New Year PineapplesApologies again for what will not be an illustrated blog entry, but I haven’t had the opportunity to get photos from anyone yet. So I am including a photo of two short trees covered with gold wrapping paper, making them look more like pineapples than anything else. Anyway, today is my birthday, the big 2-8, and I never thought I would spend it in southwest China on an archaeological dig. The day started out normal enough with people telling me happy birthday at breakfast, and I went to work on data entry like usual. I think I mentioned before that the street cleaning trucks play the “Happy Birthday” tune, and I heard an inordinate amount of them today. I am convinced it was all for me.

The day progressed without event, but things began to get suspicious as we were getting ready to go to dinner. People were hurrying in and out of one of the hotel rooms, so I was thinking that they got me a card and were signing it or something. A few more people said happy birthday, and we walked off to the normal restaurant where we have dinner as a group. One table of our group ordered me a huge bowl (we’re talking a half-gallon at least) of noodle soup, informing me that I had to eat the whole thing without breaking any noodles (that’s bad luck). We all laughed, I was trying to sneak noodles to other people at my table, and I thought that was it.

Then all the lights in the restaurant were turned off and they came in with a cake and a “28” shaped pair of candles, I was sprayed with silly string (which didn’t work at first, so I was being sprayed with a chemical, toxic sort of smell), we shared cake, there was a bit of a cake fight, and then I got a card and my present. I thought someone had wrapped up a piece of pottery in a labeled artifact bag, only to realize they bought me a pair of earrings and “catalogued” them like the pottery we find.

After dinner we had a short badminton tourney where I had to kiss the winner, and now I’m at the internet cafe, drinking a Sprite (with ice!) and surfing the web.

This has definitely been one of my most memorable birthdays, and American or Chinese, everyone in this group knows how to make someone feel appreciated!

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