Yesterday I decided to go for a walk along a section of road that I have never tried before. Normally I hate walking around here because it's all on busy roads with no pedestrian paths and it's smelly, noisy and dangerous. This part wasn't though. I wish I'd discovered it before. This weekend is the Chinese "Tomb Sweeping" holiday, when people go to the graves of their loved ones and clean them and leave flowers and other offerings. The walk took me past an area of cemeteries that, on another day, I probably wouldn't have noticed. Unlike our cemeteries, these were hillsides of small tombs around which there were whole families wielding machetes and spades and other tools and lighting candles and leaving all kinds of offerings: bottles of baijiu, flowers and - at one that I saw - a whole roast chicken. Looking up into the nearby karst mountains I could see distant bands of figures climbing unseen paths to reach even higher tombs.
When I had passed them by I found myself, though still on a road, in an area of small villages and farms where everything was green and beautiful. There was traffic but not too much, and here and there mysterious side roads led off to other places. The weather was bright and wonderful but the constant sight of mourners put me in a melancholy mood so that as I walked I was remembering my own parents and wishing I could be home to leave flowers at their grave and wondering if anyone has cleared the flowers that I left when I visited in February.
After some time I came out of my reverie and realised that I had been walking along this tree-lined route for almost two hours. It's a there-and-back walk rather than a circular one so I turned and started back, enjoying the new perspective as I returned to town for a late lunch and a bottle of beer.
I shall certainly go that way again and explore some of the side roads. It's the first truly pleasant walking experience that I have found in this area. And now, some pictures.