.. and start circling around you, apparently because you attract mosquitoes, you know you are in China. 😀 On our third day together we celebrated May Day Eve. My friend had brought mead and doughnuts all the way from Finland, and we decided to go to the East Lake and have our May Day Eve picnic there. We also planned our trip to Mufu, situated close to the Shaanxi province border, where our plan is to hike the Enshi Grand Canyon, dàxiágu 大 峡谷 and in the Ténglóng 腾龙 caves. Téng means soaring and lóng means dragon — thus, the soaring dragon’s cave. According to a legend, a dragon settled into the cave to change its scales. The cave is about 200 metres high, with many underground lakes and waterfalls. We were so taken with the beauty of the cave that we didn’t speak with each other for long stretches of time, just gaping at the beauty of the hollow mountain. I will tell you more about our adventures in separate posts.

We have learned some things together. Here you are:

  1. In China, you can bury your nearest and dearest in your backyard if you wish. There aren’t really cemeteries — especially in the countryside — and there is usually a grave covered with bling, fluffy red, violet, gold and pink decorations next to a family-owned field.
  2. Chinese people use opened umbrellas as windshields when driving mopeds or small lorries.
  3. There sometimes might be a window in the shower. Towards the inside, into a corridor.
  4. Children sometimes still have children in the countryside. There was a 15-year-old nursing her baby at the railway station.
  5. When you order something at a café, you get a teddy bear. The bear represents a queue number.
  6. Chinese people aren’t familiar with our stretching techniques. They peer at us all the time and gab with each other while we’re carrying out our morning gymnastics.
  7. Chinese people fertilise their fields by defecating there. Then they scatter their poo on an area as large as possible.
  8. Chinese people like to make Westerners pose. When I was playing at the beach, a Chinese couple made me pose for photos standing on specific stones, looking in different directions and placing my hands in different positions. Now I understand why pictures of Chinese people sometimes look unnatural.

On May Day Eve we ran into two Russian tourists in need of help. They were going to see their relatives in Xiamen, and they needed to buy train tickets. Because we had a lot of time, we accompanied them to the railway station, and I bought tickets to them both. Even if I say so myself, if they hadn’t happened to run into us (possibly the only foreigners on a mile radius) they would have been in trouble. Neither of them spoke any Chinese. Neither of them had knowledge of how the Chinese system works, and neither of them had been to Wuhan before. They were grateful to us, and we felt happy that we’d been able to help them. The sun was shining and we prepared for our little celebration. We sat on the lakeside for many hours, alternating between one writing in the diary while the other was playing in the water. We sat at the bank looking at the water until darkness fell. The next day we would have an early awakening. We would take the train to Mufu and Lichuan, where the Enshi Grand Canyon and the Tenglong caves are situated, and spend four days there. Now we’re already back in Wuhan, and I’ll tell you about our adventure in the canyon and the caves tomorrow.