Tuesday, 30 May 2017
Dragon Boat Festival. Day 3. The actual 5th day of 5th month in Chinese calendar. We spent the day strolling Chinese restaurants, cooking Persian food and looking for P (K’s brother)’s daughter gift. He’s coming to town! I was excited to meet him. It’s been a while since we met in Jogja.
Wednesday, 31 May 2017
Temple of Heaven. Built in 1420. It was the place where emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) held the Heaven Worship Ceremony. It is the largest and most representative existing masterpiece among China’s ancient sacrificial buildings.
I love how the building’s built. Its vivid color and design. The area was green because most of it was park where the citizens, particularly elders, had activities. This must be the most amusing place I have ever visited in Beijing. Hahaha..
After entering the gate, I walked down a building’s corridor to find elders in groups playing chess, mahjong and cards. They seemed to enjoy their gatherings and did not mind at all when I tried to take their picture and laughed with them.
The temple itself was massive as other Chinese temples. When I was there, it was not so crowded. I had never encountered crowds in any touristy spots during my time in Beijing. I felt so lucky.
I did not spend a lot of time in the Hall of Prayer area. Despite, I kept walking on the park where I found the most fascinating Chinese game, Jian zhi or Shuttlecock kicking. Several groups of elders were playing as I took their pictures. They all looked very happy.
What other people told me of how rude and ignorant Chinese people were completely wrong.
In the corner of the park, an ensemble of people with their traditional music instrument playing relaxing melodies. When I approached them, they were all laughing and smiling shyly. An elder curiously talked to me using Mandarin, which of course I didn’t understand, and I used hand gesture to replied, we both laughed.
I almost cried by their sincere and pure demeanor. What other people told me of how rude and ignorant Chinese people were completely wrong. I came to realize the Confucius quote that everyone is indeed has its beauty. My heart was touched that day. (I cried while writing this. Drama queen. I know. Hahaha..).
The Marriage Market
Make me your son-in-law.
In the end of the park, I saw large group of people chatting and shouting at each others. My curiosity kicked in. I thought it was a lunch gathering or something. Boy, was I wrong. What I found was amusing and surprising. It was a marriage market! Parents or elders laid out on the ground in front of their bench a carefully laminated A4 papers with text. They are all here for one purpose: finding a spouse for their reluctant children.
As I guessed (because I can’t read Chinese), it contained a person’s birthday, occupancy, height, hobbies and their expectation of the partner candidate, some with their profile photo. My jaw almost dropped because I had never encountered such market anywhere in my existence. Ahahahaa..
I walked along the A4-papers-lines to read them carefully. There’s even one young man wore the paper in his neck saying, “Make me your son-in-law.” Awesome! Should I sign up or something? Hahahaaa.. kidding. Don’t get me wrong, I think it was brilliant idea. Yet a bit embarrassing, really.
Anyway, I appreciate Chinese government for providing a place where elders can meet and socialize freely. I hope someday Indonesia will have the same idea: to take care of its elder citizen.
Thank you Beijing for opening my mind. You were truly wonderful.
W – a birthday girl.