A couple weeks ago, my wife and I took a day-long train ride to her hometown in Hubei province to have a wedding party for her family. We had already had a wedding dinner at our home in Xiamen in February but that was for our friends that live here. Her parents had gone back to their hometown after living in Xiamen for many years, so we followed them back a couple of months later so that we could have a traditional wedding celebration there.
Tina's hometown is a small town out in the countryside, a clone of the countless small towns you pass by on those long boring train rides and never give a second thought about. It was freakishly hot, so we were too tired to do anything but eat, sleep, and hang out with visitors. One positive note is that extreme heat usually results in people spending a lot of time in bed together with little or no clothing, which is always fun :-). All in all, it was a pretty boring week, but it was nice to see a new part of China and Tina's family, and also to take a break from summer teaching.
The wedding party was pretty low-key, just a lunchtime gathering of about 80 people, mostly family and close friends. I was wearing the red and black silk suit that I wore for the first party, and Tina was looking angelic in a Western-style white wedding gown. The beer flowed like wine, people were happy, hongbao was flung hither and yon, and later everyone crashed or played mah jong. It was a fun experience but I'm definitely wedding-ed out. Two is enough :-P.
On the way back, we got to watch the solar eclipse through our train window. There was only a thin veil of cloud cover so the sun was clear enough to view. We bought a piece of tinted glass so we spared our retinas from the glare. I'd seen a total lunar eclipse back in America but I'd never seen a solar eclipse. It was wild watching a black disc slowly eat the sun. The best part was when there was just a shy sliver of light left, like a glowing eyelash. Then- it was gone, and nighttime fell in a few seconds. There was definitely a surreal vibe, kind of an ominous blackness like the anticipation before a catastrophic storm. It lasted for a couple of minutes, then the sun made its encore appearance and life returned to normal. It was a great way to end a unique week.