(Our one-year wedding annivesary is next week - holy crap, we can finally eat the top layer of cake that's been clogging our freezer for the past year. Huzzah!)
After the usual questions were asked about our wedding - where was it, how was it, who came - the first thing people asked when hearing I recently got married was where did we go on our honeymoon. My answer always provoked the same response: Phuket, Thailand (an approving nod); Shanghai, China ("Oh, I hear that's really cool"); and Chengdu, China. This is where you get the record scratch noise and a polite, "Um, what's there?"
Chengdu is the capital of the Sichuan province and home to spicy food, giant pandas, and over 10 million people. It's also about 60 miles away from that horrible 7.8 earthquake that occurred this week. It is by American standards a ginormous city, filled with grey skyscrapers and buildings whose structural integrity didn't look that good before being rocked by a giant earthquake.
We went there because it's the hub of China's burgeoning IT corridor and The Texan had thought that he might want us to live there after he gets done with school. Five days of breathing in their awful pollution cleared us up of that idea real quick-like.
But the people we met there were really cool and welcoming. Our tour guide was this cute 23-year-old girl whose fractured English nearly gave us a heart attack when she told us while checking in at the airport that the penalty for having overweight luggage was $600 (turned out it was $60 - we were ready to abandon our bags until that little correction was made), but god love her, she tried her best. The bar manager of our hotel was a stylish woman in her early 30s who'd spent time working on Alaskan cruise ships, spoke wonderful English, and very kindly took us to an authentic "hot pot" restaurant so that I could get my fill of spicy food. The owner of an ex-pat bar comped us a few drinks, gave us a free CD of music, and introduced us around to what seemed like every American teacher in the Sichuan province who filed in his bar the night we were there.
One year after our wedding, I guess it's natural to look back at what happened this time last year. I hope that the people we met who made our honeymoon so special are okay.