Holi Festival Redfort in Xian

Ah Spring time! The forgiving of trespasses, blooming of flowers, cleaning of homes, buying of new clothes, the welcoming of Spring is heralded worldwide often through festivals. There is the Songkran Festival in Thailand, Las Fallas in Spain, Easter in the United States, Nowruz in Persia, The Spring Festival in China, Holi in India and many, many more.

This past weekend I celebrated the Indian Holi Festival here in China at the Redfort Indian Restaurant. An Indian couple that worked at the same school as my husband resigned and Saturday was their last day here. Several of us joined them in celebrating Holi as a farewell party. If they were not leaving I wouldn’t have even known about the event at the restaurant.

There was an all you can eat and drink buffet for $30. There was music, dancing, throwing of colored dye, water guns, and yoga performances.

While it was a little awkward for me since some of the people my husband works with are not my favorite people in the world I had a blast!

Many of you know that in my twenties I did the totally stereotypical spiritual quest that many Western youngsters do and became very interested in Eastern culture. I’m still extremely interested in Indian culture and I’d love to visit or even live there for a while sometime.

I’ve participated in many Indian themed events but truly this Holi festival at the Redfort was by far my favorite. The all you can drink part helped with the awkwardness of being around some of the people, Indian food is one of my all time favorite foods, and I love dancing.

Holi is all about frolic and play. Traditionally anyone in an open space is fare game to have dye thrown on them but for us it was a bit subdued. We were quite the spectacle as there were a bunch of Indians and white folk dancing and throwing colored dye on each other in the designated area while scores of Chinese people stood around watching us and taking pictures.

Indian men are always the best dancers and I’ve always had a thing for Indian men so with the combination of great food, wine, music, and attractive men covered in paint dancing in front of me it was a pretty awesome time.

We took our daughter and thought she would have a blast but instead what she did most of the day was hide and cry. It turns out loud music and a bunch of adults dancing while covered in paint is more scary to an 8 year old than it is fun. It makes me feel like a bad artist mom. As if I haven’t exposed my child to enough craziness. Well I guess I can’t do everything for her. She’s 8 and she’s been to 13 countries I shouldn’t be too upset that dancing purple people scared her.



Cultural Differences

Traveling Latin America one will notice several cultural differences but the one I still have not been able to adjust to is the blatant racism .  There are restaurants such as the one in my featured picture that pretty much translates into “Black people food”. There is a tourism sign in Lima, Peru with a picture of horrible cartoon black people beating on drums that says “Go to this town and see our black people dance”. blacks dance

We met a guy from Chile that seemed pretty nice and since we didn’t make it to Chile I was asking him some cultural questions. I asked him if in Chile it was like in Columbia and no matter what the day or time there was music blaring and loud people everywhere and his response was “No, we don’t have any black people.” I don’t really know this guy so it wasn’t like he was saying this to me in any kind of confidence, it was just a normal run-of-the-mill kind of thing to say to a stranger.

Then there was the first leg of our speed boat trip to cross the Columbia-Panama border. We started off in the armpit of the world that is Turbo, Columbia at 8:30AM. There was a group of about 8 Columbians that were REALLY obnoxious. We couldn’t tell if they were really drunk or just like that naturally until they started passing the bottle of rum amongst them. I remind you it’s 8:30 in the morning. The ring leader of the group and the loudest, most obnoxious one of the group was annoying the hell out of us.

Every time the boat would hit a wave and crash to the bottom he would scream like a baby, he was making stupid jokes, and he kept blowing this damn horn he had. I swear in the US this guy would have been thrown overboard. Then at one point when I guess he thought the ride was too rough (once again-speed boat-ocean-not going to be a smooth ride) he leans back and yells “Hey nigger, slow down!” Then what happens to him? Everyone laughs. Yep. They laughed. This is how such behavior doesn’t stop. It was so offensive I made a video of it.  See link on side. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuLI5tvmQCs&feature=youtu.be

It was like being stuck on a 4 hour horrible roller coaster ride with a group of 12 year old boys. All but these people were older than me. It was a constant stream of fart jokes, stupidity and racism and it was praised.