How the Cookie Crumbles

Life in the fast and slow lanes after SIXTY-FIVE


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.

 

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52 Comments

Is This Gossip?

The following story is true. A six-year-old, Laurie, (not her real name) and an almost ten-year-old, Jenna, (also a fake name) are sisters. The older one lords it over the younger, but Laurie is, well—Laurie.

~ * ~

“It’s true, Jenna. Seriously.” Laurie tucks soft butter-blonde hair behind an ear and twirls hands in the air as she relates her story.

The girls are in the front hall at home. Grandma has just brought them home after school. Big sister sets her jaw and shakes her head. “Are you making this up?”

“No. I am not. Michael told me he’s not coming to our school soon. He’s moving far away.” She bounces back and forth in her stocking feet.

“So where are they moving to?”

Laurie stretches taller and grins as wide as she can. “He’s moving to Toronto.”

“How do you know all this?” Jenna plays with a strand of whiskey-blonde hair, tastes it and studies the wet ends.

“Aren’t you listening, Michael told me. His father gots a new job.”

morgueFile free photos

morgueFile free photos

“When are they moving?”

Laurie waves the air. “I don’t know.”

Jenna sighs. “So, is Michael still your boyfriend?”

“Well…I still love him; he said he doesn’t love mebut he likes my voice.” Blue eyes glow and seek direct contact with her sister’s.

“He told you that?”

“Seriously!” Laurie ups her tone. “I’m not lying.” Both wrists twist at her sides, back and forth in half circles, fingers squirming about. Schoolbags lay dropped on the ceramic floor.

“Uh-huh.”

Laurie frowns and tilts her head. “His bother Lucas is in your class, right? Do you love him or something?”

“N-O. Of course not…remember my friend Giada in my class? Her family is going to the Bahamas for ten days. She has to bring homework to do in the hotel room while the rest of them go swimming. That sucks.”

“That’s so not fair. Seriously. ” Fingers churn the air again. “Is she gonna do it?”

Jenna lifts a shoulder and lets it drop. “Come on. We better unpack our lunch bags before Daddy gets home.”

~ * ~

Meanwhile, Grandma eavesdrops around the corner in the kitchen. Her face is blood red and distorted from lack of oxygen. Pffh. She lets out a lungful of air and grabs the counter. A hand is clamped over her mouth to stifle her laughter.