It started at the airport departure terminal, in Dhaka. The only passengers having fun (as opposed to watching animal documentaries on TV, looking bored, or talking and texting on their phones) were the Chinese, who’d turned the top of a cabin suitcase in a table, and were playing cards.
We spent our first week-end in Beijing visiting the sights, obviously, but also walking, walking, walking from one to the other. We were using a map that gave us a wrong feeling for distances at the beginning. “Oh, this here is really close, let’s go.” And we’d end up hiking for an hour, or more. Or we’d try to get a taxi, couldn’t, and pushed a little more, a little more, until we finally got there on foot. We were so sore, after the first two or three days, my husband and I would collapse in bed, at night, groaning and moaning. Our girls didn’t complain much, not even the little one, who doesn’t like walking, usually, and it says a lot about how easy and nice it is to navigate in that very large city. Ok, I can’t resist inserting a picture. See? How clean, with a separate lane for bicycles. We were so impressed, we felt compelled to take a photo of an empty street and road signs.
Here is the type of street scene we get, in Dhaka.
I know, comparing is not fair. I said it, and I mean it. Still, hard not to, at times.
But I digress.
Let’s go back to the way Chinese people spend their leisure time on week-ends. They play – cards, chess, dominos. They sing. They dance. Ballroom Dance is pretty popular, apparently. They practice their Tai Chi forms. They visit their monuments, and enjoy their truly beautiful parks. They fly kites.
What I loved, more than anything, is their total lack of self-consciousness. In Kunming, we spent an afternoon in a gigantic park south of the city, and saw two ladies who had brought their boom box and were singing and dancing together, right there in the open, for all to see and enjoy. So refreshing.