Archive for December, 2006

December 25, 2006
10 am
Hi Everyone,
At 11 am I will go down to the lobby of our hotel and meet Lillian. She and I are going off to visit a high school. Earlier this morning I walked to the book store near our hotel and bought some books for the school library. During our lovely Christmas Dinner with Stella’s family and some boat friends last night, I was told by Caroline Mok that she and her friends always brought books when they made school visits. So I picked out some English/Chinese and Chinese/English dictionaries and the book store ladies helped me pick out 2 books of English/ Chinese essays.
I am going to this particular school because 2 students came to talk to Randal and me in the pedestrian mall. We were looking at the food choices at a little food stand when the students asked if they could help. Randal tried to treat them to some food too, but they said no. He was able to persuade them into going to KFC so we could have ice cream. Randal and I had the ice cream and the girls had fries and chicken nuggets which they think are wonderful. We chatted and the girls BoBo and Zoey invited us to see their school. BoBo and Zoey are their English names, names they take so English language speakers will have an easier time than trying to pronounce their Chinese names. I am especially grateful for that kindness because I’m terrible with remembering English names so hopeless with the Chinese names that I can’t hear clearly enough to recreate.
We exchanged phone numbers with the girls, young women actually, and with the help of Lillian called and arranged the visit today. It’s Christmas, but not a holiday here. People seem to celebrate the fun and feasting and decorating and gift giving of the holiday, but not the religious aspects and it’s definitely not a “closing down” holiday. My feelings are that where ever you are you join in what ever is being celebrated and learn about the culture. It usually just involves eating and that’s always good. I have brought some papers with the blog and library address to give to the students. When we met Bobo and Zoey they said their school was the He Feng Middle School, but I’m confused now after the visit.
Zoey, Ruth, BoBo
BoBo, Zoey, and Lillian
It is now 5:22 pm and I’m back from a very wonderful day. Bobo and Zoey are very charming and made me feel very special and welcomed. At 11 am I met Lillian and we took the bus to South Dor. I believe this is a correct understanding, but I didn’t write it down (rats!). I didn’t write anything down and have now definitely learned my lesson and will make up a Question sheet to take with me on other visits. A gentleman on the bus gave us directions to the High School. Lillian explained to the guard at the entrance booth who we were and why we were there and we were allowed in. (With the help also of a kind teacher who was there too at the gate.) Lillian finally was able to phone Bobo and arrange where we should meet. (We had made a plan to meet at noon but Lillian and I were unsure where.) Bobo and Zoey came running to meet us from their dorm where they had rushed to wash up before meeting us. I don’t know who was more excited the girls or me for this tour. First we walked over to the new library, but the librarians were at lunch then so we planned to come back later and we all went off to lunch. They said it was Chinese fast food, but I thought it was wonderful and flavorful, chicken, squid, meet, eggplant, rice, cabbage. After lunch we went on a little tour of the town and took photos of some picturesque buildings. Then it was time to go back to the school and see if the librarians were there. They weren’t back yet, but we took some more photos in the library. Lillian and I walked with Zoe and Bobo back downstairs and outside where we met the Head Master. Through Lillian he welcomed me and told me that the school was 243 years old, almost as old as the USA! He got us bottled water and told us to look around as long as we wanted. Bobo and Zoey went off to class and Lillian and I went back to the library because one of the librarians was going in and she told us the other librarians would be there too. We went into the library and shared the common language of books and libraries and world travel. The librarians were very kind, but sadly, though I have their photos, I don’t have their names. I wish I did. They very graciously thanked me for my books and asked if I wanted them as “reference” or “circulating.” I knew they would know best and told them it was their decision to use them the way they wished. We then chatted about the plans that Randal and I have to travel. Lillian translated for us though I think they understood some of what I said. I was the one who fell short with no language skills.

The wonderful school librarians, Ms. Lixian Liang and Mr. Cheng Qin Yu, and me. They graciously accepted the books Randal and I bought.

All too soon it was time for us to leave because Lillian had to be at work by 3:45 pm and it was 3:10 pm when we left the library. It was too late to take the 609 bus back to Jingan (Doumen) so we took a taxi. Lillian went off to work and I went off to rest and write this email.
I do need to work on my journalistic skills. I wish that I could call up the librarians and head master and say, tell me how to spell your names. Or what are more facts about the school. Bobo and Zoey live at the school all week and eat their meals there. They pay some tuition and that pays for their basic books. But the more money a student has, it seems that they can buy more books. I did ask the school librarian what happens when more than one student needs a book at the same time. She said the library would buy or borrow more copies so they could give them to the students. This is exactly what we did in my library. I told the librarians that seeing the students and the library really reminded me of home. I actually felt a little teary telling them that and was surprised by it.
So although I don’t have many facts, hopefully you will enjoy the pictures that Lillian and I took. I will post them in 2 parts. The first set are of the girls and the school. The second set are our walk around town.
I would never have taken this wonderful visit if Zoey and BoBo hadn’t been brave enough to come up to Randal and me and talk to us. And also, without Lillian as my guide I never would have taken the opportunity.
Ru
Zoey, BoBo & I are looking at magazines in the library.
The school library dedicated on the 12/24.
Zoey, Ruth, BoBo and I think Confucius
Books piled on a student’s desk! 
Students in their class. They wear grey uniforms

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December 22, 2006 4:15 pm

Hello Everyone,
Randal and I returned for lunch to our favorite pedestrian mall food booth and I ordered more of the green ribbon and some mushrooms too.  Randal said, “tell all of you it’s like eating a leather belt.”  I said, “it’s like eating the sea.”  Remember the salty taste on your lips when you swim in the ocean?  Salty and funky.  Well, this stuff smells and tastes that way, but good.  It is quite chewy, but chewable.  It is cooked in a “hot pot” of boiling flavorful liquid that is probably some oil, some spices, some water, and a mix or everything else cooked in the same liquid.  They use a lot of red chili peppers and cilantro and scallions, and you would pay lots for it at home.  We also ordered more fried rice and it was cooked perfectly and tasted chewy and nutty, perfect!  For months, literally, we had resisted these food stands and I’m glad that we finally tried one.  When they serve you the plate is slipped into a plastic bag that is changed for each customer.  This means they don’t need a large water supply or someone washing the dishes.  The plastic bags and the disposable chopsticks are terrible for the environment and that’s not a good thing.  I guess that we could bring our own bowls or something to salve our consciences.  But there are things you ignore or turn away from when you understand a little why things are the way they are.  I have also realized that things I think are exotic like chickens and ducks for sale along the road are only exotic to me, but Americans who grew up in the country or who have/had family members who hunt or fish would not be so amazed.  For the most part, growing up, all of our food came from the supermarket.  And even though we occasionally listened to the fish auctions on the New Bedford radio, even our fish came from the supermarket.  But New Bedford did have a wonderfully diverse population so we ate Portuguese food, vinegar on our fries like the English, and being Jewish I ate gefilte fish, lox, cow tongue, lentil soup with marrow bones, and….chicken feet.  Now maybe those foods aren’t Jewish foods.  You can certainly get chicken feet here and I might be the only Jew around.  So what I’m saying is that I share things that are new to me, but may not be new to Americans reading this who grew up differently.
Something I read in a book I bought in Seattle quoted Robert Lloyd Praeger.  “Walk with reverent feet…stopping often, watching closely, listening carefully.”  I may have quoted him another time, but I think about walking with reverent feet each walk I take in Doumen.  I want to see with understanding, but not to romanticize what is not perfect.  The thing about travel is that it lets you stop and look, something we tend not to do at home on a daily basis.  Plus Randal and I have the luxury of time.  Edward Norton, an American actor, was interviewed on CCTV International this morning.  He had recently completed a movie filmed in China and was here for the opening.  He said that tourists tend to move through a country and its culture, but working here for 3 months let him become part of that culture.  I thought, “what a great way to explain the luxury of time in one area.”  That’s why Randal and I have no real time table.  We want to not move through an area, but rather get to live there.
So anyway, here’s what we ate for lunch today (along with more rice)  and one of the fellows who cooked it.  It kind of looks like a father/son team at the stand.
Ru
seaweed & mushroomsSeaweed and mushrooms.
The hot pot.  We’ve eaten the doughy balls too.
The chef!
After lunch Randal went on to the boat yard and I went walking.
A bride and groom having photos taken in the big park.
This elementary school boy was picked up at school by his mom and taken home on the back of the bike.  They were stopped and were kind enough to pose for me.  It seems that all elementary school age kids wear these yellow uniforms.
The less beautiful side.  This is billowing from the Tsingtao brewery.

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Hi Sheila and everyone else,

My friend Sheila asked these questions, but I guess everyone might be interested.

What news networks are broadcast in China? What do your Chinese friends have to say about this administration and the war in Iraq? Can you read the NYTimes or Washington Post online?

There is one main English language station CCTV International from Beijing that we can get 24 hours. It’s a combination of commercial and public tv with many informative programs that focus on China today and its culture. You could even learn Chinese if it’s really possible to learn Chinese. My western ears and tongue are not having an easy time of it. It’s hard to mimic with your mouth what you can’t hear with your ears. The news on CCTV seems pretty even handed given most news anywhere is pretty shallow and unquestioning of the hard issues. We see news stories that talk about Chinese pollution problems and corruption and copyright issues. The central government doesn’t get criticized but the problems are aired. The war in Iraq is covered but America isn’t criticized. But the dividedness of the American population and Congress is mentioned. Coverage of the Middle East is fair too. But then China has always been good to the Jews and many came here to excape Hitler!

Shanghai just had an exhibit of the life of Jews who came from Germany and found a home in Shanghai. There is a video called Shanghai Ghetto that a librarian in the Philly Public Library told me about. You can go to their web site and watch the series on the Yangtze that they are broadcasting now. Go to google and type in cctv international English and you should be able to find it. We also watch channels 8 and 9 because they sometimes have English language programs in the evening. America’s Funniest Home Videos neither gain or lose in translation. (It’s broadcast in English.) Other American shows are on too. For a while we could watch Katie Couric at 7:30 am our time on Channel 9 , but now it’s either a Chinese infomercial or even worse one in English with Alexander Haig. But now we get ABC evening news in that time slot on Channel 8. I think 8 and 9 come from Hong Kong. There are lots of other channels, but they are in Chinese and they all have commercials!

We can go online and read from Roanoke.com or WDBJ7.com and Randal does both. My computer time goes to Boston.com/sports/redsox. Much more intriguing than world politics at this point. Interestingly we had dinner last night with 5 college graduates all in their early 20s. 2 of them had 5 kids in their family! The other 3 had 2 children, but the oldest in all cases were boys. All of these examples contradict what we had heard about 1 child per family. Because of the language barrier I didn’t ask how this could be, but they would have spoken honestly. We have had discussions with Lillian and with our Chinese friends at the boat yard. As I’ve said in the past, most people seems interested in family and building good lives for their families or getting good and interesting jobs….just like Americans.

And best of all I still am a member of the Roanoke County Public Library and can go online to the magazine and newspaper databases and read! Actually I could read the electronic books too.

After our first trip to China I read Annie Dillard’s book about visiting China to advise the powers that be what English language books should be translated and published in China with it’s then limited and precious paper resources. Her answers were interesting, but more so was her view of China which I found myself agreeing with from my short impressions. I think the title was something like..Arthur Miller in China. Your local library will help you find it if you are interested.

Do you drive in China?

I believe we would need a license to drive here. I made a joke about driving, because it would be a joke…too much traffic coming from every which way for me to want to drive, and I think we really can’t. But I’ll double check. Of course since the speeds are posted in kilometers I would be in a fix trying to convert all of the time.

How much more work needs to be done on your boat and when do you anticipate leaving China? Who will be on the boat with you and Randal…will you have anyone to help navigate and sail the boat?

Well, we’re not exactly sure when the boat will be done, but hopefully soon. We’ll go to Hong Kong and then on to the Philippines and then and then and then…. Just Randal and me on the boat. We have lots of electronic navigation equipment that he is teaching himself to use so he can teach me too. But that’s what we’ll do with our time in the Phillippines, learn the boat and get really comfortable before we really set off.

If any of you have questions, just ask. I once had to do a segment of Roanoke County Today on the public access channel. The County Administrator, Mr. Hodge was going to ask me questions about the library and I was supposed to answer. I was quite panicked about it, thinking I would have no answers and would just go catatonic. But just before broadcast I said, "You can ask anything you want, but I can only tell you what I know." Actually Mr. Hodge was very skilled at this sort of thing and got me through it with flying colors. I must have even enjoyed it because the then library director, Spencer Watt’s little boy said that I looked like I would be fun to play with! Funny what you remember.

The only way to find answers is for me to ask people and try to take good notes, easier said than done. There is no place to go to look up information, and most information at hand is in Chinese. For a retired reference librarian it is kind of frustrating, but I won’t resort to making it up…at least not yet.

Ru

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December 19th 5:30 pm
 
Hi everyone,
    Just some random photos from a few days just walking in Doumen and relaxing.  We now have computer access in our hotel room thanks to the loan of a cable from Lillian.  I am learning to edit the pictures before I send them so hopefully will eliminate the ones that are too small or too much sky.  This afternoon Randal finally worked out how to access our Hong Kong bank account (now, doesn’t that sound exotic, our Hong Kong Bank Account!) which has been a series of trials and errors and confusions.  He stayed in the room using the internet to transfer money to where it needed to be to make the ATM card work here in mainland China.  I went off to walk in the park.  I was on my way back to the room when Randal and I bumped into each other on the street a few blocks from our hotel.  He had gone to see if he had been successful with his internet banking and had gone to try an ATM machine.  IT WORKED!!!!  Feeling "flush" he saw a woman selling helium filled balloons and bought them all  and handed them to a man who looked rather down on his luck.   ALL 42 of them!!!  Rats, I wasn’t there to take a picture.  So you’ll just have to take it on faith.  Hopefully the balloons will bring some fun and cheer to the man and everyone watching.  It was a very Randal thing to do.  While I was at the park there were several young women in traditional Chinese dress being "made up" with exaggerated but lovely makeup.  One, when her’s was completed, did a little twirl and backbend that was quite graceful.  In contrast, sticking out below her red silk costume were white sneakers!  Then I saw more bubble people, 2 teenage boys looking somewhat like hamsters in a ball.  They were then hauled to shore and let out of the bubble.
 
    Earlier in the day Randal and I finally tried the food stands in the pedestrian mall.  You sit down on a stool and point to what you want.  I pointed to what looked like some kind of celery and something that looked like heavy ribbon shaped  thick seaweed noodles.  Sound appealing?  I had to pick what I wanted them cooked in.  There were pots of boiling liquid.  I think these things are called hot pots.  I picked one that was quite spicy but it all tasted good.  I washed it down with Sprite!  No diet soda here unless you find it in the grocery store.  But my mouth was slightly on fire so who cared!  Randal ate 2 hard boiled eggs, some pickled lotus root and we shared 8 fried little round balls with stuff in them.  Sorry about the inadequate description, but I don’t know what to compare them to.  One might have thought they looked like honey donut holes but they weren’t sweet and they had meat inside.  The entire meal cost less than 70 CENTS.  Later in the afternoon we walked down a little side street and found a whole new "wet market" where they sell food, veggies, raw meat, fish, and live chickens!  Very interesting and the vegetables looked so fresh and healthy.  When we live on our boat we’ll be buying at least the vegetables in places like this. 
 
  So that’s kind of a hodge podge of stuff
 
Ru
 
shop_window.jpg
A shop window. 
My coworkers at the library must be amazed at my constant window shopping since jeans and a simple top were my usual work costume.  Maybe if I had these choices I would have been more fashionable.  Maybe I just never took the time to shop at home or the prices weren’t so great.  I still really only just look.  Jess, Kim, and Caitlin wish you were here to take shopping with me.

scarf_shop.jpg

Scarf shop, but not where I bought mine. 

These are more for cold weather

little_shrine.jpg  A little shrine with incense outside the door of an apartment seen on my way to the big park.

bubble_blow_up.jpg  Blow up of mom and child in the bubble.  Until I learned to blow up the photos and crop them I couldn’t even see that there was an adult in the picture.  I’m learning more about the camera each day.  (Maybe I CAN learn the boat’s electronic systems!)

tempting_stairs.jpg  Who wouldn’t be tempted to walk up here!  But I didn’t this time. Maybe another time. camera_shop.jpg

Camera shop in Hong Kong with the shop owner who gave us great help and what seems to be a great deal too!

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Hi everyone,

 
It’s Sunday evening 12/17/2007 and we now have access to our computer in our room.  Lillian was able to find a cable for us and Randal hooked up the computer, yippeee. 
   It was one of those perfect sweater and scarf days with the sun shining and the air CLEAR and the sky really blue.  I couldn’t resist a visit to the big park at the foot of the mountain.  I window shopped my way over and will show some of those photos in another email.  I was looking for a shot that would show how clear and sunny it was when I saw those 2 plastic balls off in the distance on the lake.  I didn’t have lots of time, so walked/ran over to see what it was.  They are 2 huge plastic balls filled with about 10 minutes worth of oxygen.  They are tethered with ropes to the shore.  Kids get in and go to town!Aliens?What on earth, aliens?
zipped inBeing zipped into the plastic ball. 

bubble children 1bubble children 2

 
No one back at the boat yard, including our new friend George from Bulgaria, had ever seen such a thing.  There were lots of kids and lots of parent watching the fun.  I truly never do know what I will see when I go walking.  George is also staying in our hotel.  He is here representing a German buying a mega million dollar yacht being built at a different yard.  George is an engineer who will also work on the yacht when it goes cruising with its captain, crew, chef, etc… and the guy buying it; not quite the way we’ll be doing it. 
 
Next post I’ll share other pictures from today.  And later I’ll show you some of the Chinese characters I’ve learned to recognize. 
 
Those of you reading this on the blog need to thank Darlene Smithwick at the Roanoke County Public Library.  She and Marino Rancier, computer guru, and Diana Rosapepe the library director have made this all possible.  Darlene loads all of my email loading the photos in a far more interesting way than I send them.  And as all authors say, any errors are all mine.  Thanks all you guys…my former colleagues.
 
Ru

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Hi everyone,

Yesterday Randal and I went to Zhuhai on a spur of the moment trip.  Bill had to go so Randal and I went too.  Bill went off to do his thing and Randal and I mostly went window shopping.  I couldn’t find a nightgown anywhere.  Just PJs so I might have to go that route.  My sleeveless cotton knee length isn’t cutting it now that the weather isn’t so warm.  Plus it is starting to look rather raggy.  Anyway, I did find a pair of heavy linen like elastic waist draw string pants that I really liked for 38 rmb or $4.85 US.  They even go with the jacket I bought in Gongbei so now I’m all dressed up and hopefully we’ll go somewhere soon.

After the expedition we met Bill, Jerry, Dennis, Natalie and her 2 friends at a Muslim restaurant.  We ate really wonderful spicey lamb dishes.  Kabbabs, lamb “pasties”, lamb ribs, lamb spring rolls, lamb soup, and a few other dishes till I was close to exploding. Muslims don’t eat pork so they eat lots of lamb.  A chicken dish had been ordered, but came at the end and I was just too “tai baolla!”  (How I pronounce “FULL!!! in Chinese.)  Luckily Randal and I had only had the tiny ice cream cones while shopping.  But we had eaten our usual boat yard lunch so it was a big eating day.
I don’t have photos of our food, but of the dancing girl.  One diner got up to dance with her!
Those are Natalie’s 2 girl friends (sorry I don’t know their names.)
Have you noticed that lots of our activities revolve around food!
Here’s a factlet that we heard on tv, 3.4 of 100 Chinese have cars. I can’t imagine when that number gets a lot higher.   Randal and I have taken the bus twice now and find it convenient.  It did take us 2 hours to get from the ferry instead of 50 minutes by cab.  But we had to change buses and made a mistake so had to take an extra bus to fix it.  We did save about 75 rmb.  Actually that’s not much money, maybe $10 US  but we had the time and it was an interesting adventure.  And it did pay for my $4.85 pants!
Ru

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Friday, noon 12/15/2006
Hi everyone,
Last Tuesday Lillian, our hotel clerk who has also become our friend, took us back to the mountain temple.  This time we all took the 609 bus for a few rmb and got off at the foot of the road that leads up the mountain to the temple.  We passed honey farms and strawberry fields.  We walked and walked and walked.  The road was long but quiet, we heard crickets and felt the peace and quiet you never get in town.  The lake is very blue and is used for the reservoir.  At one point Lillian and I made duck callers from long grass blades (me) and a folded leaf (Lillian.) We both had learned these skills as kids and both thought the other method difficult to learn.   Finally we got to a long set of stairs and huffed and puffed our way up.  Then we got to the plateau just below the temple.  Lillian reminded us we had the 49 steps to the actual temple area.  Randal and I huffed some more as Li! llian ran up the stairs.  We listened to the monks chant and after a bit I went to use the WC (water closet in British and often here in China, the  head in boating,  and “ladies” in US.
Just one more, just one more!
My shoes were covered with muck when I got done, but the strawberries were beautiful.  Two big bags and 2 strawberry plants cost very little.  Randal paid and he’s not here just now so I can’t tell you how little.
The whole time we were picking the berries I kept thinking of a children’s book I liked called The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher. I don’t know if I had catalogued it or just read it at work.  Molly Bang is the author.

“A grandmotherly woman, depicted mostly in negative space, outwits a persistent blue imp.”  I remember liking the images and the title.

When we are with Lillian we always learn more Chinese though I can’t always remember it.  She is a very patient teacher.
I’m off to lunch now.
Ru

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Hi everyone,

Here are more pictures of us and the xpats dinner. It wa quite lively and noisy with New Year’s noise maker wars among some of the tables. Our entertainment was eating, drinking, talking, and making paper boats! The hotel staff did a wonderful job and everyone had a jolly time!

Ru     Saturday, 12/9/06 12:15 pm (part one sent just a bit ago)

entertainment.jpg

 

 

 

 

Our eveing entertainers! They were quite good and sang all the popular songs on the radio back home

 

 

 

4_generations.jpg 

 

 

 

Three generations: Seated left to right: Stella, Stella’s mom whom everyone calls grandma (grandma is over 90) Connie, Stella’s daughter-in-law, and Stalla’s daughter Natalie is standing in back

 

 

Bill_and_Stella.jpg

 

 

 

 

Bill and Stella Kimley

 

 

 

 

dancing.jpg

 

 

 

 

Other X PATS dancing away

 

 

 

 

Ruth_and_Randal.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Randal and with our New Year’s necklace

 

 

 

Dean_Phelps_and_Henry.jpg

 

 

 

 

Dean Phelps, boat buyer and Henry, Stella’s nephew who works at the yard and translates for us

 

 

 

paper_boats.jpg

 

 

 

 

This is what boat builders and buyers do instead of dance!

 

  

 

Fido_and_Connie.jpg

 

 

 

Fido and Connie, Stella’s son and daughter-in-law. Fido and Connie also work at the yard and live in Zhuhai. Bill and Stella live with Grandma in their new beautiful condo in Beijiao not far from the yard.

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Dean Phelps and I went to Gongbei to shop. He was looking for Christmas and birthday gifts for his wife. I just wanted to see Gongbei. It’s a huge indoor mall with little shops selling shoes, handbags, jewelry, and stuff, “lots of stuff”. One can buy Coach or Prada or Rolex, or so the labels say. I have no pictures of the mall so you just have to imagine any flea market you have been to morphed into a mall like atmosphere. There were rows and rows of rows. Dean said that we could meet back at a certain time, but since I had no set goal, and since I’m not so great with maps, I stuck with him. This made for funny interactions with store clerks when he said he wanted something for his wife and said I wasn’t his wife. The clerks would look at me unsure what to say. We tried to explain at first, but then just stopped worrying about their confusion. Explaining that I was a friend made it worse so what can you say. Plus they really didn’t care as long as someone bought something.
Now this is something you won’t experience in an American Mall. We were looking at some items when the clerk motioned for us to follow her over to the back of the little store. She then opened a wall of shelves and lead us into the tiny room behind it and shut the door. It was stocked with stuff. Strange shopping mall scenario and thought now what? Dean and I were eating ice cream cones and he managed to let them know we needed to go out to finish our cones and then he would come back. I didn’t care if he meant it or if it was a ploy to get us out of there. Not that it was unsafe, and Dean is retired FBI, but I wanted out of the tiny space. I waited back in the “real mall” while Dean went back in and made his purchases. I can’t tell you more since it’s a gift for Carol his wife. (For a different purchase Dean had called Stella back at the boat yard and she negotiated with the store owner. Plus the owner provided the phone.)
I wandered a little further and found a store with shawls, my downfall along with books. The ones that I liked were 70 rmb or about $9 US Stella had told us that bargaining was expected and I saw a Portuguese woman negotiating for her purchase. (Gongbei is very close to Macau a former Portuguese possession and similar to Hong Kong.) I found 2 shawls that I liked and offered the owner 100 rmb. He said 120, I said 110, He said 115, I said 110. Done! That’s a little over $12 US so each shawl had cost a little over $6 US.
Next we found a store that had traditional Chinese clothing. I saw a beautifully made jacket and knew I was doomed. I kept saying just looking, just looking, but the sales clerk was cute and good too. She said just try it on, no problem. So I did and it fit perfectly. I asked about other colors and tried one that was a red color. But when I had it on the clerk said, “No, the green one.” We looked at the blue too, but the green was best and so I bought it and actually wore it to the Xpats dinner that night. (Our shopping trip was the afternoon of the xpats dinner.) The jacket was 130 rmb and I paid 120 rmb or $15 US. I definitely thought it worth it.
At one point Dean was asking a store clerk if something was silk and she didn’t understand. My little phrase book only had the expression Silk Road. The clerk said yes, and we know it couldn’t have been the road part she was agreeing to given the store we were in.
It was lots of fun looking around. But it was hard to avoid the sales pressure so just looking was difficult. I might have bought more if I could have really looked at stuff though I didn’t really “need” anything…even what I bought.
After about 2 and a half hours we were ready to go and so went out to the cab stand. Stella had written Holiday Inn Zhuhai in Chinese for us to show the cab driver so that was no problem. We got to the hotel, checked Deans bags and my backpack and went for a little walk in the nearby park. Dean decided to go back and sit in the hotel café area, but I took a hotel card and went out for a walk “around the block. “I took the hotel card in case I got lost. I thought that impossible if I just “walked around the block.” It was a huge block that really wasn’t a block. I walked straight down the street from the hotel and turned left, walked, turned left, walked, turned left. But I was past the hotel and didn’t quite realize it. I showed my hotel card to a book store guard. He seemed confused but then showed me where to go. I walked down past the store and then came to a corner not sure if I should go left or right. I stopped someone and showed him the card. At the top of the card in English it said Take Me To and then some Chinese below that. I thought the Chinese said Holiday Inn. But it said “take me to” in Chinese and then a big blank space. No wonder they were puzzled. On the bottom of the card was an address and I finally thought to point there and then he could tell me to turn right and then left. Obviously I found the Holiday Inn because I’m here typing this.
My 2 new shawls. Reversable, label says pashima and silk
Jacket and shawls. The jacket is fully lined. It is a size L
Me posing in our room in my jacket and pj bottoms.
Ru

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Hi everyone,

Yesterday was a busy day. Dean Phelps and I went shopping in Gongbei during the afternoon. I tell you all about that in another post. From there we took a taxi over to the Zhuhai Holiday Inn and met everyone for the dinner.

Here is what we ate and ate and ate………

beetroot.jpg Beetroot cured gravadlax (smoked salmon), Smoked duck breast with tomato salsa, Christmas gammon with honey orange dressing (beef), Shrimp with asparagus in chili sauce!

Not pictured….Pumpkin soup with basil and toasted pine nuts…yummmm!!!

roasted_turkey.jpg

Roasted turkey served on chestnut and herb seasoning with a red wine and cranberry jus, Chateaux potatoes tossed in butter with herbs and onions, pigs in blankets and seasonal vegetables.

cheesecake.jpg

Amaretto cheese cake served with orange and blueberry sauce

 

host.jpg

Here is our very kind host Jerry Wallace sitting between Natalie (Stella’s daughter) and Bill Kimley our boat builder

 

Randal and I had a wonderful time. The food was as super as it sounds. My favorite was the smoked salmon. Actually after eating every bit of the first two courses I didn’t do justice to the main meal. I did taste everything and the acorn squash, turnips, carrots, turkey, stuffing were just like home. (except for the stuffing which was much fancier than at home.) It was all washed down with more red wine than I should have had, but wine is good for me, right? I did manage to eat all of my dessert and coffee which was a yummy as it looks.

So thanks Gerry!!!

I have other pictures of the sights and sounds of the evening and will post that next

Ru

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Ruth and Randal




Boston Red Sox hat travels the world.