Archive for January, 2007
One other note. I included the image of a Ladies’ Room key holder which I bought in Hong Kong because I thought it would be a fun thing to collect. I seem to have odd stories about using these rooms that all are so different depending on the country you visit. I locked myself in the bathroom in a B & B in Ireland. In the early 80s on a trip to Japan I followed folks around a ferry trying to find which bathroom was for men or women and gave up when men went in both. When I was at Outward Bound on Hurricane Island, Maine I would joke that the 6 seater outhouse had a men’s and ladies’ entrance, but everyone met in the middle. Don’t ask I was 20 and didn’t care. There are lots of RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) cornfield stories too, clean, quiet, free.
In China little children wear split pants and go where and when they need…outdoors. I would love to take a photo, but know that would be terribly impolite. But the boys, young, but no longer toddlers, seem to take great glee in shooting away. They are not the least embarrassed, but probably wouldn’t want to be peeing forever on someone’s blog. It does remind me of the western (not Asian) fountains of boys peeing. The story supposedly is that a boy was lost. His father said that when he was found a statue would be erected of him doing what ever he was doing and you guessed it, he was peeing. So that’s what I think of when I see them.
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Wednesday, January 31, 2007
55 degrees and sunny
Here are some more Hong Kong photos.
Jumbos is the largest floating restaurant in Hong Kong or the world?! I’ll have to check on that.
Chinese fishing boats in Aberdeen.
Man stepping off a sanpan onto the steps at the Aberdeen Boat Club dock. Dorothy has lots of experience with the sanpans and climbing from shore to sanpan and sanpan to her boat, The David Ellis. She says it gets tricky when you are carrying lots of groceries. I found it tricky with 2 free hands.
Dorothy had asked me to mail a letter for her so we walked around Ap Lei Chou looking for a post office. I realized we had been directed to this post box when we finally found it. Maybe there is a real post office and maybe not. One man said there was, but it was closed Saturday anyway and we were there on Saturday. Since Dorothy was unsure of the postage we couldn’t use the post box.
A shop selling Chinese New Year decorations. I love this stuff!!
Some "do not" signs in the park; things one wouldn’t have thought of in our parks.
A long-time fishing village surrounded by modern apartment buildings. Some people are afraid the fishing village will disappear as more land is reclaimed for building. A Hong Kong tour guide mentioned that. It isn’t just an industry but a way of life. Fishing families live on their boats.
Our cute little lunch stop on Ap Lei Chou. The only trouble I had ordering was when I asked for hot tea. We had a light lunch and decadent desserts.
Ap Lei Chou is a lovely area and we will visit it fairly often for boat "stuff" when we are moored in Hong Kong to outfit the boat. It will be our first stop when we leave the yard.
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It is 9:28 am Tuesday January 30
It is not 2 days after the Super Bowl. Something I had heard on the radio about watching the game Monday morning in Hong Kong made me think they were talking about that Monday and not February 5th. Luckily, the one person we asked for the score was Australian or Austrian, (not sure what he said ) so he didn’t know how wrong I was. Plus, I confused Randal too and he was the one who actually asked the guy. Now if it had been about the Red Sox I would have known for sure. I do know the teams playing because it is a connection to home, even if it isn’t baseball. And even if it’s not the New England Patriots.
We had gone to Hong Kong just for a diversion, but also to renew our Chinese Visas that would expire the first week in February. I don’t know all of the politics involved, but China makes Americans get visas because America makes the Chinese get visas. Also, because we will be here so long we have multi-entry full year visas. We need multi-entry because each time you leave China you need a visa to get in. Most folks just get double entry because for a vacation that’s all you need. Once to get in and once to get back in if you go to Hong Kong or Macau since when you go there you leave mainland China. Also, we are required to leave the mainland once each 30 days… Because those are the rules and we have to follow them. I guess it is to prevent people from living here permanently when they are just supposed to be visiting, or have come "just" to work for companies here. We took or passports, gobs of money and little horrible photos (like the DMV photos) and went to a China Travel Service Office on Friday. We had to wait till Monday to get it all back. I felt a little odd without our passports, but there is no second choice. Also, where a hotel requires your passport, the Hotel David Ellis run by Dorothy and Dave Nagle just requires a "Thanks!" (Dave and Dorothy also have a Diesel Duck hull # 2.) We stayed on the David Ellis (named for their fathers) from Thursday night till Monday morning and for me it was a learning experience just watching them learn more about their boat. They are moored at the Aberdeen Boat Club in Aberdeen on Hong Kong Island. While we were there we went to the island of Ap Lie Chou which I kept wanting to call apple choi. It is a little fishing village with tons of boat supply stores. Since I grew up in New Bedford which is a major fishing port it was interesting to me to see the differences and similarities. I bought a bamboo fishing net darning needle as a souvenier. I have developed a love of bamboo and the fishing net needle might be similar to one they used in earlier fishing days in New Bedford. I certainly knew what it was as soon as I saw it. It is almost as smooth as the bamboo trees in the park.
While on Kowloon Island to renew the visa we visited book stores and I bought a book about Chinese brush painting which showed more brush strokes for trees and leaves, flowers and birds and maybe will inspire me. Randal bought several books and finished Pacific Tales by Louis Becke while we were away. With Dorothy’s infinite patience I learned a little about how to crochet. I also began The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards. I had practically stopped reading fiction at home and now seem to only read fiction. I need to get back to Navigation for Dummies which is not underlined because it isn’t the real name of the book I have.
On Sunday we went into Hong Kong Island. The Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong is made up of lots of islands, but Kowloon and Hong Kong are the area we tend to visit. While we were walking along one of the major walkways that link buildings we saw hundreds and probably thousands of women sitting on cut open card board boxes. They were smiling and talking and drinking tea. I thought it might be a protest for the homeless who at times (all around the world) live in boxes. But I asked one of the women and she said it was a holiday! Dorothy told me that many of the Philippino domestic workers have Sunday off and gather in these public places since none has a real home, but only a room where she works. Dorothy says they gather in groups that reflect their homes in the Philippines. It is sad and nice at the same time. Life is lived outside for many people. Even here in Jing An you see people enjoying the outdoor spaces more than at home.
The David Ellis is moored between 2 boats where the owners are friends. On the other side of the boat to the right of the David Ellis is the Kwakatu, the Fritsch’s boat. The Fritschs also own a Diesel Duck,(#4, I think). People visit back and forth by climbing over each other’s boats and this system sems to work just fine. You just haul on the lines of the boat and pull it close and climb from one to the next. I haven’t tried this yet. But I did master climbing on and off the boat from the sanpan taxi.
So that hopefull catches you up on the past few days. I have other stories from Doumen, but will tell them in other posts.
ps Weather was sunny and in the high 60s and lovely. Hope you all aren’t too cold.
Randal and Dave Nagle are checking out boat stuff in a shop on Ap Lei Chau.
Many of the sanpan drivers are women.
And everywhere there are gigantic sky scrapers.
I found a water buffalo statue too.
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Posted by: doramac in General
It’s 8:41 pm Monday, January 29th
Randal and I just got back from a trip to Hong Kong to renew our Chinese visas. It takes 3 days. Our boat buddies Dorothy and Dave Nagle who live on their boat the David Ellis in Aberdeen, Hong Kong put up with us from Thursday to this morning. I took photos and will try to show you what it’s like to take a sanpan taxi. We hadn’t realized that it would take so long or I would have warned everyone of my “silence” since I seem to email fairly regularly. But I’m tired and getting my land legs back. I’ll write more tomorrow.
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New exercise equipment in the big park. I tried the thing that works like cross country skis and it was fun. After 2 minutes I got off and couldn’t walk straight. I seem to lose my "walking normally on land legs" really fast. And I seem to feel the boat motion for a while after I get off. Probably just an inner ear imbalance from my throat issues. So that’s the photo story and my "friends" group works.
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Sunday, Jan. 21 9:45 am
My sister asked about the western style clothing the high school girls were wearing. 95% of the people I see wear western style clothing. Most of the 20 something working women and teenagers are far more fashionable than I ever was. the boys too, even with their hair. The clothing designs for women seem more feminine than in the US. There are bows or flowers or sequins or things on most tops. During the school days the students wear uniforms. Bright yellow for the primary school kids and grey for middle and high school. They are like track suits. Shoes aren’t part of the uniform.
Many of the t-shirts have slogans, but they don’t often have meanings that I can decipher though they are writtne with our alphabet. But sometime the ones at home you could read, you didn’t want to read. So which is better?
I’m going to Zhuhai with Lillian today just to go. I will look for a long sleeve turtleneck shirt for Randal who is larger than most Chinese men. But then I am larger than most Chinese women. Things are changing though. My new high school girl friends, 2 were taller than I and one was really just about my size. High School kids do seem to be larger than the earlier generations. I could be wrong, but that’s what I seem to notice. Too much KFC. Not really, since they are getting taller and not wider.
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1/21/2007 7:42 am
Have no idea why I picked Feb 4th as Chinese New Year. February 18th is the first day of the Year of the Pig.
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I’m finally catching up and here is another adventure tale to share.
A "Nothing" Day
( 1/18/2007 Thursday)
Today I had nothing planned. I usually have some sort of destination for my walks, but not today. I vetoed all of my own suggestions and just finally decided to climb the stairs to the monument and take the side path over to the big park. I thought I might walk over to my "bamboo friends" and maybe try to sketch them. Since it was a rather overcast cool day I thought the park would be empty so I could sketch in private. I have been so busy with the photos and knitting scarves for everyone that I haven’t been sketching so am way to shy to sketch with an audience.
While I was dawdling along exploring back neighborhood alleyways, my phone rang. "How fast can you get here? Chinese boat inspection officials are here for a sea trial." Randal was calling from the boat yard.
I told Randal to tell them to WAIT FOR ME! And he said he wasn’t about to tell Chinese government officials when to do anything. So I picked a "mature" looking motorcycle taxi man and showed him the business card with the address for Seahorse Yachts. He shook his head, NO! So I went running down the street and came to a group of three taxis and picked one, pointed to the Seahorse address and he said yes so I hopped on. No helmet, no nothing! I grabbed the driver around the waist with both arms and held on. We drove through town and back onto the main road (scary) and then over the bridge to Baijiao. Crossing the bridge I risked holding on with only one arm so I wouldn’t risk losing my Red Sox hat in the wind. So one arm around the driver, and one hand holding my hat. We turned into the main gate to the complex where Seahorse is located and then stopped. I waved my hand, Onwards! So he did till we came to a real mucky part of the road and stopped. The fare was 4rmb, but I gave him 5 because I was still alive. I ran over to the boat and climbed on board. But no one was ready for the sea trial so after a few minutes I got off and went to go pee (of course, that’s how I missed David Ortiz’s historic homer last September at Fenway Park.) No fear, I didn’t miss the ride. I came strolling back as they were casting off the lines so could climb on board. Can’t wait till our heads (toilets) are functional and I can pee on the boat. (Great ride; but during the next day’s trial, I GOT TO DRIVE AND WAS THAT FUN!!) ferry terminal. The girls were walking near me and I heard them say something in English so I turned to say hello. Now I have 3 new friends. I don’t know their names or have more meeting plans, but we spent a lovely few hours walking and talking and bubble riding. I took them to the park and treated them to a bubble ride. They had never been before. (The bubble ride operators love to see me coming! ) One of the girls taught me to say "May I take your photo?" The next day when I tried it on Stella, she didn’t understand so re-taught me. I’ll try it on Lillian who will meet me after lunch today. (I did and she didn’t understand so taught me something different from the others. Now I can’t say it 3 different ways!)
After the trial Randal stayed to work with our boat surveyor, Ray Wolfe, and I went off to take a long walk back to our hotel. I had missed my morning walk so would take the ferry and then the long way round to the hotel. On the ferry I happened to sit next to a group of 3 school girls. They would look at me and smile and I would smile back. When we arrived in JingAn we all got off and started away from the
As you can tell this email is a mix of days. On Friday we did a sea trial for the boat surveyor and that’s when I got to drive. Fido stood by me part of the time. Randal was with Ray Wolfe in the engine room. There was one point when we had to pass between a barge going down the river the other way and a tiny light house. There was tons of water space for all of us, but I called to Fido (Stella’s son) just to make sure. I was driving by sight and not with any gadgets. I don’t know how to use them yet and there was no need to use them where we were. Fido knew the river’s depth and there was little traffic and the visibility was 100% Just needed my eyes and brain. At first I was tempted to over steer, but gradually got the hang of it. There was little wind or current to deal with so the conditions were ideal for a first drive. I was surprised how confident I felt. I’m ready for my next lesson. It will be a while before I feel comfortable to dock, but maybe leaving the dock might be ok. They are still working on the boat’s wiring so it will be a bit before we move on board. We will probably still be in China for Chinese New Year so I will celebrate 3 New Year celebrations. Jewish New Year was in the fall of "06" and western New Year was January 1, now Chinese New Year is February 4th (I think). I should have lots of good cheer this year. Oink, it’s the year of the pig!
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5:35 pm Wednesday
I probably should broaden the title to computer skills nightmare, but I won’t. Too bloody much trouble. Grrrrr!
I spent about all afternoon typing all of my aol email contacts into my yahoo address book. Yes there are easier ways, but only after I have heard from everyone on the list. So I figured I would just do it the long way and be done with it. Then I divided them alphabetically into 4 groups in case yahoo won’t allow large email groups. But then as I attempted to use the groups, it didn’t work like aol so I have no clue how to use the groups yet. THEN our entire internet connection bonked out so that was that.
During the entire ordeal I did manage to add the fringe to the gigantic scarf I made for Randal or me, and then eat too many peanuts. I was so frustrated with yahoo and the internet that I started eating those peanuts. At least I could crack the shells, over and over and over. Great for frustration if not for the waistline. Of course then the entire internet died so I had a glass of wine. Eventually it will all get fixed, but in some ways my life has become so narrowed that using the internet is important. It’s funny how your life can expand and contract all at the same time.
Internet fixed! And I found one way to write to everyone, I think. All is right with the world!
Last night I bought some books for the Doumen Library. Jane took us to the really big bookstore in Jingan about a 25 minute walk from our hotel. I picked Kite Runner, DaVinci Code and 2 other anthologies about famous people and 1 book just because I liked the cover. All, of course, are in Chinese. I took them to the library this morning, and with the help of a phone call to Stella, who spoke to the librarians, I managed to give the books to the library. But as I said in an earlier email, librarians are librarians no matter where they work. I felt a real bond with them. I knew just from watching them what they were probably thinking. They gave me a fancy "thank you" just as the Roanoke County Public Library would do. I did wonder if they could use the titles I picked. I tried to pick ones they might not have the funds to buy, but that people would like to read. One of the librarians knew of the Kite Runner and I tried to communicate that I hoped she could be able to read it too. I love spending time at their library, but don’t want to cause an intrusion.
By then it was time for lunch so I walked through the light, cold drizzle to "Coffee & Talking", a restaurant. Randal and I have eaten there twice and the owner remembers me. He even remembered what I had ordered and I had the same thing, soup and veggies. Too many veggies, but the cream chicken soup was hot and good. Then a quick stop at a grocery store for milk, yogurt,and toilet paper and back to the hotel.
3 of the photos are the library staff and me. In one she is stamping the "thank you card."
the other 2 are Coffee & Talking and the view from my booth.
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Hi everyone 10:30 am wednesday
Randal off-handedly mentioned on his way to the yard today that we might move onto the boat in the next couple of weeks. We would stay in the yard, but get use to the systems, test them out and HAVE MORE SPACE and cook our own meals and do our own laundry. Sounds really exciting, cooking and laundry.
anyway, that’s it for now
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