So, marriage. These days many young Chinese often have two ceremonies, one in traditional red Chinese dress (or at least near-traditional), and one in a big white western-style gown. So far I've yet to actually attend a Chinese wedding - boo! But, luckily for westerners in search of kooky Chinese-ness, a massive part of Chinese weddings is the wedding photos, not just taken on the wedding day - oh no, these are taken days, weeks probably even months before the event.
There are huge boutiques:
(bad photo, it was taken off a bus. But look, its huuuge)
dedicated to dressing couples in rented attire, making up the brides to look gorgeous (and if most of the photos I've seen are to be believed 'white'), and then photographing them in front of fake backgrounds, or more dedicatedly, outside, in Haerbin, in -20 degrees, wearing nothing but a dress! Mental.
It was cold in Haerbin, very very cold...this cold:
The white stuff, that's ice, on my hair and on my gorgeous purple satin face mask.
But yes, weddings, another weird point which I've noticed a lot is that people don't get dressed up in the same way as we would at home, or even at all. Naturally I don't have any photos of this, that would be too convenient. However, last week we were paid to pop along to this TV show which was to be screened on International Womens Day (8th March, did you celebrate it? It's odd, is it patronizing or nice? Here its a big thing, most women get at least a half day off work. I did last time, it was great I went with all the lady teachers and played games in a park amongst the cherry blossom and then got a free slap up meal - immense!) But anyways, we went along to the filming of this show partly because they gave us 200 kuai (£20) to walk on stage holding some kids hands and look happy - we call this 'pulling a whitey'. And mainly because our mate Linda won an award for her hostel, Jasmine International, which was amazing, I've never seen her so excited. There were quite a few other lady winners of various things - community projects, charity work, other successful businesses. But, not a single one was dressed up for the event. Most of them were in puffer jackets, and big coats with scrotty or no make up.
Its not great but that's our Linda in the middle looking proud as punch, and also a little embarassed; we were whooping and hollering at her from the front row - the front row of a 500 seater theatre? That too is pulling a whitey. But yes, to her left we have a charming set of coats and to her right we have more coats. I'm not saying its a bad thing, its just a bit odd I suppose. Most of her fellow winners looked like they'd just been pulled off the street. No sense of occasion.