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Backpacking in China: Chinese pastimes

We all know Chinese for their hard work, struggle, calligraphy, and philosophy. We actually don't know much about China. No one would identify China with pure art as we know it in west, most westerners likely won't be even able to imagine a Chinese having free time. So what do they do?

When you get up early or choose to explore streets after dawn, you will find open spaces overflowing with people. Parks are bustling, pedestrian roads hustling. Yet the activities in which the people participate are rather curious for a casual western observer. Typically you won't find anyone jogging as you would anywhere else. The activities are most curious, often very social. That is a bit contrasting with the western hobbies which often tend to be quite individualistic.

The most obvious and amusing are groups of elders dancing to the recent pop songs. Some are bad but some are very good, and the dance can get very complex. I was spending hours watching these. But it's not solely dancing, some groups practice synchronization in sword.. Some train their whip mastery by spinning a whipping top, sing, play in a brass band or some other curious instruments, or fly dragons. I mustn't forget Tai Chi of course.

Older men often own a bird and take it with them in a small cage for their loud philosophical fights with their mates.

I had feeling that Chinese are rather enemies of serious movement though. Hiking and jogging are not very popular at the moment. Yes, few famous national parks are clogged with thousands of Chinese tourist : but such trip often involves a bus ride followed by few steps to reach the cableway. This ends with millions of selfies at the top of the mount. People thought that I am crazy when walking among the gorgeous villages in Anhui region or along Yangtze. This is though going to change and China once will be like its little sister Korea where hiking is an obsession.

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