Today is 三月三, or the third day of the third month by the traditional Chinese lunar-solar calendar. For many of the ethnic minorities in China, particularly in the south, this is one of the most important days of the year and is marked by huge meetings, games, fireworks, matchmaking rites and eating on a grand scale. It is also known as Shangsi Festival (上巳节)
This year, for the first time, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous Region declared a two day public holiday in the festival’s honour. THis runs straight into Qing Ming, an ancestor worship festival which is celebrated nationally and is one of China’s public holidays. So while the rest of China will enjoy a one day holiday (which they convince themselves is three days by counting the weekend, Guangxi will have three which they reckon to be five, or in some cases six.
Anyway my point is that today is the first day of that extra Guangxi holiday. Despite it being a grey and drizzly day, the streets and shops were fairly busy, although I was surprised to see that restaurants weren’t pulling the usual crowds.
Just before lunch, I found myself walking across Wenhui bridge (the red one) heading north. Near the northern end of the bridge I spotted the 东门 (East Gate) river bus stop and this time there were people waiting.
As you can see there are nineteen people waiting for a twelve seater bus. These river buses are not like regular city buses which seldom understand the concept of full and always manage to squeeze on at least three times the official capacity.
I decided to hang around to see how things developed. After about ten months river bus pulled up. By that time there were about
By this time there were about 36 people waiting on the ‘bus stop’ platform and about another dozen hanging around the riverbank path either just watching or waiting to see if they had any chance. They didn’t. The boat berthed fairly quickly and it immediately became apparent that, not only was it already carrying its full complement of a dozen passengers but none them were getting off in the middle of nowhere.
So the bus headed off again upriver having picked up no one. Still, there will be another along in another half hour when the same thing will happen again.
The whole service is a complete joke. A shambles. And people are not happy. The local newspapers will, however, no doubt flaunt it as a total success. The party never mistakes, do they?
In a similar vein is this unrelated and somewhat off-topic post of wonderful stupidity. I haven’t laughed so much since some lunatic in the high reaches of the party declared that China has the most open internet in the world. Rather amusingly, the website which reports his statement is er, blocked in China!