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UPDATED: February 9, 2012 Web Exclusive
Feeling Sanya
A northerner's trip to southern Sanya during Spring Festival
By Li Fangfang

ALL DECKED OUT: Fishing ships are moored on the Sanyahe River in front of Sanyaqiao Bridge, which is all dressed up for Spring Festival (LI FANGFANG)

The year's hard work ended with an escape to Sanya, a major city in south China's Hainan Province. Spring Festival and the new year began on January 23 according to the Chinese lunar calendar.

What we tourists can't complain about is transportation by air in winter. When landing in Sanya, the southern breeze confirmed the reason for my trip.

In the next few days, what impressed me most was the scene full of people, the bus, the hotel and the scenic spot.

The crowded buses made it hard to breathe. Sweating and complaining, tourists with various accents sometimes talked with each other about how to improve the situation.

However, such a picture was seldom seen. They would quarrel at the drop of a hat, arguing over the slightest bump, nudge, or trodden toe.

My last bus experience in Sanya was like a reality show, with strangers as performers and no director. The bus was so crowded that the conductor apologized to passengers waiting at the stop that there was no more room. But passengers grew impatient. A woman squeezed through the crowd and got on the bus to tell the driver off.

"You can't refuse to take us! How dare you kick me!" the crazed woman yelled at the driver.

"Can't you see the bus has no more room?" the driver tried to explain to her.

I couldn't see if the driver had literally kicked the woman. I thought peace would return to the bus after the driver let her aboard, but, heedless of safety, she continued berating him even as his attention turned to maneuvering this overcrowded bus through holiday traffic.

It was about 28 degrees centigrade out but it still seemed like the air was frozen. After a while, a traffic accident at a crossing changed the situation. The woman's daughter and other passengers tried to persuade her to relent.

What I found touching was upon arrival at the woman's final destination, the driver got off the bus and apologized to her. It seemed like a happy ending.

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