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Playing In Marys Colourful Village Fields

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day to ya Customs and Traditions V's The new open minded modern generation in China Although ancient customs and traditions must be respected in villages all around the world sometimes they can cause harm to people who no longer think that way in the more modern world we now live in. Or in other words, they can really be a pain in the butt! Like everywhere, here in China there are traditions that the old continue to live by but the younger more open minded generation find frustrating and walled in by. Sometimes, as I found out this weekend, even with the help of parents others can not see past ancient traditions. Being a foreigner here in China has enabled me to become part of many village societies especially in Guangxi. Until this weekend most 'traditions' have been lifted for me allowing me to visit friends homes and return many times after to become close friends with the generations of families that all live together in the one village. I have had the privilege of visiting most of my female friend's villages both with and without other friends accompanying us. Most of the time it was just the two of us. According to village tradition in China if a female brings a male home to her village that can mean only one thing. He is the one she will marry sometime in the near future. I've been very lucky until now. This tradition was explained to me by Yang Yang and Mandy when we first began spending time together. After I understood what it would mean if I was to just appear at a girls village I made sure that prior to each visit my female friend would speak to her family and explain that I am just a visitor. The parents would then explain this to the rest of the village and then it would be open for my visit which then allowed future visits without any misunderstandings. Meaning many village feasts and beer and biajio weekends. This weekend that went a little astray! My friend Mary invited me to her village this weekend, WITH her parent's permission and with total understanding of the above. I caught an early morning bus to Guangze (Gwonza) Town on Saturday. Mary met me at the bus station and we then caught a local 'taxi' van to the next town. It was tiny and pretty much like Tianyang where I used to live but smaller. Her village was a fifteen minute walk from the town. The day was beautiful and we slowly made our way down the main road visiting a temple and several very old and unused homes along the way. The village was on a plane and set amongst the fields. Some full of colour such as pink, mauve and purple. Others were full of shades of green where crops such as tobacco, vegetables and rice grew. Mountains of all sizes and shades of blue surrounded the village on all sides. The largest mountains were part of the Wuyi Shan Ranges that we both wish to visit together sometime in the near future. When we weren't talking the only sound to be heard was silence! Around mid day we finally left the fields and took a track that led to her happy home. It was a simple two story brick house, grey in colour with red window frames. The floors were concrete and apart from a few beds and a television set there really wasn't much more. Her parents welcomed me with happy smiles and soon we all sat for lunch. The food of course was more than delicious as all village food is. After lunch we visited her little school which like her home was very simple. The classrooms contained desks and a black board and the library had a couple of books placed on several shelves. We then headed back out into the fields where several of her students came bounding up to us. They jumped around and it was obvious how much they loved her by the way they clung to her like branches on a tree. We then decided on a huge ride to find a quiet place to fish and then to climb a mountain. So we headed to the only factory in the village where they use flat sheets of wood to make furniture. Here we borrowed two bikes and placed two not so steady front wheels on the road and pedaled in that direction. More of her students caught up with us and raced along side us. Soon they made us swap our bikes for theirs as they had new mountain bikes and they didn't want their teacher riding her not so steady bike. The one I was riding I'm sure had to be the first bike ever built in China and since then it had never been maintained in any way. The children showed us a nice place to fish and then they headed back to the village. The fishing didn't really go anywhere so we headed further into the countryside to find a hill to climb. We dropped our bikes in the long grass and headed down a small track into the ride fields. Our track ran alongside a small river and soon we spent a quiet moment on an old small stone bridge watching the water running beneath us. A little further along the track we began following a local people's track that took us up the side of the hill. It was obvious what the track was for as there were off cuts of wood all along it. I wondered how long this track had been used to carry wood from the mountain above us. As there was no breeze the slightly humid air remained still and the further we went along the track the thicker the air became. Mosquitoes could be heard all around us and little 'things' darted from our approaching feet on both sides. After sometime we decided to head back the way we came as time had caught us and if we were to make it back to her village before nightfall we couldn't finish the climb. How sad as I really wanted to look at the long valley from a height. We slowly made our way back to our bikes stopping for ten minutes to sit on the stone bridge to watch the water flow and to chat. With child like laughter we raced each other back to the main road and then slowly chatted our way back to the village. When we arrived we found that things had changed since we left. Even though her parents had explained I was ONLY a friend and nothing more it seemed the village had other ideas. People were racing around from home to home with their tongues ablaze with their own version of what the future would hold for Mary. Even after it had been explained they decided after all that we were getting married. She had brought me home to meet her parents and that was that. Things got a little confusing for a while. People weren't happy with other people for being so unkind and thoughtless 'after' it had been explained to them prior. In the end we sat in Mary's one bulb dimly lit breezy kitchen and had a quiet supper. I then sat for some biajio with her father and we all began to smile again. Things were ok for now but the sad part is, unless the village accepts my visit for what it was and what had been explained to them, Mary's future could be harmed. If a guy from her village or a village in the area takes an interest in her and finds out that she has brought a guy home to meet her parents prior to him, sadly he will most likely continue his search for a future wife. What she does away from the village is up to her but bringing someone home traditionally has one meaning and in this village, unlike those of Tianyang it is not lifted for anyone. I know her parents were angry at others from the village and maybe they were angry at themselves for inviting me into their home. I do know they believed that I should have been accepted as a 'visitor' and as visitor only. We spent the next several hours all happily watching TV together in their simple lounge room. For now everything was alright. Maybe nothing will come of it, maybe tomorrow or next week or next month everyone will understand who I was and why I was there. Her parents seemed to believe so and invited me back for breakfast the following morning. I was very hesitant at first but after Mary's mother made a very 'special' village treat and made only one bowl which was for me I couldn't say no. I knew I wouldn't return to the village the following morning as imagine what would happen if we were seen together in her home two days running! By torch light and under the protection of umbrellas we all made our way back to the town to grab some supplies and a room for me for the night. Between texts from Mary I spent the night swatting misquotes and reading Haruki Murakami's awesome 'The Wind-up Bird Chronicle'. The following morning Mary and her father walked into town to share breakfast together. I decided it was best for everyone if I left after breakfast and allowed Mary and her family to attend the fortnightly Villages Market. I really wanted to stay and be part of the market as every second Sunday people from surrounding villages all gather in the town and buy and sell all sorts of wonderful things. Mostly vegetables and meat but there are many other things to spend your money on also. We sadly waved good bye to each other and my 'Taxi' Van tooted its way through the gathering crowd of Village Peoples. I spent the afternoon walking my usual Temple Hill walk and then walked along the Four Bridges River Walk and back into town. The Minister for Education had invited myself, Daniel, Alexa and several others to the cities most famous Fish Restaurant. The last time we had dinner with this guy he gave us tickets to see the Russian Orchestra that was playing in town. We all had a wonderful evening clicking chop sticks, chatting and filling our bellies. The fish was divine and the beer was cold. Mary called me to let me know everything went well at the market that day and that maybe the people did understand after all. As it always does, time will tell its own story. It may not be the one we want it to tell, or maybe it will tell an unexpected story! Beers N Noodles to ya...shane The Sountrack to this entry was another of Mike Patton's creations; The band is Tomahawk and the album is also called Tomahawk. Freaky, far out and very awesome!

A Visit To Marys Village

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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