Card games have long been good friends to the traveller whether on long train trips or waiting for transport connections. In hostels across the world people are playing chess right now or, more realistically, a nice game of shithead.
Head to any major beauty spot in China and you’ll find a tea house if you join China tour packages. Inside, there will be dozens of people clustered around small tables slurping cups of green tea, probably chain-smoking, and slapping down ivory-coloured tiles. You want in? Should you be expecting a simple game of dominoes, let’s clarify: three suits of nine tiles, four wind and three dragon honour pieces, four seasonal or flower tiles, three dice. Take your place according to the prevailing wind, and pick up and discard cards to collect a meld. Mah-jong is complex, addictive and incredibly competitive.
Mahjong is very popular throughout China, even when you have Guilin tours, you can also see people play it.
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