Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Wednesday 27 February 2013 #2

By the way, the village that we visited, as described on the previous posting is Conghua Xitou village.

The second village was visited by Alisa, Maria, Don and myself when we were in the Guilin area.

This was an equally fine visit. The village is located on farmland and we saw people washing
large, white radishes in a stream. The farmland looked prosperous and people were out working
the small plots of land. The distinctive scenery of the Guilin area made a wonderful backdrop.

The village buildings dated back to the Ming and Qing dynasties and we could see the eras represented by different
building materials. The Ming builders didn't use brick, but used rock in cement for their walls. The Qing era used grey
brick and the red brick is from modern times. It was interesting to walk the narrow streets and see the lovely wood
lattice work that is remaining. The old homes were very tall, in the Qing style. This village has a history of
producing great scholars from the Zhou family. As such, it was a prestigious village, since scholarship is held in
such high esteem in China. Now the village is the home of elderly people, as most young people have moved away
to the cities for better work. It was a historical jewel with well preserved streets, buildings, stone bridges and irrigation

After seeing inside one of the Qing era homes of a wealthy village family from 150-200 years ago, I was grateful for what
modern life affords us. It was a very nice and ornate wooden home, with a very tall and spacious public room. However, the floors
were hardened earth and the kitchen would have been without all of our modern expectations. Even the poorest in Canada
now lives better than the kings and emperors of yore. We have electricity, hot water from a tap, central heat and refrigerators. We
all have these basics. Plus, we don't have a communal bathroom. (Alisa's photo)

Wednesday 27 February 2013

This month we were able to visit 2 rural villages with our family visitors. Both were enjoyable.

The first was a mountain village north of Guangzhou. It was lovely with fresh air, clean water in the lake and irrigation streams,
mountain vistas, bamboo groves and fruit orchards. It looked like a prosperous village. The orchards were just finishing the season
for small oranges, some mandarin and some decorative, and the plum trees were starting to blossom. Don commented that he
could live there and be very content. There were local handicrafts made out of bamboo: cups, ladles, vases, etc. We had an interesting
morning wandering around the village and the fields. We could see the red lanterns and the red banners on either side of the doors, that
are usual Spring Festival (Chinese New Year's) decorations. There was a happy, festive atmosphere and women were choosing
live chickens and duck for their festive meals. As usual in China, we saw the mix of modernity and traditional. Most vehicles were
very modern and then we came across dried meat hanging and for sale. The smoked or dried duck seemed natural, but the hanging
cluster of dried rats was unusual, to say the least. How would that be used in cooking? Someone let me know.

Lily bought some slingshots (they must be universal ) and Debby was saved from a duck attack by an elderly gentleman grabbing
the duck by the neck. All in all, it was memorable.

John Chan of Lethbridge had told Matt to be sure to leave the city and see some rural life. His advice was perfect. We had a great day. By the way,
John was born in Guangzhou, according to Matt's information.

Elaine Lin, our Relief Society president gave me the information on this village and helped contact a tour agency. We rented a car and driver and took
our student volunteers (Michael and Vicky) so we could communicate with the driver. It was a great day. We ended the day with a formal
"spinner" dinner at the campus hotel restaurant. Thanks Grandpa Wood for paying for this birthday dinner. (I think that I have already
posted this information. Sorry! I cannot access my blog and so you will have to hear about the great dinner twice.)

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Tuesday 26 February 2013

Alisa and Maria left us yesterday morning and we realized that we are tired. Having fun does that!
They were delayed in Beijing for 2 hours on the tarmac and missed the Vancouver connection, but eventually arrived home.
Perhaps that gave them time to view the Beijing airport, which is shaped like a red dragon.

Our February was just wonderful for Don and I. Showing both family groups our home-away-from-home thrilled us. We love China, with
all its contractions. The campus is a beautiful place right now. Being in Beijing made us realize just how lovely the south of China is
during winter months. There are blossoms all year and the spring blossoms on the trees are especially colourful now.

Then there is always the shopping, and Guangzhou is one of the great wholesale centres of the world.
The wholesale pearl (jewellery) market put smiles on our faces.

More on the visits to come later.

Monday, 18 February 2013

19 February 2013 #4

A cute picture of a little girl being "the Empress" at the Tiananmen Squarre in Beijing.
She is not pleased!

19 February 2013 #3

Hong Kong was even more perfect because of a fluke in our hotel accommodations. Don had arranged to have
us stay at the YMCA on the harbour front in Kowloon. When we opened the curtains on the 11th
floor we had a million dollar view of the Hong Kong skyline across the water. It took our breath away. The New Year's,
fireworks were right out our window, almost at eye level. It was something that we will never forget.
We crowded into one hotel room and had a real party. Fireworks displays in other places will never be the same.
Forever second rate. It was pure magic for 23 minutes.

Everyone loved our stay in Hong Kong, even with the crowds.

19 Tuesday February 2013 #2

Here are more photos of the Great Wall. So great!

19 Tuesday 2013

Hello to family and friends,

My New Year's resolution is to resume my blogging more regularly. As we have seen China with our visiting
family members, I have realized that all of you are with me every day. I see something and it reminds me of
so-and-so. We see something else and we comment on how much so-and-so would love to see it also. So,
to all the so-and-so's in my life, I am thinking about you, always.

Daughters Alisa and Maria arrived in Beijing on Monday the 18th where we met them and then spent 3 wonderful days
touring the main tourist sites, having a grand time. It was cold and the city was drab, compared to the greenery of Guangzhou,
but the sites didn't disappoint. We had Jackie, our tour guide, and he taught us, took us to the best food imaginable, and
made our stay relaxed and fun.

The Forbidden City was crowded with Chinese tourists, as it is their main tourist destination. The Great Wall was our
thrill, as it lives up to its billing as one of the wonders of the world. Really, it is just something you can't believe.

Maria and Alisa can fill you in on our experience with our "real Louis Vitton" purses. All a part of a China visit.

I love the Beijing sites so much that I wondered if the first group would be cheated. They weren't because of their visit to Hong Kong.
Beijing and Hong Kong are the 2 great cities in China and they both provide a perfect memory, each with its own glories.

Beijing has the history and the wonder of the wall.
Hong Kong has the magnificent modern sky line and the beauty of the most spectacular city in the world. Plus we lucked out!
See my #2 blog for photos of our visit to Hong Kong with Ian, Debby, Matt and Lily.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013


Attn: Beneficiary,

We have being authorized by the governing body of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) facts finding department to investigate the unnecessary delay on your payment.

During the course of our investigation, we discovered that your payment has been unnecessarily delayed by some corrupt officials who tried to divert your funds into their private accounts.

Since the IMF completed the merger and acquisition process of all pending payments with the state governments involved, it was resolved and agreed upon that all unclaimed Funds should be released ASAP.

Based on these facts, we are happy to inform you that your fund is ready to be credited into your account.

You are therefore advised to contact this office for immediate release of your fund.

I look forward to your prompt response.
Mr.Tsan Songs
IMF Office.
The information transmitted is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. Any review, retransmission, dissemination or other use of, or taking of any action in reliance upon, this information by persons or entities other than the intended recipient is prohibited. If you received this in error, please contact the sender and delete the material from your computer.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Sunday 10 February 2013

Here are a few more photos.

Sunday 10 February 2013

So sorry about the posting hiatus. Basically, we are having too much fun and it is tiring.
Lily, Matt, Ian and Debby arrived about 1 AM last Monday and we have been walking,
walking, and walking ever since. Their company has been wonderful and it reminds
me how much I miss everyone.

It would be impossible to list all our adventures, just know that we have been having a good time.
Lily found her wholesale vinyl store. Matt found out that he can use the metro system easily. Ian found a good
jacket. Debby found that she can move outside of her comfort zone, and love it.

Some highlights have been:

Shopping for pearls.
Taking our country drive to a mountain village called Xi Tou Cun.
Enjoying a traditional Cantonese dinner to celebrate Ian, Lily and Don's birthdays. Thank you Grandpa!
Loving the Safari Park Zoo, rated one of the best in the world. (We all agreed!)
Having a foot massage.
Visiting the tomb of a 2000 year old emperor.
Seeing traditional Cantonese treats, music, buildings and neighbourhoods.
Witnessing the great annual migration (at the train stations) that comes every spring festival. (Chinese New Year)
Seeing the lights, red lanterns and the beauty of the city for New Year's Day, today.
Cruising at night down the Pearl River and seeing the brights lights.

We have yet to visit Canton Tower, surely one of the most beautiful and iconic towers in the world.
Tomorrow we will go to Hong Kong, by train, for an overnight visit.

Stay posted.