just don’t feel hungry at all. I only realized it a few years ago, but it’s a funny thing I have to keep my eye on.
We had dinner with a big group of people who used to work with my uncle and had this delicious liquor/wine/some sort of alcoholic beverage. My understanding is it was 白酒 (baijiu) that was mulled (? I know nothing about drinks lol) with certain spices and herbs and it came out tasting like a strong cocktail. When you drink in China, you say 干杯 (gānbēi), which means something like ‘cheers!’, so we all clinked and drank, and I completely embarrassed myself by downing the whole shot like we do in the U.S. Turns out that’s not what you do in China and I was supposed to work on it for a while and just take one sip, and only do the whole thing when we agreed to go “干杯!” together.
Another amazing sign. Can our grocery stores be renamed?
This area is home to the Naxi people, who are one of the ethnic minority groups of China. I’m not super sure how to describe this and don’t want to do it wrong, so I’ll just say it was a dance that we joined in on and my dad could not get the steps down the whole time lol.
Before going back to the hotel for some goddamn sleep, we went to this tea house (? Is that what it’s called??) and had some sunflower seeds and a really interesting tea. It’s a local specialty that the Naxi people drink, and it’s really salty. You make it by putting a whole rock of salt in the pot and it tastes exactly how you would expect from that description. Like the salt rinses I did when I got my wisdom teeth taken out. The food the Naxi people like to eat is spicy and kind of heavy on the flavoring, so maybe that’s why the tea is, too?
And this brings us to the end! As always, thanks for reading and I promise I’ll finish these China posts before the summer starts lol