How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


Packing Up and Homeward Bound

Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

Breakfast was a disappointment. Again:  dry buns, squashed croissants, and small stale Danish. I loaded up on cantaloupe, watermelon and pineapple, a piece of toast, and coffee. I decided not to gorge on our last day.

After breakfast, Ernesto and his wife entered an elevator with two Chinese businessmen. It stopped part way to their destination and wouldn’t budge. One of the businessmen began to sweat, his face beet-red. Ernesto’s wife hit the red button and someone answered at once with instructions but nothing worked. After a moment or two—that’s all it took—the elevator stirred to everyone’s relief, especially the Chinese man.

~ * ~

Time to leave for the airport, Sue and I towed our luggage to the elevator at 8:25 a.m. Though it appeared too full, the occupants insisted we get on. We stopped on almost every floor and with much shifting, more people squeezed on. I laughed inwardly because this felt like the Volkswagen commercial where endless lines of people pile in. Nobody thought the elevator was too full to get on and no one considered waiting for the next one. By the time we’d reached the first floor, we had enough Chinese people to start our own small village with a population of a million or two.

~ * ~

After we’d settled at our boarding gate at the airport, Sue and I went in search of bottled water to take on the plane. Before boarding, we passed through another security check, opened our bags and carry-ons, and lost the untouched water. Other passengers had also purchased water but were robbed of their bottles as well. A female passenger argued with the stewardess.

“There should be a sign if we’re not allowed to bring water on board.”

“Madam, we are not allowed to do that in Hong Kong.”

“Well, how was I supposed to know my new water bottle will be confiscated?”

“You will know for next time.”

United_787_800_RR

I tried wifi at the airport without success. The plane before us had been delayed; the passengers moved to another gate after much dithering. Our flight wasn’t announced. Tick. Tock. The clock snuck past our boarding time with no updates offered. Finally, another gate became available. We were 35 minutes late boarding. Thank goodness we didn’t have to run to the other end of the airport, but I worried about the prearranged limo we’d paid for to pick us up in Toronto.

The aircraft was puny: two seats on either side of a narrow aisle, not unlike the one we had taken from Toronto to Chicago at the beginning of our trip. The door closed and—nothing. We waited. The passengers shifted in their seats and looked at each other across the aisle. Coughs and sneezes echoed throughout the cabin. Drat. Disease incubator!

1st announcement:

“We need to fuel up so we have enough gas to get you to To-ron-to.”

2nd announcement after a long spell of twitchy waiting:

“We’re trying to locate the guy who’s supposed to fill us up.”

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

(Is that enough fuel? Are you kidding?)  Credit: Wikimedia Commons

3rd announcement:

“He went to the wrong…”

W-h-a-t?

My heart danced the Nitty Gritty. So close to home—yet would we even make it?  The air in the cabin grew stale and stifling. Susan’s stomach had been queasy while we were still in the airport. I now had a scratchy throat and stuffed sinuses.

Credit:  SOUL of the North : tolpuddleman’s channel

~ * ~

Finally soaring, the flight proceeded without further incidents. My eyes didn’t itch nor burn from lack of sleep though it was the middle of the night. By 1:00 a.m. breakfast arrived, but I wasn’t hungry. I had half the omelet, a taste of the anemic pork sausage and two toonie-sized hash brown coins. The drinks cart came around once. I would have loved more coffee. Finally, a second offer was made.

I watched a lot of movies, and read a complete book I’d borrowed from an avid reader in our group. Touchdown in Chicago didn’t require five or six hours to proceed on a flight home.

We arrived in Toronto ahead of schedule and in one piece but had to trudge forever across the tarmac to the airport. I felt like a rag doll. The airport is huge; it isn’t easy nor forgiving. There are no walkalators nor airport treadmills. Not a washroom in sight for miles and miles.

I noticed something interesting at the baggage carousel. A female police officer and a sniffer dog checked the incoming luggage. I’d have expected a German shepherd, instead, a beagle named Lucy sniffed and wagged.

Credit: Google Images

Credit: Google Images

We waited about five minutes for the limo driver. The deal was if the plane didn’t arrive on time, the driver would only wait for an hour. Phew! Almost home.

Soon we sped towards home-sweet-home, the great adventure over. I couldn’t wait for a hot shower without watching the clock and to snuggle in my own bed again.

The End

Next on February 2nd: North to Alaska

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014

~ * ~

I plan to drop in for a visit and a short update Monday.

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Hong Kong, What a Throng, Part 4

Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

In Aberdeen, the ferry driver burned more stinky gas turning the boat (40 – 49 capacity) out of the parking slot at Tai Pak Marina than the amount it took to get to the floating Cantonese restaurant. I expected the restaurant to rock due to the rolling waves due to boat traffic, but it was rock solid firm. The huge open space hummed like a beehive and didn’t feel like a ship. The male servers wore microphones with coiled phone wire tucked behind their ear like secret servicemen in the movies. We’d heard Cantonese people like to eat out and this being Easter weekend proved it. Every table was filled. I counted 36 tables and each appeared to be set up for 10 guests. We were served on the third floor.

Lunch:

  • Sweet and sour sauce
  • Chili pepper sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Steamed shrimp in rice paper (rubbery)
  • Shrimp wontons
  • Steamed fish balls
  • Pork balls with cabbage (?) (tasty)
  • Steamed sweet dough wrapped pork (?)
  • Noodles with curry shrimp, green peppers, and egg
  • Fried rice with shrimp peas, corn and green onions on noodles with ginger
  • Jasmine tea
  • Coconut Jello (but not clear like Jello

This was a long affair from 12:55 to 2:10 p.m. When we arrived, we waited longer than usual for the food to arrive. Again, everyone in the restaurant had the same food. I thought I was smart when one of the ladies wanted more tea, but couldn’t catch the server’s attention. I lifted the teapot lid and replaced it at an angle, not snug into the opening. Another of our group waved the waiter down to ask for more tea and he showed her the same thing I had ‘invented’. Am I brilliant or what?! I have no clue how I came by this idea.

After lunch—what a treat—a surprise visit to Dynasty Jewelry Manufacturers in a-last-stab-effort to our lined tourist pockets. We English 8, too few to bother with, the presentation transpired in French only. Right. Though the jewelry was magnificent, who walks around with the kind of money for such purchases without forethought?  Bored and poor, though I’m attracted to sparkly things, I wandered around shadowed by a clerk who didn’t even pretend he wasn’t stalking me. After all that, I’m not sure anyone in the French Group purchased anything.

© 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. All Rights Reserved.

Next, we climbed a steep, serpentine road to Victoria Peak. I held my breath as another bus passed us traveling in the opposite direction, grateful we were in the inside lane. We passed breathless views for perfect picture-taking, but photo opportunities came and went. There wasn’t room to pull over and we’d likely be killed crossing the busy two-lane road. If we beat traffic, someone might fall over the edge. From the bus, the city gave the impression of a toy city.

Our destination: The Peak for picture taking and The Peak Galleria (the mall for shopping). We had to go inside and up escalators to the third floor, then outside to the extensive viewing platform for spectacular views of the city and Victoria Harbour. Because of the distance, my photos were small. With more time to kill, I checked out the mall. Actors dressed in rabbit costumes put on a show for shoppers’ children, this being Easter Saturday. I wandered into a drugstore and bought nail polish for our last dress-up dinner before heading home. Two tiny bottles (about half the size we usually see at home) cost a grand total of $2.00 total.

Quick Facts

  • 1,800 square foot = luxury apartment
  • Condos at Repulse Bay under $20,000 USD per month
  • Visiting Businessmen are put up in these type condos
  • Usual apartment rent around $1,300 USD
  • If cannot pay, government subsidises at $300 USD per month
  • Long wait to get subsidized apartment: 4 to 5 years
  • A car traveling to Hong Kong has two license plates: one for Hong Kong and one for China
  • No casino allowed in Hong Kong
  • If one travels to Macau, must return home 5:00 p.m. like from work
  • Hong Kong 93% Chinese + Pakistani Indian
  • Has 272 islands
  • West Hong Kong is new
  • Have many temples, mostly Taoist
  • 150,000 immigrants arrive every day

© 2015Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved

Dinner choices made by members of English Eight at an Italian restaurant (paid out of pocket):

  • Risotto
  • Pizza
  • Lamb
  • Fettucine Bolognese
  • Linguine with Clams
  • Octopus Ink sauce (for pasta)
  • Octopus Ink dinner rolls
  • W.i.n.e.

© 2015Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved

                                   © 2015Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved

Additional information about Hong Kong:

Taken by Jacek Zarzycki

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Next on January 26th – Packing Up and Homeward Bound

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014

~ * ~

I am currently on an unplanned sabbatical but hope to visit here before the end of the month. Many, many thanks for your supportive reading, re-blogging, and tweeting. Your continued follows are immensely appreciated.  XX


Hong Kong, Come Along: Part 2

Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

On our return from the light show the night before, we had no trouble getting on the crowded subway. One lady offered her eight or ten-year-old daughter’s  seat to RJ. His wife had found a seat, but he and I stood, hugging poles.

A pictorial on the wall illustrated passengers should give up a seat to the elderly, the disabled, and to pregnant women. RJ’s hair color was a dead giveaway. Mine is colored. Maybe that’s why he was offered the seat first. (Nope, likely because he’s a man, or I looked younger. Sigh.) Since he refused, I was next on the woman’s agenda to do her good deed of the day. She persisted; I sat, feeling guilty.

At our last stop in the subway, we passed a Seven-Eleven (these are popular here) and thought we knew where we were in relation to the exit until we passed another one. A young couple approached and gave directions in wonderful English.

 *

Breakfast hadn’t been half as nice as our previous morning in Macau at the Sheraton. We later surmised there were more restaurants in the 118-story hotel. Today’s permitted restaurant was a lowly one with disappointing offerings.

Sue and I liked arriving early expecting the food will be fresh before others’ eyes and hands. We were the first of our group and misinterpreted the greeter’s actions when she knocked over a couple folded and steepled serviettes. A strange look crossed her face when we chose a table and sat, but she made no comment. Chinese people a row over kept staring at us. When more of our group arrived, they were directed to another section where only Caucasians were served. Oops. Was this a faux pas? Had we broken some rule by sitting in the Chinese Only area?

My breakfast:

  • Dry croissant and bun with orange marmalade and strawberry jam
  • A plateful of watermelon, cantaloupe, and pineapple with whipped cream (yummy)
  • One sausage and a hard-boiled egg
  • 3 cups of coffee (quite good)

Long after breakfast, our bus driver stopped around 9:30 a.m. for our 10-minute bathroom break and a walk around at a couple tourist shops in Golden Bauhinia Square. Notice the huge golden flower Bauhinia.

The Goddess of the Sea Ceremony is like a grand opening of a cruise ship for the Chinese. More images here. Smoked pigs are offered on platters as a gift to Tin Hau who protects fishermen and ensures plentiful fish.

Courtesy of  China Daily Asia official channel

Quick Facts:

  • 272 outland islands
  • Still keeps border separating from China
  • Need visa to cross to China from Hong Kong
  • Population over seven million
  • 1980 nothing here but farmers
  • Kept English names of streets and places
  • Army no longer in Hong Kong / now comes from China
  • Keep own laws. Police govern Hong Kong.
  • Don’t need cars to live here
  • Lots of taxies (red with gray roofs), buses, subways
  • Cheap transportation
  • Not much parking provided at workplaces
  • Lots of toll booths

We continued on to Longevity Beach at Repulse Bay. What were we supposed to do here? We couldn’t swim. Another Seven-Eleven beckoned across the road. No thanks.

Sue spied color and people in the distance, which looked like a festival. We decided to see what was happening and were startled by a handsome young local (25 – 30-ish), showering outdoors (yes in his bathing suit) slathering on soap as if he needed it. I hope he hadn’t noticed me blush. His English was quite good and he asked all the usual questions: where were we from, what were we doing there etc.

We continued on and happened upon Tin Hau Temple with hordes of people making offerings. (I know I had taken pictures there but found none on my iPad.) Soon we had to return to the bus.

~ * ~

Next on January 12thth Hong Kong View-a-thon

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014

~ * ~

I am currently on an unplanned sabbatical but plan to at least visit here before the end of the month. Thank you for your supportive reading, re-blogging, and tweeting. Your continued follows are immeasurably appreciated.  XX

January, Jan, Month, Year, New, Day, Holiday, Calendar


Hong Kong. Hang On: Part 1

Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

To reach Hong Kong Island, we traveled through Cross Harbor Tunnel which is more than 1.5 kilometers long and underwater. Yes, all that water overhead played with my mind too.

Quick Facts:

  • Easter weekend, a four-day public holiday (Good Friday to Easter Monday)
  • Good time for citizens to travel to other countries and to China.
  • Public workers, hotel workers must work.
  • Service industries; all stories are open
  • Office workers get holiday
  • Students have two-week school holiday
  • The tallest building here turned out to be our 118-story L’Hotel Nina Tower
  • Factories used to populate this area but have been moved to China

Zeelo, the new local guide, met us after we had been processed where we’d seen the duty-free wine but had no opportunity to buy. He also took care of our hotel registration. Meanwhile, Clovis, the French guide, took an extraordinarily long time explaining in French how to get around during our free time for the rest of the day. Some guides don’t talk close enough to the mic and others, like this one, talked too close. I found him difficult to understand.

Impatient, someone in our group raised a hand. “Why do you spend so much time explaining to the French? What about us?”

When he finished, Clovis apologized and began again in English about the subway system and how to get to the Victoria Harbor Light Show and what shopping was available. Sue burned to hear about opportunities within walking distance of the hotel and asked lots of questions about shopping. Our room keys ready, Sue and I and RJ and his wife, dragged our luggage to the elevator. They invited us to see the Light Show with them later. I accepted.

No sooner had we entered our room on the 30th floor and rolled the luggage inside, Sue made ready to go exploring. Was I coming? No. I needed my feet up and quiet for a while. Anyway, I waited for the phone call to join RJ and his wife to see the dancing lights.

With no (paid) lunch on our schedule, I had two Fibre bars, drank water and relaxed. I expected we’d go out for dinner somewhere at the harbor. I wandered down to the lobby for wifi to contact my daughter. A couple workstations were provided but they were in use. Lucky I brought my own laptop. I had trouble connecting to the internet but asked a desk clerk for help and success!

Four Main Parts of Hong Kong:

  • Hong Kong Island: means fragrant harbor or port (former British City)
  • Kowloon (means nine dragons)
  • New Territories
  • Outlying Islands

RJ, his wife, and I walked a short distance to catch the subway to see the Symphony of Lights in Kowloon. Signs were in English and Chinese. To buy a ticket for the subway, a machine I’d compare to an ATM, is available at intervals. You choose your destination on a touch screen map, are instructed the cost, feed in the money and out pops a ticket. You then swipe the ticket on entry and turn it in on exit. The wait wasn’t long, street signs were displayed everywhere. We arrived without incident. While in the subway, I noticed women didn’t have iPhones, only men, and the younger generation boys.

We passed bands and singers dressed to the T’s as we strolled down to the Avenue of Stars. Soon throngs of spectators hemmed us in, mostly Chinese.

As soon as someone moved and/or space opened up beside me, it was immediately filled. I don’t like crowds at the best of time and certainly not in a foreign country. A little elbow room keeps me happy. Dusk fell quickly. A disappointment, the show lasted only about fifteen minutes, but I wondered about the electrical bill for all those lights. The show goes on every night since 2004.

© 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.

Next up January 5th: Hong Kong, Come Along: Part 2

© 2017 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014

~ * ~

I am currently on an unplanned sabbatical. I hope to return but when is the question. Thank you for your supportive reading, reblogging, and tweeting. I DO appreciate your kind and continued follows far beyond my inadequate words.


Zhahai to Magnetic Macau

Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

I’m not sure when the bus switched to the left side of the road. I blinked as vehicles passed alongside on the wrong side. This was a huge surprise and a shock. First unexpected palm trees and then

First agenda item: a bus tour of the Macau. We gawked like children, at least I did and cannot say exactly how everyone else reacted. Cameras clicked in such rapid succession, it sounded as if a bomb might go off. We’d arrived at The Monte Carlo of Asia, the Las Vegas of the East.

Lunch Buffet:

Salad fixings

  • Red cabbage
  • Romaine
  • Baby corn
  • Tomatoes
  • Cukes
  • Chickpeas
  • Italian dressing

Main

  • Baked Ox Tongue with creamy cream cheese
  • Roasted Chicken with chili and white wine
  • Red kidney beans stewed with pork
  • Fish Fillet with beer batter
  • Sautéed mixed vegetables
  • Spaghetti with tomato sauce
  • Rotini with red pepper sauce
  • Fried rice Chinese style
  • Steamed white rice
  • Japanese Pork Curry
  • Pizza
  • Buns
  • Congee
  • Chocolate cake
  • Pound cake
  • Red Bean Pudding
  • Stewed pear in red wine
  • Finger sandwiches
  • Cold cuts (2 kinds)
  • Potato salad
  • Pork
  • Sardines, Portuguese style
  • Coffee, tea, water. Can’t recall if there was beer. (Maybe to order?)

(I couldn’t read several scribbled items due to my rushed handwriting)

The driver dropped us off in front of the Fireworks Factory. A new local guide, Cheryl, met us. Our luggage was taken off and sent ahead to our hotel as we scurried behind the guide in the opposite direction.

© 2015Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.

© 2015Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.

Up a hill, we followed the flag-carrying guide lost on the outside parameters of the French group. Next stop: Old Macau (a little history).

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Macau Quick Facts

  • 75% income comes from the casinos
  • Gambling allowed only in Macau, nowhere else in China
  • 29 million visitors to casinos in 2013
  • Run by Chief Executive (must be Chinese, local person, and local citizenship)
  • Runs for five-year term, only re-elected once
  • Only power of Parliament is bigger than Chief Executive
  • Can vote from 18-years of age
  • Port-based laws: have own police, laws, money, postage stamps
  • Is visa-free
  • Has three bridges
  • Status of Macau now 440 years
  • Macau Flower
  • Home of Macau Grand Prix. Circuit is like Monte Carlo (3.7 miles)
  • Macau Old Garrison
  • Watch your belongings. This is a tourist city.
  • Narrow streets
  • Comprised of two islands 29.5 square km

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  • Before 1993, only 17.3 square km. Close to doubled now.
  • Language: Chinese (Cantonese).
  • Portuguese almost never spoken anymore
  • Schools teach Chinese, not Portuguese
  • Portuguese (about 2% of population) are Catholic, need children to be baptized
  • Chinese prefer to send children to Chinese schools and keep their own religion
  • Three major religions: Buddhist, Taoist, and Catholic

Video by: MichaelRogge

* * *

Next time on December 15th – Holy Cow! So this is Macau.

© 2017 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014

~ * ~

I am currently on an unplanned sabbatical. I hope to return but when is the question. Thank you for your supportive reading, reblogging, and tweeting. I DO appreciate your kind and continued follows far beyond my inadequate words.


Trekking from Guangzhou to Zhongshan

Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

We continued on into an industrial area of Zhongshan where I noticed palms along the waterways as I had along the highway (unexpected). Something beeped again on a seat at the front of the bus, but neither the driver nor our guide appeared to care. I almost laughed aloud while I observed one of the men lean into the aisle to watch the road. I realized we were all nervous about Mr. Li’s driving.

At a lull in the loud conversation in Cantonese, Carolyn called out to Russ from the back of the bus. Did he know what the large framed squares and rectangles of water were? Since he sat closer to the front, he raised his voice and addressed Helen, who gave a cryptic answer: fish farms. It’s difficult to tell the approximate sizes as we were not close, and looked downwards from a moving bus. My wild guesstimate is 30 by 30 or 40 feet. A tall apparatus poked out of the center of the sectioned areas and I wondered if might be some sort of filtration system.

Zhongshan Quick Facts

  • Palm trees along highway and waterway seemed strange
  • Squares/rectangles of waterways framed by grassy strips are fish farms (fish ponds)
  • Fish farm water looked clean like a lake or river, but muddy / no rocky bottom
  • These are privately run, but government owned
  • Shacks here and there not for humans habitation, but for tools and supplies for fish farms
  • Usually two, sometimes three rice crops a year
  • More about fish farming here

The French bus passed us traveling in the opposite direction. The driver swung in a wide left turn off the highway into a construction site strewn with pipes and sporting newly planted trees. There wasn’t much room to turn around. At last, quiet reigned and we caught up to the French bus again. Two or three kilometers later, we reached Zhongshan and managed to find our hotel as we trailed the French bus.

After lunch, Sue, Lorena and her husband, Ernesto, went shopping for a half-hour until 2:00 p.m. at outside vendors. The rest of us stood around and chatted. Helen checked on us and announced she was going to the washroom. I followed because I had no idea where to find the Happy House. She walked into the men’s washroom—not an unusual mistake—rolled her eyes and changed direction with a loud laugh. Afterwards, since there was no paper and the hand dryer didn’t work, she offered me toilet paper from her purse. I said I carried my own, but she insisted. I told her I was prepared to dance and shake my hands to dry them if necessary. This is the second time we exchanged words.

The driver and tour guide continued to carry on a loud, spirited discussion. They weren’t quiet for a second. Helen kept playing with her hair, smoothing it and running her fingers through. Neither let up on whatever they were yakking about. He laughed. Nervous? She continued to push him with her voice. His knees bounced up and down. I wished he gave his full attention to driving. At one point he lowered his voice, knee still bouncing, and stared at Helen in the rear-view mirror. She kept nattering for the one and a half-hour bus ride to the hotel. Our English Group Eight kept moving deeper and deeper into the back of the bus since it was empty except for we Canadians. Sue inserted ear-plugs. Someone clapped their hands but it had no effect on the driver and guide.

Helen moved from sitting behind the driver to the seat opposite him. Why?  At least they gave sideways glances at each other instead of talking into the rear-view mirror. I wished Mr. Li kept his eyes on the road instead.

Lily, our previous guide, had mentioned Chinese people were not quiet. I thought I noticed a slight blush when she shared this information.

Helen and Mr. Li finally began a more animated conversation compared to what had sounded like murderous arguing. They smiled and sounded happier and were more relaxed, more companionable rather than quarrelsome. Mr. Li smiled, voice lowered, his face animated.

Sue snoozed and I scribbled in my notebook. She had been disappointed only 30 minutes of shopping had been allowed. She managed to buy another T-shirt and worried shopping around our next hotel may be department stores and not street vendors with whom one might negotiate a better price.

Finally, we arrived at our hotel in Zhongshan around 3:45 p.m.

IMG_0682

Other areas in the lobby:

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Next on November 24thth – A Whirlwind Visit in Zhongshan

© 2017 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014

~ * ~

I am currently on an unplanned sabbatical. I hope to return but when is the question. Thank you for your faithful reading. I DO appreciate your kind and continued support far beyond my capability to express. Please bear with me.

 


Checking out Guangzhou

Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

We’d had enough of Goat Park and were antsy to leave. Helen, our guide, asked I take a picture of her on my iPad. I had no idea why. At the corner of the park where we were supposed to meet, a man fresh-squeezed and sold bottled orange juice. Next to him, a girl toasted acorns in a wok for about two minutes. Helen said they were acorns but I wonder if they weren’t chestnuts. This spot she chose for her photograph.

Then she asked me to email her the photo. I wasn’t set up for e-mail I explained. “Never mind,” she said face pinched and chin dropping. Why hadn’t she given me her cell to take the picture, and why take one at all?

Guangzhou Quick Facts

  • Known for silk, jade, porcelain, ceramics
  • Arts and crafts museum (in Chen_Clan_Ancestral_Hall)
  • Tea
  • Papercuts
  • Old furniture
  • Mostly Buddhist, with some Taoism and Catholic beliefs
  • Opened city to the world with Canton Tree Fair (also the-canton-fair)
  • Chen Family Dynasty gave donation to Chen-Clan-Academy
  • Chen Family gave money (the 1920s) for Chen Family Temple
  • Rice: 2 crops / year
  • Wheat: 1 winter crop (winter wheat)
  • Sun Yat-sen first president of China after 1911 Revolution
  • Died 1925 of liver cancer
  • Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall completed temple built in his name in 1931

Next on our agenda was the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall. 

Helen and the bus driver talked and talked and talked. Somehow it sounded like a family argument. Mr. Li, some 20+ years younger than Helen, chewed his lip more than once and kept his peace. He appeared ticked off over whatever Helen sounded angry about.

Carolyn and Jim moved from the front seat to the back of our full-sized bus because Helen and the driver were so loud. Lorena asked me if I thought it okay to tell them to keep it down. I had no idea, but I said I’d be hesitant as this was their country and we were the foreigners.

At the temple, we toured mostly the outside. This is a tourist trap. The same magnets, jade, embroidery, paintings, doohickeys, and doo-dads were plentiful and on display. One of our ladies bought something expensive and it appeared the tour guide was given a gift. Maybe yes or maybe no.

IMG_0675

 

A young woman, twenty-five or more (maybe less) insinuated herself into our group. She kept bumping into a number of us and me several times. The others in our group succeeded in ignoring her, but she made me uncomfortable because I don’t like anyone so close in my space. After she followed us into a couple of stores, I whispered in Lorena’s ear if she thought the girl a pick-pocket and like magic, the girl vanished.

Lunch

(13-course Cantonese Dim Sum)

  • Beef with tomatoes (not enough beef to go around the table)
  • Sweet and sour chicken
  • Celery / carrots / peanuts and pork
  • Fried rice with fried egg and green onions
  • Spring rolls (tasty but greasy)
  • Fried pork dumplings (looked raw / without taste)
  • Corn coup
  • Egg and chili pancake thing
  • Mushrooms in sauce and a green vegetable I couldn’t identify
  • Sprouts with green peppers, onions, and slivered carrots
  • Potatoes in kind of dough and dipped in sesame
  • Pineapple half-slices (white in color…hmm)
  • Fried cakes with caramel (cardboard texture)

The room we ate in had room for only four round tables. Ours had eight chairs and I assume each of the other tables did as well. We shared the room with the French group and always knew when they had arrived. Their guide always called out, Un. Deux. Trois. He pointed to the tables as if his people were children. Soon, the noise became deafening in the box of a room and I couldn’t wait for lunch to end.

On the bus again, the discussion at the front went on and on. Helen reached across the aisle for her purse at something beeping inside, took a quick glance at us, her passengers, and continued her loud and angry-sounding conversation with the driver.

~ * ~

Next time on November 17th: Guangzhou and on to Zhongshan

© 2017 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014

~ * ~

I am currently on an unplanned sabbatical. I hope to return but when is the question. Thank you for your faithful reading. I DO appreciate your kind and continued support far beyond my capability to express. Please bear with me.

 


Flight to Guangzhou

Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

Luggage had to be outside our rooms at 10:00 p.m. the night before. The wake-up call jangled at 5:15 a.m. and we rushed to breakfast soon after 5: 30.

Breakfast

  • Fried eggs (had to wait for hot steamer refill: were rubbery)
  • Coffee, watermelon, cantaloupe, bananas
  • Buns, strawberry jam
  • Sausage (no knives for sausage or jam)

Breakfast is normally at 6:30 a.m. Who can eat even earlier in the morning? Still, I managed to stuff myself. The offerings weren’t bad (though of limited variety) considering the English eight and the French group (about 30 people) were the only early risers. We were to leave for the airport by 6:20 for an 8:00 a.m. flight. I guess the next breakfast crowd will have our leftovers.

I noticed how the landscape on our (English Eight only) bus trip to the airport changed: less mountainous or maybe just smaller mountains. The French Group was nowhere to be seen.

Lily, our guide, has an apartment in Guilin where she lives with her husband and nine-year-old daughter. They must be doing well enough because she mentioned she bought an apartment in town for her parents. Her husband works at the airport, she didn’t specify his job but confirmed he is not a pilot when someone asked.

Quick Facts

  • Nissan: most popular Japanese car in Guilin (light and good on gas)
  • Costs less than $20,000 USD
  • Insurance per year: $800.00 (imagine that, considering the number of daily accidents

The flight was uneventful this time. Upon our arrival at Guangzhou, a new tour guide awaited by the name of Helen. We guessed her age as fifty-something.  She later introduced our bus driver as Mr. Li, who he appeared to be in his mid-thirties or so. Mr. Li? After landing, the ladies needed the Happy House, but the first two washrooms were full. We continued towards baggage claim and found one which wasn’t busy.

Guangzhou Quick Facts

  • Population: 20 million
  • Area: 11,000 square kilometers
  • Third biggest city in China next to Shanghai and Beijing
  • They have no winter
  • Only three seasons
  • Spring all year round
  • Also known as flower city/spring city
© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles  (Stairway to Five Goats Sculpture)

  • Agricultural city and market: fresh fruits, vegetables, chickens etc.
  • Restaurants crowded with local people, who prefer eating out to cooking
  • Many restaurants
  • Tea enjoyed three times a day
  • Eat two meals a day
  • 100-year old lunch restaurant is the best restaurant
  • Lots of steps because the building here are old
  • Busy shopping area
  • Has the best wood for coffins
  • Long ago locals had a poor life / lived and slept on the river in boats
  • the main occupation is shipping
  • Pearl River is the fifth-longest

Another full-sized bus for us. Of course, I agree, we must be special. Off we drove to Goat Park

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

The story goes: five goats from heaven brought five types of grain, presented it to the locals, and taught them how to grow them. Grateful, the people built the Five Goats Temple. Read more about it here.

~ * ~

Next on November 10th: Guangzhou

© 2017 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014

~ * ~

I am currently on an unplanned sabbatical. I hope to return but when is the question. Thank you for your faithful reading. I DO appreciate your kind and continued support far beyond my capability to express. Please bear with me.


Guilin: Elephant Trunk Park

Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

I can’t recall when our bus changed from a 12-passenger to a full sized for our tiny group of eight. (Yangshuo or Guilin?) Honest. A full-sized bus! Made us feel special I suppose. After lunch, we headed to Elephant Trunk Park. It was a good day for a slow walk around but soon became boring as we stayed longer than we needed. This time, Chinese girls took a particular liking to Ernesto and begged to be photographed with him. By now we knew they like to have pictures taken with the foreigners.

Quick Facts:                           

  • Guilin is not a big city: population only about 1 Million
  • Guilin has 2 rivers and 4 lakes
  • International football academy is here
  • Known for strawberries and Calamondin (I think). They look like tiny oranges)
  • Lots of foreigners have come to Guilin since 1980
  • Plenty of open spaces / large parks (pay fee) and small ones (free)
  • Many nurseries along the highway/lots of peach trees
  • 90% who come, like it
  • The River Li divides the city into east and west
  • Taxi costs 10 Yuan anywhere (about $1.66 USD)
  • Garbage is collected every single day
  • Biggest pollution from cars and factories, not from garbage
  • Recycling done carefully
  • Some garbage incinerated
  • Government provides rat poison if required
  • Rats not a problem in the city
  • In the countryside, rats are still eaten
  • Welfare for people who cannot work, but a tiny amount
  • Chinese Welfare Lottery is illegal but people buy tickets
  • Selling lottery tickets only allowed if portion goes to social/charity endeavors
  • Ticket sellers probably give just enough to stay under the radar
  • Income taxes: 5% for regular people / 10% for the rich
  • No land taxes because you don’t own the land, but must pay to renew 70-year lease
  • Farmers trust their wells because it’s free
  • Wells do not get tested at all
  • Water supplied by government/cost per amount used like in Canada

After the park, we finally unloaded our luggage and checked out the new hotel. My apologies for the fuzzy pictures. The girl is from a particular ethnic minority, but I’m not sure which one. Our guide was no help.

More Quick Facts

  • Banyan Trees
  • Streets edged by Camphor trees (smell nice and keep bugs away)
  • Cannot make money in this city
  • Government pays to keep out pollution and manufacturing
© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles (hotel courtyard)

Dinner:

  • Ying and Yang soup (egg white and green tea for design)
  • Dumplings
  • Panko dipped spring rolls
  • Soy and chili sauces for dipping
  • Carp with celery, water chestnuts, and cucumber
  • Celery, water chestnuts, and pearl onions
  • 3 large (pork balls surrounded by sliced cucumber (center uncooked)
  • battered and spiraled eggplant
  • Batter-dipped chestnuts, deep-fried
  • White rice
  • Orange wedges in skins
© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles (The soup)

Our dinner restaurant had many rooms for patrons. The waitress wore something like Bluetooth technology and carried on a conversation with someone as she delivered food. The farther south we went, the angrier the conversations sounded.

Someone cut a piece from one (of three) of the huge pork balls for a taste. The next person cut through the center, revealing raw pork. We all looked at each other. What to do? Finally, the waitress came back serving a nearby table. We waved her over and explained about the raw meat. She continued her funning conversation in the sphere and stopped long enough to inform us it was not raw. She picked up a fork and mashed the pork ball till it flattened. “Is okay.  Is okay. Is okay.” Her voice escalated until it sounded like yelling (maybe scolding). Smacking down the fork, she left in a huff. Needless to say, no-one touched the pork.

No doubt about it, the pace has slowed from the initial fast pace 19 days before.

~ * ~

Next on November 3rd. Flight to Guangzhou

© 2017 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014

~ * ~ 

I am currently on an unplanned sabbatical. I hope to return but when is the question. Thank you for reading. I DO appreciate your kind and continued support more than I can express. Please bear with me.


					
		
	


Guilin: Out and About

Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

Next stop: South Sea Pearl Museum

Upon arrival, we were whisked through a five-minute presentation on the color of pearls. Glassy-eyed, the husbands trailed behind. A runway fashion show followed with five formally dressed beauties displaying pearl earrings, rings, bracelets, and necklaces. Afterwards, we were whisked with a flourish, through double-doors into the salesroom. The room was divided into three sections: good, medium, and best. One of the ladies in our group bought river pearls for 1,500 Yuan (about $250.00 USD. “A bargain,” she said. I don’t wear pearls when I write. No bargain for me.

Quick Facts:

  • Freshwater pearls are an irregular shape (not round)
  • Seawater pearls always round, only white, black and gold
  • Lots of iron in the water = black color
  • Lots of copper in the water = purple, pink
  • Chinese females don’t wear gold pearls as they don’t look good against their skin color
  • North Americans wear pink, white, and black

The store glittered with enough brilliance to blind a stone statue. Hordes of sales staff—all young females—materialized out of nowhere. A sales assistant seemed to be available for every person through the door. The French group had arrived ahead of us and were already engaged in energetic persuasion. I wasn’t interested in pearls and wandered about, but returned to the front of the room where the husbands waited. A bar stool, facing the sales floor, presented an empty seat. I climbed on, a latte and wine bar at my elbow. Free? Not a chance. A convenient price list (in English) hung in full view. I’m grateful I wasn’t thirsty and didn’t bother checking out the prices.

Health Care:

  • A combination of Chinese and Western medicine
  • Western Medicine is faster
  • Chinese medicine has no side effects (so it’s thought)
  • You never want to drink the ‘healthy’ soup (I heard it’s worse than what ails you)

Lunch:

  • Corn soup (the most delicious from all others since arrival in China)
  • Chili and soy sauces
  • Rice with corn, pieces of carrot and egg
  • Celery and chestnuts, stir-fried
  • Sweet and sour chicken with chunks of tomato wedges
  • Hot beef with green peppers and onions in a skillet (awesome)
  • Spring rolls
  • Bamboo chicken ( deep fried, on stick, spicy and delish)
  • Eggplant with tomato wedges and green peppers
  • Soft cooked (egg?) noodles with slivered red peppers and green (?) leaf and stalk vegetable
  • Watermelon slices
  • Tea
© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

Today the plates are the largest we’ve had for any meal; bigger than a saucer and larger than a bread-and-butter-plate. Lots of oil used as in most all dishes and restaurants in China, but most delicious lunch I’ve had since arriving in China. Again, I’m stuffed, having scooped only one spoonful of each of the offerings.

After lunch, and for the first time, a liquor was offered at 14 Yuan a shot glass (approximately $2.30 USD), but there were no takers. As well, a bit later, ice-cream and cappuccino were offered. Carolyn thought it was free so she ordered one of each. It turns out it wasn’t free. She turned it down and no-one else was interested either.

Laughs

When your wife catches you with another woman, you are completely finished.

If your wife likes to shop a lot, you are finished completely.

~ * ~

Next on October 27th:  Guilin: Elephant Trunk Park

© 2017 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014

~ * ~ 

I am currently on an unplanned sabbatical. Please bear with me. I hope to return but when is the question. Thank you for reading. I DO appreciate your kind and continued support more than I can express.