After landing dn briefly in bj, i quickly jettisoned off (yes, in a plane) for Lanzhou to meet Q's parents.
Lanzhou, fyi, is a medium-sized city, population 5 million. Interesting place in that for all it's medium-sized population, it's VERY chinese. Meaning, that there's not so much foreign influence as far as i could see. No McDonalds or Starbucks, didn't see any other laowai (foreigners), etc.
Its decorations for Spring Festival far surpass anything i've seen in BJ. Surely millions of yuan have been spent on massive light displays, dragons, and sphinx-sized robotic tigers.
It also has the dubious distinction of being China's Most Polluted City. There's a comfy valley that the chemicals like to nestle in, hence high concentrations, which caused slight dizziness and head tension as we drove through the thick of it after picking me up at the airport. Which rather frightened me, but in the city itself, when we arrived it frankly wasn't so bad. "Hey i've seen worse air than this in Beijing!"
Also of inerest, is that a politician once tabled the possibility of removing... the MOUNTAIN, in order to allow more air flow. i'm not sure if this is still being considered or not.
Picked up by the father. Qianqian has already forewarned me that THE PARENTS are NERVOUS to meet ME, the first bf they've met. i felt unexpectedly relaxed. Q also forewarned me that her parents aren't big talkers, so i shouldn't TALK so much. Uh, okay. i think i can do that.
So in hte car, it's true, we don't talk that much. It's ok.
At the house, it's true we don't talk that much. No problem.
At dinner, we start talking a bit more. That's ok. Except that Q's not into this much talking, and she tells me and her dad to just eat our food, and stop TALKING. Me and her dad are like, Hey, relax, we're just talking. Quickly becomes apparent that Q is by far the most nervous person in the vicinity, much to the amusement of her dad and i.
It's alright. In the end, the parents regularly expend way too much energy preparing way too much food for me. Not to mention being persistently commited/commitedly persistent in making me overeat. i hang out with some more family. i can usually get my meaning understood, though am often less successful on the receiving end. Q steps in as translator now and again.
i meet some of Q's university friends, who she hasn't seen in years. they tend to converse at a speed and depth beyond my comprehension so i was allowed to snooze at the table a bit.
Family takes me sightseeing. Walk around. Me and the dad seem to get on in a pretty relaxed way. Mother's sweet too, though i admit i don't feel like i understand her quite so well, and i suspect she found me to be a bit of a mystery. Granted, not unlike me and my own parents, Q's parents have also been at times baffled by their daughter who had somehow strangely transformed into an artist.
KTV 2 times. Once with friends, once with family. Both times without a drop of alcohol, though not without my foiled plans to buy a round for the family. Go figure. Anyhow, i think they found my vocal stylings quite amusing. If you've ever heard me sing Moon River, you know what i'm talking about.
-slept in gf's teen bed. Alone. She slept in her parent's bed with them. Which weirdly follows the precedent previously set, even with no bf on the premises.
-strangely saw crazier Cosplay kids than i saw in Japan
-Sex in gf's teen bed: once
-Train back to Beijing: Extremely difficult to secure tickets during Spring Fest, hence was forced yet again to take to the sky.