We pulled up in a small, old village with an average age of 60 and were taken to the Grooms house. We were greeted and offered tea and of course really strong cigarettes. Unsure how the day was going to progress we were led around like small children, which is often how you are treated in China, not always a bad thing. There was an eventful trip to the bathroom, which included Jordan holding me as I leaned over a large ditch, whilst a dog barked at me and a rabbit sat in a cage...only in China! We were then taken to were the bride was and introduced to all her family. Amanda, the bride, looked beautiful in her white dress. We had more tea and the locals had a good stare as we tried to introduce ourselves in Chinese.
Soon we heard the sounds of drums and walked outside to find the local people dancing and playing music. Suddenly two dancing dragons appeared and we were entertained by song, comical jokes and poems and dancing as we waited for the bride and groom to appear.
We paraded through the village, the bride and groom leading the way! There were bangers going off everywhere, drums were blazing, people were clapping and dragons were climbing narrow poles to hang up wedding banners. It was like nothing I had seen before, if only all weddings were like this! So far it had been very traditional, then we saw the inflatable pink swans and gold lions and bubble machine and we were back in 21st century China! The wedding was led by a Chinese man wearing a shiny suit and black shirt covered with plastic diamonds, it was like a reality tv show. The ceremony was quite short, we even made a small speech with Amanda translated, any excuse to get the foreigners involved!! Unlike weddings at home only the bride was dressed up, everyone else just turned up in their normal clothes which meant the bride was the main focus of attention.
After the ceremony there were photos and more tea and thousands of sunflower seeds! There was another eventful toilet experience, this one involving a piss bucket, a big hole and a strong barn like smell. During a Chinese wedding the bride has to change three times, so Amanda put on her second outfit of the day, a gorgeous red dress, and we made our way to the restaurant. The best man took us to the restaurant at 120kmph...it was extreme! At one point he hit a womans arm with the wing mirror and when fallen trees blocked the road he drove down the ditch, almost hitting a chainsaw and taking off the bottom of his car! But we made it to the restaurant in one piece!
Lunch was very entertaining. The baijiu came out, Ganbei (cheers) was exchanged and the throat was left burning! We ate chicken, fish, crab, shrimp, meatballs, spicy cabbage, sweet, sticky rice and much much more. The Pi jiu (beer) was opened and every five minutes we ended up downing the glass! I love how Chinese men drink, its like they are racing to be the drunkest and the chat gets more ridiculous. Kurt and Jordan kept drinking the baijiu and were starting to feel a little worse for wear, at one point Kurt almost had to make a dash to the bathroom. The happy couple came to each table for a toast and the groom was well on his way...at 2pm in the afternoon! We practiced our Chinese and had a pretty great lunch with some very interesting people. After lunch we were taken back to the village and we drank more tea. Amanda was trying to get her husband to drink water but he was far too happy for that! After almost a gallon of tea and numerous sunflower seeds we had to head for our train and let everyone get ready for the evening meal. Sitting in the car on the way to the train station I felt that I had finally been involved in a real part of Chinese culture. So much of what we see is fake, but in that small village we were part of something that I know I will remember for the rest of my life!