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Paul and Yokos wedding and general mayhem

CHINA | Monday, 18 October 2010 | Views [582]

I’m thankful that after the absolute chaos of Saturday that I spent yesterday charlando with Ana, my friend from Argentina who teaches Spanish in Zhengzhou, and then Julia, who I stayed with, into the small hours of the night, relaxed and happy.

Paul and Yoko’s wedding was beautiful. Even with the bright lights, and the loud stranger talking on the microphone making the special moments seem like a game show. Paul seemed nervous but as Yoko walked down the aisle and the ceremony progressed it was the most natural setting for their love to be concreted in, a perfect union.

After the formalities, at a Chinese wedding it is tradition for the bride and groom to visit each table as the dinner is served and being consumed, and share a shot of BaiJiu with each of the guests. This ends with the wedding party getting rather red in the face, and many well wishes and red envelopes filled with cash to be showered upon the happy couple.

As this was a mix of cultures, the foreign tables were at the front of the large room where it all took place, and the music was dominated by Colin, from Ireland, and soon enough our groups were mixing and delighting in the drunken fun that is usual of a foreign celebration. Silly dancing and general hilarity, and perhaps too much BaiJiu and beer ushered the afternoon’s celebrations to a close. Taxis were taken, pointed toward a 'demonstration' in the center of the city, where of course we could get up to mischief.

Everyone got separated, and so Lien, from the UK and I were left trying to spot in crowds of hundreds of locals, the foreigners we had lost en route. In no time a big circle of Chinese people taking our photos surrounded us. I was laughing; in stitches at the situation, and Lien beside me was craning his neck, trying to see any blonde heads amongst the black ones. We moved a few meters away to try without the crowds of flashes going off around us, and the same circle of different people formed, five to ten raised cell phones thick. One guy, red and angry in the face advanced on Lien shouting in enraged Mandarin who we thought we were and what were we doing there. The situation became dangerous within seconds and I grabbed Lien’s hand and dragged him away from the circle that had closed in on us both, at catalyst that was the angry man charging at us. We ran toward McDonalds, a safe house for any foreigner in the middle of China. Re-grouped with the others at a KFC down the road, still in shock and looking behind us constantly in wariness, our semi-drunken explanations of what had just happened were dwarfed by the other groups story of walking down the street with a flag waving, being the head of what sounded like an impromptu street carnival, thousands of followers chanting for China.

Later we found out the demonstration, which was scattered and disorganized, had something to do with an anti-Japan movement, but I try my best to ignore the inter-Asia politics and racism that is generally unseen in everyday life but vivid in the hearts of a majority of Asian peoples’.

A few of us spent the afternoon drinking at an apartment and playing ping pong and laughing at the absurd events and fun wedding moments, waiting for the hour we were to meet the rest at the bar for more drinking, a wedding after-party if you will. It was great to get to the bar, connect once again with the eclectic drama-infused close-nit group of foreigners living in Zhengzhou. Whiskey, beer and tequila were flowing, the music blaring, this was turning into any other Friday or Saturday night in this polluted city I had for some reason spent a whole year living in. I had moments of ecstasy relishing the cheap and delicious chow mien and spicy mutton skewers down the road at 2 in the morning, and some deep and life-reflective talks with Paul, Oregonian; and Peter, Australian, and a few others who have lived in China upwards of 5 years, not taking part in the outrageous Irish jigs going on around us. I was escorted home by a very slurry Colin, but was able to manage my way through the door without a glitch.

Today I went to have brunch with Tanner, my old flat mate from the US who is a pilot here in China, before coming to the airport a disgraceful 2 hours too early to check in. So I have discovered the benefit of waiting for flights once again, having ample time to write of these exciting experiences I have in my travels.

I am super glad I came back here, and am happy I will get to see most of these awesome friends again when I return to China next year, as I have bags and boxes of belongings stored in 3 different houses.

 

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