Saturday was a day full of touring the sites of Jingzhou. I wouldn’t exactly call Jingzhou a “tourist town,” though there are a few things to see, and it is one of the few remaining cities with an ancient wall surrounding it (a wall that is 3,000 years old). There are certainly few enough foreign tourists to merit non-stop attention from the locals. Heads turn so constantly that we just begin to ignore it. We were the ones staring on Saturday, however. China is largely Buddhist, so most towns will have a Buddhist temple where people can come to burn incense for their deceased loved ones. This is very different from where I come from, but it holds so much information about the local people around us, so I wanted to see a part of what they experience and how they live. I wanted to be a tourist for a day.
I thought of my Amish family back home and the spectators who come to see what their lives look like. I thought of their slow and chant-like songs and the warm, nostalgic connotations that come with them. I remember listening in awe as my relatives sang their chants within the dusty room of an old barn.
I also had the pleasure of going to a local friend’s house for a different kind of experience. She shared her house and also shared delicious Jingzhou food, much of which she and her husband cooked. There were noodles that our host called “bean-cake” made from green beans. There were round, thin, dough wrappings into which we put duck meat and shredded onions. There was boiled lotus and sweet, potato dumplings. The fellowship was beautiful and our host was flawlessly humble the whole evening.
There is so much more to add, but that will all come.