National Day in Pingtan Island

National Day in Pingtan Island

by Sean Reed, Greenheart Travel Teach Abroad Participant in China

I have been in China now almost 2 months. I have really gotten to know my way around my community and have learned a little bit of the Chinese language. It has been a slow process but I have gotten to where I can greet people and order food in Chinese. However, understand the Chinese people and how quickly they speak Chinese is much more difficult.

We also celebrated, “National Day.” This day (October the 1st), honors the day that Chairman Mao took power over China in 1949 and created a new form of government and the beginning of the PRC (People’s Republic of China). Oddly enough the National Day celebration is a week to two weeks long. These are referred to as the two golden weeks. During that week we could see large red lanterns hanging above the streets and every store displayed a Chinese flag ( which was new in 1949), or two and they lined streets. If there wasn’t a flag, there was a simple red colored cloth of some sort. Of course there are lots of fire works and fire crackers going off, but then again, this is China and they set those things off everyday. I did notice one parade making its way past my residence. They seem to be carrying some old style carriages down the street while marching bands played and some people danced and others walked on stilts. Then there were more fire works.

During National Day, we had a week off from school. Most Chinese are off from work and use this time to travel and visit relatives or see the sights. My friends and I were invited to Pingtan Island by a friend of one of our contacts here. He wanted us to help promote his new juice line. His idea was that Chinese people would be interested in trying his new juice if they saw Westerners standing next to it. Apparently he was right. From the moment we started setting up the booth, loads of Chinese people began to gather around us to see what we had to offer. I noticed that there were some Chinese girls trying to sell some tea across from where we had displayed our juice. The people were ignoring them but stopping to see what we had.

In exchange for our services, we were treated to two nights in a nice hotel, our transportation was provided for, and all of our meals were taken care of. I couldn’t help feeling like we had taken advantage of this poor business man. However, it was his idea. Of course when we weren’t working our two hours a day, he showed us around the island. It was quite beautiful and very photo worthy. Every where I looked there were red colored sashes or ribbons tied around the statues and other monuments. We definitely had a great time and would do it again. I suppose you could say that we are for hire.

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