Hello all! 万圣节快乐，or Happy Halloween! I hope everyone saw some great costumes this past weekend! I’ve been celebrating vicariously via Facebook because China doesn’t really get into Halloween–I’ve seen one store selling Halloween masks, and it was a very limited selection. They had a few witch hats also, but everything was stuffed into the back corner of the store. It was a store that sold all things cute, and it was as if they decided to carry a few Halloween goods begrudgingly. At least, that’s what the display told me. Pumpkins are nowhere to be found in Kaifeng, so that means a serious absence of Jack-o-lanterns. I haven’t seen any shops selling costumes, but I’ve spotted a few girls walking around campus with a shirts emblazoned with either rhinestone ghosts or witches, although those hardly count as costumes. I’m not really into Halloween that much myself, however I found that I did miss it this year. I suppose it was the utter lack of the holiday (and the candy) that really caused me to want to get into the Halloween spirit.I’m really hoping that Christmas in China won’t be the same.
This past weekend all of the foreigners went to Longting Park in Kaifeng, which was where the emperor resided for more than 7 dynasties. The Chrysanthemums were still in bloom and full of color so the park was incredibly breathtaking. As promised, I took many photos and I’ve attached my favorites down at the bottom of the post. The park was absolutely huge–the palace sits on the edge of a lake. The walkway leading up to the front it stretches over the length of the lake, branching off at one part to reach a small island. Behind the palace is a large expanse of gardens that were very easy to get lost in. And every single inch of all of this was covered in chrysanthemums. I can’t say I’ve seen anything in the US that quite matched the grandeur of this place, particularly with respect to the flowers. I don’t think I was quite able to capture the magnificence of the park though…everywhere you turned there were flowers and statutes and shrubbery and people. There were so many people milling about the grounds taking photos and, well, being tourists. We went on a Saturday, which was apparently when all of the Chinese decided to go as well. We were stopped many times to take pictures with Chinese families, and the attempted “candid” photos were probably twice the number. The weather was pretty good–it was the in mid-70’s, though it was pretty hazy that day. Next weekend we’re going to another park, so I’ll be sure to take plenty of photos there as well!