The stories from our guides of life in China.
07.10.2008 100 °F
One of the more interesting parts of our trip has been the opportunity to get to know about the Chinese through our guides. Both are young - in their late 20s (we think). And they spend lots of time by our sides so we have great opportunity to hear about their lives. Sally in Beijing (real name is Zhang Hong (first name is Hong). And our 2nd guide in Guilin and Yangshou is John (zhou Wan Fu). And we also learned from the young boy and his mom who sat at our table on the boat from Guilin to Yangshou (Tony, or Chen Jian Yu). They all seem to take English names if they come into contact with Westerners. Even Tony, who is 11 or 12, had an American teacher in school who gave them American names.
They are all well eduacted. And what is very apparent is their profound respect for their culture, religion and family. They all talk about Buddhism and the 12 Chinese years (or zodiak). They even talked about when to have babies - in certain years like the Pig which is good luck. John is married to a "minority" or small sector citizen. She is a pharmacist. Sally is not married. They both live with parents. In fact, a man's parents save money for a dowry and then give him up to move in with the woman. But many familes only have one child as a result of years of mandatoroy birth control. The plan is for a woman and man as husband and wife to have BOTH their parents move in and live with them. Sometimes the parents who have money build a home for "everyone." Apartments are expensive so many are 3-bedroom (parents of each and the lucky couple). Since it is still mandated you have just one child, that is what is planned for that house. Both John and Sally are "only" children. They both have strong respect for their parents and expect to live with them and care for them. Very genuine and amazing concept! BTW, a man's parents not only pay for a dowry but also the wedding ceremony! Bride's parents get off easy.
Religion seem important, although they may not practice it formally. They really practice Buddhism which has a happy, nature- based, seasonal spirit to it. I found it particularly interesting to observe how genuine and spiritual even the young people are. Hey, anyone would like to believe in a happy Buddha!!