“Shui, shui, shui, shui, shui, shui!” (sounds like ‘sway’ but with a ‘sh’ – shway) The men shout six times and down their bai jiu (Chinese alcohol).
“Water, water, water, water, water, water!” what it sounds like to my limited Mandarin ears but in the Dai minority dialect, it means, “Drink, drink, drink, drink, drink, drink!”
The revelers also greet each other, “Yang yang hao!” To me it sounds like good goat or good itch but correctly deciphered it means, “Everything good!”
“You’re about to lose your job!”
“Your marriage is in shambles!”
“I don’t know what the heck I’m doing!”
“I don’t know what the future holds!”
It’s good to get drunk now and then and be swept away to another frame of mind by 50% homemade village alcohol tinted bamboo green.
My friend in the Philippines was telling me a story of a very rich man’s mansion that they visited which had it’s own man-made or man-added-sand beach, hectares and hectares of manicured grass. The house had more than twenty rooms but the guests weren’t offered much to eat. I told my friend what a contrast to the simple mountain villages we visited where guests were treated with a feast. Everything eaten in China is equivalent to a feast elsewhere but that is how Chinese people eat — with more dishes than usual for other nationalities. It was no different in Xiao Lu’s village where we had a pre-Spring Festival celebration. Each household killed a pig and prepared a variety of dishes with fresh pork and vegetables from their garden.
Tomorrow, we fly back to Manila. I will surely miss Jinghong especially my favorite room, my favorite office, the one with the sweeping view of the mountains and enough space for my clutter. Plus, in our xiao qu, it’s relatively easy for Jimmy to find a playmate in the sandpit.