It’s grave sweeping day, and the streets were empty. So my friend and I headed out to the Fenghuang Mountain Fenyan Ancient Temple. Neither of us have been and we were curious. However, it turns out that we couldn’t get into the temple because there were too many people burning incense and all traffic was being redirected. In the middle of the only traffic jam we encountered all day (including on Guangdong 107), I jumped out of the car and took a picture of the old pagoda at the Wen Tianxiang memorial; handshakes, many, many, many migrant workers, and a touch of something ancient. My friend mentioned that during the Cultural Revolution, they were only allowed to sweep the graves of revolutionary martyrs; no sweeping family graves. Today, however, although workers had the day off, most could not go home and so they had gone to the temple or to walk the mountain paths. Then, because we couldn’t find a parking spot from which to visit either the completely restored ancient village or the temple, we headed back to guannei. On our way to Shekou, we passed the former site of the Nanyou Building; once upon a time was an important landmark but is now a building site. We reminisced about how narrow and small Nanshan and Shekou used to be, as we approached the recently erected sign for the Shekou and Qianhai Free Trade Zone at the border between Shekou and Nanshan. Reading the sign, I realized that Shekou-Qianhai is not precisely a free trade zone, but rather a pilot free trade zone, which sounds ominously unstable, with the possibility of expanding or retracting at any moment. Ramble. Ramble. Ramble.
Another interesting detail about Tomb Sweeping is that the government encourages people to travel home or to the grave-sites of their relatives by eliminating tolls on roads, worlds apart from the China of the 60s and 70s during the Cultural Revolution–as you stated above.
which is why my friend and i thought there’d be a clear road to the temple!