Saturday, June 9, 2007

A Day in the Park, Chinese Style

Old Chinese people really know how to pass a day in the
park. You've seen them in the U.S., doing tai chi in
the morning, but here they take it a little further. All
of the big parks here have created attractions that you
can pay to enjoy—boat rides, bike rentals, cable cars,
small roller coasters. And they sell snacks and drinks.
But the local people prefer to bring their own
entertainment and food. They sing Chinese opera, dance,
fly kites, play cards. Couples play badminton on open
lawns. Tired workers string hammocks between willow trees
and nap away Sunday afternoons. They bring jugs of tea
and thermoses of soup. Last weekend I saw someone at the
park with a toaster oven.

There seems to be a bit of a generational divide when it
comes to park activities. I asked my 24-year-old tutor
her thoughts on the beautiful Green Lake Park here in town,
and she said, "It is mostly for the old people, practicing
their Jingju (opera)," before conceding that the park is
beautiful. Young people do go to the parks, but mostly to
canoodle with their boyfriend or girlfriend on the tree-
lined lanes that wind past lotus blossom-filled water. All
well and good, but it's the old people, as far as I can
tell, that are really having a great time.

To see more photos of Chinese people enjoying parks, check
out my Flickr account, username rauch22. Most of my recent
photos are park shots.

1 comment:

Jan en Terry said...

Hi Maggie, just recently discovered your blog about Kunming as we are preparing a homeland tour for our adopted son. I was impressed by your writings on the community center for migrant workers. I hope to discover it when we return.
Kind regards,
jan.en.terry @