The trip by train to Anqing took forever: the train due to 16:45 arrived around 18 stopping on the way in villages with only a sign written on a post and nobody getting in or out. I have my doubts the doors were actually opening. PanLei told me afterwards that the train is “famous” for being so late.. but there was no other option. During spring festival holidays there were tons of people moving, but the funny thing is that I got a standing ticket in an empty train!! Good for me, there was really no one or almost. So I could sit all the way.
From the first moment I arrived in Anqing, Pan Lei and her family made me feel extremely comfortable, even if I do not understand Chinese and most of them could not speak English. Good translation practice for Pan Lei too 🙂
Also from the first day to the last I enjoyed great food, drinks and company! A very traditional Chinese New Year celebrations, indeed!
Among the other great things I visited the house where 潘蕾 grew up and the father’s factory where he is actually building a new section where the family will move in the close future. Great weather those days, the kind of blue cloudless sky that we had in Hefei almost all December and January.
The same comfortable weather was also during the New Year night, making ever better the walk from Pan Lei’s relatives to the center of Anqing, to the nice area along Yangtze river.
Along the way Pan Lei, her cool cousin and I played with different fireworks, and enjoyed all the others playing as well. And then at the pagoda the real show started with great fireworks.. and extremely noisy firecrackers!!
Along to many traditions similar to Western ones for “our” New Year (or better, for a good start of the new year) during these days I experienced more Chinese traditions. The first day of the year one of Pan Lei’s uncle that is 36 years old (therefore his animal is the rabbit, year 2011) was not allowed to go out of the house and even meet the other people coming into his house. Other Chinese friends told me this is a quite local tradition.
Days that I will remember for sure and a spectacular show much better than the first time I saw it, probably because this time I completely shared it with Chinese people, and one in particular very close to me..