Spring Festival in 2005

The Chinese New Year, Spring Festival, starts from Feb 9 to Feb 15, 2005. There will be a long vacation for people in China. Here is how this works:

  • Feb 9, Feb 10, and Feb 11 are public holiday.
  • Feb 12 and Feb 13 are Saturday and Sunday.
  • Feb 14 (Mon) and Feb 15 (Tue) are not holiday, but exchange with the weekend of Feb 5 (Sat) and Feb 6 (Sun).

That means, in exchange of the continuous holiday, people need to work 9 days continuously from Jan 31 (Mon) to Feb 8 (Tue). This is very similar to the arrangement of the last year. My friend in New York heard people in China have much more holidays than they do in New York. It is not true.

My Spring Festival of 2005

Wendy and I will stay in Shanghai this year. This is the second year we stayed in Shanghai. (2004)

To return home for family reunion is the tradition of China. No matter where you are and no matter how poor you are, you have to appear at the New Year Eve dinner table. This was THE rule for many centuries. Meanwhile, the estimated 1.79 billion person * trip will stress test the railway, airlines, and long distance bus business. To travel at during this time is not a good idea.

There are hot debates on whether the national wide railway should raise their price by about 20%. The “pro-” side says the price is made by the market instead of government. The “anti-” side says it is rubbery to raise the price of something people have no other choices. I haven’t decided which side to support yet.

Stay Instead of Fight

After fighting for a ticket back home and back to Shanghai for 8 years (1996 – 2003), we decided to stay in Shanghai and invite our parents to Shanghai before or during the Spring Festival for reunion. They have more flexibility of travel time. Every time I returned home in Henan Province, I suffered a lot. I had to get up as early as 4:00 AM exactly 7 days before the departure date (when the ticket hit the market) and to line up before the ticket office. It opened at 8:00 AM. Standing in the cold winter for at least 4 hours, a ticket is still not garenteed. I got “sorry” more often than “yes”.

The Most Memorable Trip Back to Luoyang

I still remember the Spring Festival of 2002. I couldn’t get a train ticket anyway and I finally chose to fly to Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan Province and take bus to Luoyang. There are about 1 and a half hour’s bus ride between the cities.

After delaying at the Hong Qiao Airport for 6 hours (Yes. I Expect the Flight Delay), we finally left Shanghai around 6:00 PM of the Lunar New Year Eve. I had no hope to get back home that night. There should be no bus or taxi when we arrived at Zhengzhou Airport around 9:00 PM. With the strong reunion tradition, who will work in the New Year’s Eve? It turned out to be a quite good guess.

Then I thought of the idea to try something special. “How about gathering some people with same destination and hiring a bus (if we were lucky) at Zheng Zhou airport?” I was sure I was not the only person facing the problem. I asked the flight attendant to broadcast on the flight and asked for all passengers who want to transit to Luoyang to come to me. Unexpectedly, about 20 persons signed up quickly. I asked everyone to hand in 50 RMB and contacted a bus driver in Zhengzhou and offered 1000 RMB for the trip – it is much higher than their normal price. BTW, I got the driver’s phone by calling my friends in Shanghai to Google “Bus Zhengzhou” to get the mobile numbers. Haha. It worked!

The rest of the story was simple – we waited for the bus and took it to Luoyang. I was the person in charge and sent almost everyone to their door. When I arrived my home in Luoyang as the last passenger, my family was welcoming me at the door – it was about 11:30 PM of the New Year’s Eve. Thank God! I finally showed up at the dinner table. To be home for Spring Festival was well worth the trouble.

BTW, the other passengers were so kind that they asked me to keep my part of the bus fee for the organizing work. They said it is much better than spending hundreds of Yuan in a hotel in Zhengzhou, on the New Year’s Eve.

19 Comments

  1. Dear Jian Shuo,

    Kung Hei Fat Choy to you! May you have good health and prosperity in the year of the Rooster.

    Keep up the great work with your blog. I know this is a labor of love rather than commerically motivated.

  2. Thanks, PC! I will continue to appreciate your comment, no matter positive or negative in the new Chinese year.

  3. Now compared to 2002, the flight tickets will be hard to get, too, I would expect. Travelling on an extremely crowded plane or train is not good for your health, either.

  4. From Pudong Airport, What route / bus number should I ride going to Rennaissance shanghai pudong hotel. Where exactly will I go in bus stop area? Thanks very much.

  5. jianshuo:

    I stumbled to your blog while I was in shanghai early this month. The information and stories you provided on your website is very interesting and objective. After I came back to the states a few days ago, I started to review your previous posts. I am very impressed by your consistency and informative daily blog. When I was in Shanghai early this year, I discovered that the city has changed a lot since my last visit during the Chinese new year in 2003. Your blogs provides me what I have been missed during these short two year, at least from a city dweller’s perspective. Your personal and professional growth somewhat mirrors the growth of the new generation as well as the prosperity of the city and China. Anyway, thank you so much for keeping me updated on what’s going on in Shanghai. Keep in touch and hope we can meet sometime in SH.

  6. It sucks that the Spring Festival is always in the winter. But am glad I get to celebrate it here in China for the first time in 14 years. It’s funny cuz when Chinese people in China say new year they mean the lunar new year, when they say “yuan dan” they mean the real new year. :)

    JX

  7. jun, I think Rennaissance shanghai pudong hotel is near Century Park. There is no metro that will get ur there. Maglev Train will get u to the metro 2 stop( I cannot remember the name of the stop, the ticket is cost 40 yuan with the same day air ticket), then you can take metro 2 to century park station ( I am not sure how far the Rennaissance is from century park station, but 10 yuan taxi will take you there). Also I believe that the airport shuttle will take you to that metro 2 stop as well ( the one connecting Maglev Train ). If you have a lot of luggages, then it will make sense to take the taxi from PVG.

  8. Limin, thanks for your attempt to answer the jun’s question. There are more than one Rennaissance Hotel in Shanghai. There is one at the location you mentioned. The older one is Yangtze Rennaissance Hotel in Hong Qiao, which can be accessed easily from Pudong Airport via Airport Shuttle #3. The hotel is just at the terminal stop of the shuttle.

  9. I will be traveling to Shanghai in six days but will leave on Feb 7 so will miss the spring festival. However, I do have a big problem that just came up. I am starting a web based business and will do production in Shanghai. My Shanghai employee just emailed me and said she is moving in days to Bejing because her husband is being transferred immediately. She has also indicated the factory we were planning on visiting is closing from Jan 28 (hours before we arrive) until late February for the holiday. I find this very hard to believe since it is a clothing production factory with dozens of employees who live on site. My former employee was also our translator. We suspect that she has somehow offended the factory owner and is just telling us the factory is closing for almost a month. We desperately need to find someone in Shanghai who could call the factory owner and confirm exactly what the situation is since we do not think we can trust the word of our former employee… Does anyone know of a translator that uses both email and can phone. The lady who owns the factory speaks little English, but I must know what is going on…

    fran

  10. Jianshuo, you have your Goudaner-car, you’re lucky !

    I plan to drive my (rented) DaZhong GaoEr (VW Gol) to JiangXi in this lunar newyear to see Xiuying’s homeplace for the first time.

    Buses will all be overcrowded and trains are sold out.

    Planes are an option, but then we have to take a bus for 4 hours.

    There are highways all the way to Nanchang.

    Only problem is, that the last 4 kilometers are not convenient for normal cars, because the people living along the road spend more time being happy to play Mahjong then organize a “road renovation programme”. I expect sloppiness and reluctancy there…

    So different from my country !

    The car CAN be used for long distance driving, and can carry at least 4 persons, so more can pay and enjoy, if you plan a little in advance.

    Jianshuo, you are lucky that Wendy have a driving license too, then you can change the driver during the trip !

    Consider this option for future highlight events.

    Have a wonderful lunar new year !

  11. Carsten, nice to know you started driving again. I thought you have decided to quit driving in China already. To drive long in China can be challenge. Be specially careful in the Spring Festival period.

  12. fran, I am sorry to know that. Maybe you can post more clearly about the help you need and post on this blog again, so many readers can help you. If it is just a phone call, it is easy for many people here. At least I know some students and I guess they are willing to help. But be specific about how much time you need and other information.

  13. Is fire cracker still allowed in Shanghai during Lunar New Year? Last time I was there for the festival, the street was like a urban warfare battlefield, and some crackers are as big as a dynamite stick.

    Stephen

  14. It is allowed if there is no forbidden sign. There are many places with NO FIREWORKS signs.

  15. jianshuo,

    I need someone to call the lady who owns the factory (Ying) and give and ask the following information:

    1. we were very happy with the gown and pants she made and got many compliments.

    2. we want to continue doing business with her but fear our employee in Shanghai either may have offended her or perhaps not been factual with her.

    3. we were told her pattern makers are afraid to make patterns for us since the sizes are for large women. Is this true? If it is, we feel this can be worked out.

    4. is her factory closing from Jan 28 through the end of Feb for the holiday? that is what our employee has told us.

    5. tell her we are arriving Friday night Jan 28 in Shanghai and want to know when we could meet with her, Jan 29, 30, 31? We will be there until Feb 7 but would like to meet with her as soon as possible.

    6. tell her our employee in Shanghai no longer works for us and we would not want any of this request mentioned to her if she contacted the factory owner.

    my email is mattwenfran@cyberportal.net I have Ying’s contact number by phone and fax. She does not do email and prefers doing fax. I guess someone could write my questions in Chinese and fax them to her if they have a fax and she could fax the answers back to that person who could then translate and email me the response.

    I live in the state of New Hampshire which is very rural and I have been unable to connect with someone around here who is fluent in Chinese.

    I hope one of your bloggers can help!

    fran

  16. One more thing,

    when my friend Linda and I are in shanghai next week, we will need to hire someone who is fluent in English and Chinese to go to our meeting with Ying at least one day to translate and perhaps one or two other days as we try to figure out how we proceed in getting our small emerging busines back on track.

    fran

  17. Does anyone on here do skype? that would be another solution. we could be talking with each other on the computer thru skype while someone is on the phone with Ing.

    fran

  18. Chinese holidays are ridiculous

    The Chinese government just announced the “official” Spring Festival holiday schedule. And, as usual, it was a late announcement — offering 1.3 billion people very little time to make holiday plans. Shanghai blogger Wang Jian Shuo shows how sometimes …

  19. How would I go about hiring someone in the shanghai area who is fluent in English and chinese and can work in a factory there and follow production xchedules etc. I will be in shanghai nov 11 thru the 22nd. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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