The first day of the lunar new year this year was similar to previous years. I celebrated with a few childhood friends and middle school classmates. In the past, we used to ride bicycles together, but now many people have bought cars, so we drove instead. This time, we went to the hometown of a classmate named Kang, which we had been talking about for many years but never visited - Xiajiang.
After having breakfast separately and agreeing on a meeting time, we set off for Xiajiang. We drove along the newly constructed cement road by the river, passing through Shangjiang and Xiajiang, until we reached Chen Kang's hometown.
It has been almost ten years since I last came to this place. In the past ten years, apart from the improvement of the roads, the scenery here has also changed almost completely. The most obvious change is that there are fewer trees and fewer people. "A few scattered households are located on the hillside."
Along the way, we passed by some gray houses. Kang smiled bitterly and said that these houses were "coated with a layer of cement by the government, but they are still made of mud bricks inside" - just to make it look like there has been progress when leaders inspect the area... Indeed, formalism never disappears.
The old hometown has changed a lot. It has transformed from bamboo sheds to "fake cement houses" now, losing its original unique beauty. However, this beauty is not practical in the middle of winter. It only made people feel like "Tao Yuanming" during middle school. Since no one lives in his house anymore, he has raised many chickens and let them roam freely in the surroundings. Due to face-saving reasons, he ultimately didn't let us enter the house - because there was too much chicken manure, and there were also girls with us. So we headed to the next destination: the "Hongtan Anti-Japanese Memorial".
This is a place where a small victory against the Japanese invaders took place in the past. A signboard stands there, detailing the glorious deeds of that time. The wind was strong by the river, and under our feet was a damp grassland. We stood there shivering and admiring the scenery. The scenery was beautiful, with a continuous mountain on the opposite side of the river, and mist floating on the mountaintop, like a fairyland.
Everyone took out their New Year's goods and placed them on an abandoned barbecue table, imitating a "hundred-family New Year's picnic".
We ate, drank, took photos, and then left.
There is another scenic spot in Xiajiang called "Masaniu" (Horse Urine). This is a place I often heard about in middle school and have seen on their phones - a waterfall about ten meters high. The water doesn't gush down like Huangguoshu Waterfall, but rather sparsely scatters on the rocks and then splashes around like a showerhead. Presumably, this is how it got its name "Masaniu".
Since the road has changed a lot, Kang was not sure how to get to this scenic spot, so we had to stop and ask a local. After receiving directions, we went up and down the mountain and finally arrived at a small village. Kang got off the car again to inquire. Soon, he came back and told us that he was about to mention his father's name to ask for information, but the family immediately patted his shoulder and said in Hakka dialect, "Brother - turns out we know your father, maybe we have helped each other before." They started chatting like that.
Guided by this family, we quickly arrived near Masaniu, but we still had to walk for another twenty or thirty minutes, and it was a muddy path. However, it started raining heavily at this time, and there were no extra umbrellas in the car. In order to avoid getting soaked, we had to give up. So we turned back amidst the sound of water splashing on the rocks, which was a pity.
We arrived at another one of Kang's homes around five o'clock. His family was preparing a meal, so they invited us to join them at the dining table. In their family tradition, they don't eat meat on the first day of the lunar new year, so after a day of running around, we still couldn't have any meat. We were quite miserable.