Celebrating the Moon Festival
My husband and I were in the city of Lijiang in Yunnan province during the Moon Festival in September. We were staying in the Old Town which is very large section of Lijiang where they have kept the old buildings but turned the bottom floors into shops, restaurants and bars. It is like a maze of crooked lanes and many of them have a canal flowing beside the walkway with willow trees bending over the water. It is known as a party town for the young people but China Highlights was careful to make sure that our Hotel was not too close to the bar streets. We left our Hotel one evening just as the lanterns were starting to glow up and down the narrow lanes. As we walked through the crowd toward the restaurant we noticed that there was a person selling paper lotus flowers with candles in them. People were buying them and floating them in the canal with the candles lit to act as a path for their ancestors to follow back to heaven after the festival. It was a truly beautiful, enchanting sight.
We chose a restaurant called the Petite Paris. You had to walk down a few stairs to get into it, there was a low ceiling with wooden rafters, wooden tables and candles lighting the room. We decided on a pizza and a bottle of Great Wall wine (not quite what we are used to, the beer is better). China Highlights had arranged such a big lunch that we were not all that hungry and just wanted a light dinner. It was very quiet when we arrived but before we even had our food a Chinese rock band had started to play which really was fun. While we were eating a group of young people came in and sat at the table beside us. They were all carrying large paper lanterns which they started to hang above their table. I couldn't resist taking a picture and the girl noticed us. She spoke to one of the young men and the next thing we knew he came over and hung one of the lanterns above our table! There were many smiles and thank yous and we felt like we were part of the festival too, such kind and generous people.
This was just one example of our many positive interactions with Chinese people on our wonderful trip.