How the Cookie Crumbles

An irreverant view of life after SIXTY-FIVE


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100-Word Challenge for Grownups – Week #148

Check this out to join

http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week148/

This week’s prompt is … as the waves gently lapped I … +100 words

100wcgu-72

FLIGHT

My blood rumbled like thunder. No-one knew what I’d done across the water. Yet. Fist to mouth to stop from screaming, I struck my teeth, hard. Now bloody knuckles too.

I peeked out beneath the tarp of the boat I’d anchored earlier. Dawn yawned wide across the empty lake and beach.

Scratch-scratch.

I kept still as death. Was that outside or in?

I spotted the rat beyond my feet and it wasn’t Johnny. He was dead. As the waves gently lapped I tore back the canvas and raced across the sand. Another rat too many for me. I needed fresh clothes, a bath, and a manicure.

 

© 2014 TAK


87 Comments

Xian, Day 8, Part One – Xian: Old City Wall (and more)

Before leaving for the day’s tour, I exchanged $100.00 Canadian to 547 Yuan and paid no commission. A Bank of China specific area was set up at the reception desk. The man was pleased with my brand new polymer bills unlike the machine at the previous hotel.

Our first stop of the day was at the old Xian city wall, which is 12 metres high (13.1234 yards). A lot of stairs had to be climbed to get to the top surface (15 metres or 16.4042 yards wide). We saw pedestrians and bikers, but it wasn’t crowded at all. Due to the short time allocated to look around, we didn’t walk far. There wasn’t much to see on top where we’d entered anyway.

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles (On top of the wall)

 © 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles (On top of the wall)

On one side we looked down on modern buildings and the other a market in progress. Buyers and sellers moved in and out at a brisk pace. The location made me think of a wide alley. Old buildings had been removed and continued to be knocked down.

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

 © 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

 

Next was the Shaanxi History Museum. Thousands of artifacts, too many people and stifling.

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

Steve, our tour guide, felt ill and stopped at a pharmacy for something to settle his stomach. Instead of leaving us for the day, as I’m sure he might have preferred, he soldiered on, lime-white faced.

 Our third stop in was the factory where the Terracotta Warriors were made. Reproductions of the originals (we will visit next week) are made by way of molds. No two faces are alike. The dedication to fine detail is incredible.

Warrior Wannabe

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles (A warrior wannabe)

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

LUNCH:

  • Eggs and tomatoes
  • Beef with onion
  • Rice
  • Vegetable soup with spinach(?)
  • Noodles
  • Spicy chicken with celery and hot peppers
  • Tofu
  • Cubed potatoes with caramel
  • Sweet and sour fish
  • Mystery meat on a stick (delicious)
© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles (Sorry this isn’t clear. Probably too much beer.)

 

XIAN FACTS:

  • Total population of China 1.4 billion
  • 200,000,000 Chinese still living in poverty
  • Floating population, living in country-side live on $2.00 a day and scavenge cardboard, paper etc.
  • Some farmers built rooms out of scrap on their property to accommodate the scavengers
  • Scavengers collectively work together to afford a room like this
  • If you own an apartment, your kids inherit it after you die. Cannot sell for profit.
  • If you are a real estate developer, or magistrate, you’ll manage to sell it
  • $300,000 USD + four-unit apartments were given to farmers moved off their land (so the story goes)
  • Some farmers did so well in new environment (new location), they became millionaires (so the story goes)
  • First day of Sweeping Festival begun (April 5-7)
  • Now more people are cremated
  • Traditionally one day for Sweeping Festival bit extended by government for travel to gravesites of dead relatives and loved ones.
  • http://traditions.cultural-china.com/en/14Traditions278.html
  • Cars with 7 or less passengers go free because of Sweeping Festival
  • Vehicles with more than 7, still have to pay toll
  • 6 billion trips are taken around the country during holidays and New Years
  • Our bus driver’s father is a millionaire farmer. Why is his son driving a bus?

Next on September 19th, Day 8, Part 2 – Xian: Terracotta Warriors at last

For more related posts, click on China tab at the top of the page


63 Comments

100-Word Challenge for Grownups – Week #147

Come on over to check it out

 http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week147/

This week’s prompt  … the hips and haws signal …+ 100 words

(Explanation: These are rose-hips and hawthorn berries)

100wcgu-72

GRANNY’S

The kettle screamed like a train whistle. Ivy raised a forefinger to signal her return, but Kay followed her.

“The photo albums I found in the attic this spring? I brought one today.” She leaned against the granite counter hugging bound hardcovers and watched her sister arrange the tea treats.

“Have we seen these before?”

“Nope. They’re Granny’s.”

Ivy placed the tray on the dining-room table. “Recognize anyone?’

“Yes, us.”

“Us?”

“Remember Granny explaining the hips and haws signal fall, and the right time to pick them for her wonderful jellies?”

“Granddad’s camera—we’re helping—too young for school— Wha?”

Smash.

“Hot-hot-hot. Save the photos!”

 

© 2014 TAK


92 Comments

Xian, Day 7, Part 2 – High Speed Train and a Banquet

On our way to lunch, I noticed renovations to something that looked like strip malls. Notice the second floor, middle addition. This is all brick with no framing inside and nothing else supporting the walls. I noticed this practice in different areas as we traveled throughout the country.

© All Rights Reserved by Tess @ How the Cookie

© All Rights Reserved by Tess @ How the Cookie

We passed numerous nurseries and fruit farms.

© All Rights Reserved by Tess @ How the Cookie

© All Rights Reserved by Tess @ How the Cookie

© All Rights Reserved by Tess @ How the Cookie

© All Rights Reserved by Tess @ How the Cookie

More empty apartment shells as we entered Zian.

© All Rights Reserved by Tess @ How the Cookie

© All Rights Reserved by Tess @ How the Cookie

We had our mid-day meal late, around 1:30 p.m..Somehow, I took no pictures of the food.  My brain needed a new battery; the jets weren’t sparking.

Lunch:

  • Drinks as usual (one: beer, water, OR soda)
  • Tea (yellow)
  • Rice
  • Egg steamed in wheat flour sweet dough
  • Green beans, garlic and fried onions (salty)
  • Sliced potatoes, garlic and yellow onions
  • Cauliflower, carrots and green onions
  • Sweet and sour chicken
  • Fried cabbage, carrots and green onions
  • Garlic sprouts with carrots and fungus
  • Fresh apple slices for dessert

Goodbye Lisa, Who will be our next guide?

We’d loaded our luggage on the tour bus when we left the hotel in the morning. Next stop: a high speed train to Xian. We’d been told it travels as fast as 250 km an hour. Nope, it did not. Our tickets had the gate, coach and seat numbers on them. When the doors opened, passengers had a two minute window to get in or out. I mention this because many passengers had luggage or packages in tow, which we had to stow ourselves. I spied an area aty the back of the coach where we’d entered. With Sue’s help, I made that bag jump onto the middle shelf. Why did it weigh so much? I hadn’t purchased anything. It turned out our seats were at the opposite end of the coach. Each time we stopped, I jumped up  to watch the back exit, worried someone might take my suitcase.

Boarding time was 3:41 pm, arrival slightly before the specified time of 6:10. Our new tour guide, Steve, ( 30-ish and a comedian) waited for us at the depot.

We drove straight to The Tang Dynasty Dancing Show and Dumpling Banquet. I was too far away for a clear picture.

© All Rights Reserved by Tess @ How the Cookie

© All Rights Reserved by Tess @ How the Cookie

 

OR

Still shots of all the costumes and amazing-looking girls:

https://www.google.ca/search?q=The+Tang+Dynasty+Dancing+Show&rlz=1C1EODB_enCA562CA564&espv=2&biw=1242&bih=585&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=OfkJVIvCCpD3yQSynoLADw&ved=0CEYQsAQ

The show was stupendous; the girls were beyond knockouts! Dinner consisted of a dozen different dumplings and were delicious

The tables were arranged dinner theater style as you’ll see in the pictures below.

Appetizers:

  • Tea
  • Beer / water / pop
  • Cucumber salad
  • Fried fish (white and mild)
  • Fungus
  • Celery
  • Bacon
  • Beef slices
  • Pot Stickers

The dumplings were artistically made to represent what filling was inside. For a better version than I could have taken with my iPad, click below:

https://www.google.ca/search?q=dumpling+feast&rlz=1C1EODB_enCA562CA564&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=-fsJVNmZFMmRyASahoLIDA&ved=0CFoQsAQ&biw=1242&bih=585

Delivered to our table were various flavored dumplings:

  1. pork and shrimp
  2. celery and egg
  3. pork, chicken and shrimp
  4. celery, dried bean curd and egg
  5. pork, egg white
  6. pork and hair weeds
  7. pork winter bamboo shoots and chicken
  8. pork and duck
  9. pork and mushrooms
  10. pork, black fungus and
  11. vegetable
  12. Walnut and jam (dessert)

 ~ * ~

I had internet in our hotel room that night, but had to ask for a code at the registration desk. As well, the converter I’d used in Beijing to charge my laptop and iPad didn’t work. Contrary to the last time I’d used the converter, this hotel outlet preferred straight prongs.

Hotmail was no problem. With Google, I could only read mail, but not send. I had the same experience in Beijing.

At our first hotel, one women even Skyped from the lobby with family members somewhere in the U.S. Before you wonder, she was loud and kept walking around with her iPad for WiFi. Most distracting. Still, I’m amazed at the benefits of this new technology.

 

Next on September 12: Xian, Day 8, Part One – Xian: Old City Wall, Shaanxi History Museum, Terra Cotta Warrior Factory

For more related posts, click on China tab at the top of the page

 


70 Comments

100-Word Challenge for Grown-ups – Week #146

To join in, check this out:

http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week146/

This week’s prompt:  …with your going comes the past…

100wcgu-72

ALWAYS

Busy hands, but racing heart—nothing helped—washing; ironing; packing. Tears leaked and memories replayed.

When I grow up, I’m gonna marry you.’ The scrawny blonde boy with bruised knees and scabbed elbows; dirty nails and muddied shoes—perfect. My heart twists still.

“Let’s go, Ma. We’re ready to roll.”

I grab the snacks and wink. “What’s the rush? You heading somewhere special—college maybe?” With your going comes the past, but though soon you’ll be a man, you’re still my precious boy.

“Hey. Put me down!”

“Swing your partner, dosie-doe.”

“Enough.”

“I’ll be home for Christmas.”

Not Thanksgiving?

“I’ll be fine. Don’t worry.”

“Never.” Always.


89 Comments

Shaolin: Day 7, Part 1

Already I was confused regarding the day. My iPad said Thursday but its calendar highlighted Wednesday. My laptop showed Wednesday, April 2nd. The reason for my disorientation was our schedule had been changed and I couldn’t follow remember what was next.

This is where we slept last night. Pretty swanky, but we saw no other guests.

© All Rights Reserved. Used by permission of RJ, a member of English 8.

© All Rights Reserved. Used by permission of RJ, a member of English 8.

From the hotel, we drove to the Shaolin School of Kung Fu. Our guide, Lisa, told us the attendees were 95% boys with 5% girls. We saw no girls. (She wore the same clothes as the day before: red track pants and quilted jacket. The forecast for the day: 20 degrees)

© All Rights Reserved by Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© All Rights Reserved by Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© All Rights Reserved by Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© All Rights Reserved by Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

We went inside for a Kung Fu performance, which must have lasted a good half hour or more. I took a couple of videos but deleted them because they were blurry. The little guy in white, the youngest but rapidly advancing pupil, demonstrated clutching a bowl shaped object to his midriff by muscle control. To prove authenticity, a pole was inserted through a hole in the object (was it a bell?) then lifted and carried around as he hung firmly attached, belly-up.

© All Rights Reserved by Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© All Rights Reserved by Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4-s8TBB6dw  (4.49 min) A peak at Kung Fu training.

Quick Facts:

  • Home of Shaolin School of Kung Fu
  • Established 495 A.D.
  • 10,000 students
  • Ages 3 to 18 (complete education here, equivalent to finishing high-school)
  • 95% boys / 5% girls
  • Half-day school / half-day Kung Fu training
  • This is a private school (parents pay for room, board, and tuition)
  • One month holiday in February during Chinese New Year
  • Parents can come to visit on weekends
  • Costs (10,000 Yuan) under $2,000 U.S. per year
  • Attending this school is good for finding a job later
  • Can open own Kung Fu school in other countries instead of finding a job
  • Famous personalities from this school: Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan

Pagoda Forest / Shaolin Temple

A short distance away we visited the Pagoda Forest. Rain drizzled as we walked around. Young girls giggled and stared and begged to have their picture taken with the foreigners.

© All Rights Reserved by Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© All Rights Reserved by Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pagoda_Forest_at_Shaolin_Temple

This is what the tombs look like.

© All Rights Reserved by Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© All Rights Reserved by Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© All Rights Reserved. Used by permission of RJ, a member of English 8.

© All Rights Reserved. Used by permission of RJ, a member of English 8.

Quick Facts: 

  • Graveyard with 248 tombs for important monks
  • Depending on life’s accomplishments = size of tomb
  • Depending on number of supporters (donations) = size of tomb
  • Tombs built during an eminent monk’s lifetime, not after death, and added to till he died

Some highlights at the Temple

© All Rights Reserved. Used by permission of RJ, a member of English 8.

© All Rights Reserved. Used by permission of RJ, a member of English 8. (The well is picture below)

© All Rights Reserved. Used by permission of RJ, a member of English 8.

© All Rights Reserved. Used by permission of RJ, a member of English 8.  (This is the preserved well.)

Protectors of the Temple

© All Rights Reserved. Used by permission of RJ, a member of English 8.

© All Rights Reserved. Used by permission of RJ, a member of English 8.

© All Rights Reserved. Used by permission of RJ, a member of English 8.

© All Rights Reserved. Used by permission of RJ, a member of English 8.

An Altar

© All Rights Reserved. Used by permission of RJ, a member of English 8.

© All Rights Reserved. Used by permission of RJ, a member of English 8.

Next on September 5, Xian: Day 7, Part 2

For more related posts, click on China tab at top of page


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One Clear Day

“Might you slow down, I’m nervous rushing in this weather.” Jane hiccupped and hugged herself. “We’ve already had one dreadful start to the summer.”

Billie gunned the accelerator. The Dodge van lurched over the line. Whoosh the wipers dashed stubborn rain aside. Bloated, slate-gray clouds gushed water like a busted dam.

“What’s the matter, don’t you trust my driving?” Billie lifted an over-plucked eyebrow as she glanced at her friend. “Should have been there twenty minutes ago. We’re late.”

Jane tucked whispy hair behind her ear and didn’t respond at first. “At least the traffic’s light. I’d rather be late than dead.”

“Why the hell did her husband buy her that motorcycle?” Jane stared through the sluicing windshield and bit her lip.

Thank you Microsoft Clipart

Thank you Microsoft Clipart

“Yeah, only one ride and gone at fifty-three. My God! Two young adults, motherless. Life’s unfair. I can’t imagine how her husband feels.” Billie’s tears slid down her creased cheeks.

Silence sank like a sodden blanket between the two sixty-something women. The driver gripped the steering wheel. Silver-streaked, once black hair stuck to her forehead. Eyes intent behind thick glasses, she frowned at the deluge. Although the wipers were in high gear, the windows fogged up. Billie cranked on the defogger and let up on the accelerator. The slosh of tires on the wet asphalt changed rhythm and slackened to a softer splatter.

“I hate funerals, especially this one, not that I’ve been to many.” Billie cleared her throat. “Sue was always there for me, you know. I ran away from home—before I met you? Sue’s family took me in and Mom was madder than a dragon spewing fire. We didn’t know them well then.”

Jane closed her eyes and nodded. Sitting straighter, she breathed deep and hard.  “How did this happen? The road was dry and the day clear.” Chin to chest, she sighed. “Sue was such a live-wire. Into everything—how long did you live with them again?” She massaged white knuckles, first one hand and then the other.

“Almost six months. We were both twelve.” Billie hesitated. “We became tight as Siamese twins. Soon after I agreed to move back home, her father changed jobs. They packed up and moved to Vancouver. Even Mom was sad to see them leave.”

The rain slowed to a fine mist and the humidity dropped inside the van. Both women concentrated on the road. Jane pointed to the exit, “Turn right on Wellington here and then left on Riddell. “Geez, this lot is packed.” She leaned into the backseat to grab an umbrella.

Billie swallowed and blinked away threatening tears. “Can’t wait to get this over.” They snaked up and down three aisles before they spied a parking spot. “By the looks of it, the chapel will be standing room only. Lord give me strength.”

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