Another aspect of smaller Chinese towns that I love are the handmade objects, especially the baskets. Baskets are everywhere in Chaozhou: carried on shoulders of farmers & attached to both sides of a motorcycle. The density of the weave changes with the function. For example, baskets meant to use as a cage for chickens or to hold large items are a very large-scale open weave, while baskets meant for holding small items have a very tight weave. The patterns created are beautiful.
After a six-hour bus ride from Guangzhou, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Chaozhou, but was very happy to be there to visit my good friends and their newborn baby. Chaozhou is a fairly small and quiet city (by Chinese standards), and I was grateful for the chance to visit the farmland and old village within the city that may soon be demolished in China’s push to modernize.
Although Chinese New Year has a lot of different names, the tradition is the same…it is a time (sometimes the only time during the year a family can get together in one place) for families to come together and have fun, eat food, and light some fireworks. Last year we spent it with our dear friends at their house with family & friends. We made dumplings and shared some rice wine, then when midnight struck, we bought some fireworks and had some fun in the streets!
This year was a bit more relaxed, and on New Year’s Day, we went to the local park to have a stroll…us and 500 other Dongguan residents! The weather was great, a sunny 70 degrees, and everyone and their families were out for some good old-fashioned fun.
For some reason Chinese Muslims have the lock on snack carts in China. They sell raisins & nuts, a flatbread similar to naan, and a “cake” in the loosest sense of the word…it’s a densely-packed snack of nuts & fruit, bound together with sugar. A little piece of advice: agree with the vendor on a price before he cuts you a piece, or things could get expensive quickly.
I love these makeshift stands on the side of the road here in China…this man is selling dates & raisins, but you can find, mango, pineapple, watermelon, nuts, and so much more. Just keep walking down the street!