Weekends are not so untouchable here in China. Today is Sunday and my Korean student, who attends high school in Kunming, told me she has her Friday classes. Yesterday, they had Thursday classes. May day is this coming Tuesday, and in order to extend the holiday through the following weekend, this weekend is being sacrificed — schools and businesses continue to operate as if they are normal weekdays.
This holiday schedule was announced by the government about a week ago. The alternative, I suppose, was to make this weekend the holiday and change the following weekend to be part of the working week. Anyway, these kinds of last-minute announcements are disorienting for me. Thankfully, our new school simply announced at the beginning of the semester that our vacation would be April 28 – May 6. Seems sensible.
Yesterday we had a school field trip to 抚仙湖 (Fuxian Hu), a lake about a 2-hour drive from Kunming. I was very excited about the chance to go swimming and even bought a bathing suit, but the weather wasn’t great. Too cold for swimming. That didn’t stop some lunatics from getting in the water.
It was April’s birthday and I talked her into coming along. She used to be a tourguide here and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share her expertise. When we stopped at the flower market on our way to the lake, she turned to us and forgetting that this time her audience was a group of foreigners, she said, “Now, if you want to buy something don’t speak Putonghua [Mandarin]. You’ll need to speak Fanyan [the local dialect], or else you’ll get bad prices.” Of course, we don’t speak Fanyan, but obliged by trying out our best impressions of the dialect. (“It’s just like speaking Putonghua with your jaw kind of slack!” and “Remember to add ‘ga’ to the end of each sentence!”) She was appalled.
It was a fun trip. There were over 150 people, including some kids. The kids were a great. Despite having different mother tongues, they all played with each other and were kissing and hugging … you could almost hear the song “we are the world.” One little girl took a liking to Jeremy on our boat ride.
Not sure what we’ll do with the remainder of our holiday.
Anyway, a final note for the computer nerds:
I geeked out last week when Tech Soup ran a feature on Google Analytics. The data they collect on your web traffic isn’t earth-shattering, but they sure know how to make an intuitive and beautiful tool. Wow, I love Google more and more.