Below are some tips for future travels to China during the Chinese New Year followed by our Chinese New year adventures in Yangshuo.
CHINESE NEW YEAR TIPS
Whether you’re in a big city or small village buy a mask & wear it to save your lungs from all the exhaust & smoke in the are around this time.
While you’re buying those masks also invest in a good set of ear plugs or you won’t sleep for a month & you may loose some hearing.
Be prepared for 2 weeks of broken sleep, whether it be from loud noises from the fireworks/firecrackers or from smoke you will be woken up a lot.
As for activities this can vary considerably from place to place but be prepared for many shops & restaurants to close and for prices to increase. Don’t stress there’s usually some place to get something to eat just don’t expect it to be your favorite such and such that you’ve found.
Expect the last weekend of the holiday to be the busiest. People are finished with the customary family time from the beginning of the holiday and now it’s either time for them to return home or for them to travel a bit before returning home. For those in the large city you may not see a huge difference here but for those of us in small villages it can be a major change.
Buy something to keep with you for breakfast. Nothing opens early and the places you have found you love for breakfast will likely close for the holidays.
For those of you in China for this time Gong Xi Fat Cai!
OUR CHINESE NEW YEAR IN YANGSHUO
The last two weeks have been a blur of festivities and colds. Yangshuo Park put up beautiful lanterns & lights while vendors began setting up all over the streets. More local stores and restaurants closed for a portion of it to go home to visit family in other parts of China. Those of us who stayed here went shopping at the markets to make hot pot & dumplings together at the academy and went to a wonderful New Years Eve dinner together. The dinner was a great time to get to know peers better. Unlike other places where for New Years Eve the streets are packed with festivities, here we went to watch fireworks from the top of a local pub and we were the only ones around. When we left the streets were empty.
Along with the festivities have come 2 long weeks of fireworks & firecrackers at all hours day & night. We were abruptly awakened New years morning to firecrackers at 6am & even last night Feb 11 at midnight were massive fireworks right outside our window. The air has been filled with continuous smoke as we’ve gone about our days, even making it difficult to sleep at night due to the smoke coming in from outside & this morning even finding ash on the tissue when I blew my nose. It will be a very long time before we want to see fireworks again!
While all this was happening we ended up with some sort of cold. Robert went in to get medicine at one of the clinics where IVs are given on the sidewalk & 10 year olds measure out the medicine. Although not what we usually think of as a clinic the medicine they gave worked, that’s what matters right. Mine didn’t last quite as long so I let it heal naturally. My cough took a couple of days to go away especially since it was continually agitated by smoke & on New Years Day I had a splitting headache so instead of joining everyone on a bike ride I went home to rest. This was all for the best because I felt much better after a much needed rest.
We spent the next few days exploring. The streets have been much busier with everyone on holiday so the bike riding has been very interesting considering the streets around here seem to have no real rules or guidelines. The roads often feel like a free-for-all. Hopefully in a later post I will have one of the GoPro videos to show you of the streets. After almost a month here we finally found a few places to get coffee down by the Li River & on one such morning we began chatting with a friendly British man who then joined us for a long ride along the Yulong River the following morning. Was quite a nice ride. We originally went in a similar direction of what we’ve previously done but on the return we went over one of the bridges and onto a small dirt path to get back. We accidentally passed the main bridges & ended up crossing over ankle deep water on a concrete portion of the river to get back to the correct side. It seems to be warming up quite quickly and we’ve been blessed with several days of sunshine this week. Hopefully this nice weather sticks around to get some more exploring & pictures in this weekend!
Hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about our Chinese New Year. For more pictures visit Oehlerphotography.com.