How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


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Tying up Loose Ends – Homeward Bound

During summer in St. John’s, you can catch a tour bus for $5.00, which stops at all the sites for an hour each. Schedules are available at hotels. What a steal. The opportunity was lost on us as the season had closed.

Tired after our stroll on Duckworth Street, we trudged uphill all the way to the hotel. The drizzle followed us, fading in and out. One moment we snapped our umbrellas shut and open the next. Once we arrived in our room, nothing mattered more than putting my feet up and grabbing my book. I apologized to the novel for awarding it second place. Mary had other ideas. She’d heard about the sauna and prepared to unwind there instead.

The afternoon drew to a close. We had  time to kill before our last dinner with the tour group and decided to check out the atrium. A tall ladder took prominence in one area for some kind of maintenance in progress. The rest unfolded for our pleasure to amble through and explore. It was a large area.

All good things must end. Thoughts of going home struck us with a mixture of regret and relief. For dinner, we had pre-ordered Newfoundland Screech Glazed Salmon and heart of Romaine Caesar. The women dolled up, but the men dressed in casual attire. Our numbers had dwindled over the last few days from thirty-two to about twenty-four. Two servers and a Maître d’ attended us in a private room. Francis wore a suit and brought his wife. I was impressed the tour owner’s warm, down-home speech. Francis became sentimental. Can’t help but love the guy.

Sneaked a photo in art store at the Sheraton

Sneaked a photo in art store at the Sheraton

The next morning after a posh breakfast (this is the Sheraton after all), Mary wanted one last run downtown before Francis dropped us at the airport at eleven. No rain in sight. The sun smiled and the sky glowed pastel blue, a smear of clouds here and there. Yes. Believe it or not. I took this through the hotel window. Trees obscured the view of the ship in the harbor but not the clear horizon.

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Nervous as a cat, I prowled the room waiting for Mary. We had 20 minutes until transfer to the airport with Francis and a few others of our group. Seven minutes to spare, Mary arrived. We collected our bags and as soon as we hit the lobby, found everyone already on the bus, their bags already loaded.

Mary had checked us in for the flight the night before. The machine took our information but refused to spit out our luggage tags and boarding passes. No one around to help, I ran to grab an attendant some distance away though St. John’s airport isn’t huge. A desk person helped but we noticed too late she’d only printed boarding passes to Halifax and not transfers from Halifax to home. We soon sorted this out upon landing. The airport huge and obviously international, we walked for miles and miles as. Mary searched for a fish store but they had no fresh lobster. Stomachs rumbling, we checked out places to eat and shared a late lunch of salad and maybe mussels—I can’t recall— but still paid almost $50. For lunch.

* * *

Next up on November 4th – A Surprise

© 2016 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.

For more related posts, click on Newfoundland / Labrador tab at the top of the page

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Gander

Drizzle again on the agenda, we bused for about an hour-and-a-half to the sounds of an easy-listening CD. In Gander, I spotted a child on the sidewalk with a white and brown Shetland pony. A rope around the pony’s neck, the child turned round and round, allowing the pony to run in a circle. Both were cute. I’ve never before seen a pony this tiny.

At Gander Airport, Francis regaled us with stories while we crowded around. On our way to the upper level, we stopped at a framed collage of stars who have passed through over the years.

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The view from the upper level provided a full, though distant view of this famous mural.

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In 1985, soldiers returning home for Christmas from Afghanistan crashed in Gander. The deadliest crash since WWII, 253 lives were lost.

On September 11, 2001, 39 planes landed in Gander (Operation Yellow Ribbon). Passengers were not allowed off the planes for 13 hours, information about the New York tragedy withheld until they deplaned. An American journalist, Jim DeFede, contacted and interviewed about 180 people from those flights and published a book.  (The Day the World Came to Town).

  • The population of Gander 10,000
  • 6,600 (passengers, pilots and crews)
  • Lewisporte took 800 passengers
  • Mayor of Gander talked with all the passengers
  • Walmart, Canadian Tire, drug stores—every store—supplied whatever was needed at no cost
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJskIhGbDq4
  • All toiletries / everything gone from all shelves
  • 87-year-old woman needed underwear, clerk suggested thongs
  • Hundreds of thousands of meals prepared
  • Passengers organized together with their own group
  • Returning from Lewisporte to Gander and home, one Nigerian missing. Gone fishing with ‘the boys.’ Comes back every year
  • Shirley Brooks-Jones collected money from the passengers on her flight home
  • Set up a scholarship fund for the school where passengers had been housed and fed
  • Fund is 1.3 million dollars
  • Took out $850,000 life insurance policy in the event of her death to fund it

Gander Quick Facts

  • The Gander Airport mural (72 feet long) embodies the history of air travel.
  • No aircraft illustration were allowed to be used in the work
  • Opened in 1959 by Queen Elizabeth
  • Talk of a new airport, but this one is still busy
  • When planes fogged in in St. John’s, they land in Gander
  • You can at least drive 4-1/2 drive to St. John’s if need be
  • Was no direct flight to Europe from Gander. Now there is.
  • Had to go to Toronto first instead
  • Population over 11,000
  • Cubans defected to Canada, using Gander as jumping off point to Florida, to join their families

Close off the parking lot to airport, we spied an Irving gas station. Needing to replenish our spirits, Mary ran ahead so we wouldn’t hold up the bus but returned immediately because they didn’t carry anything stronger than coffee.

On the way to the hotel we passed a golf course, which is split, half on one side and half on the other. Players use golf carts underneath the highway to cross over. Terra Nova Park was on our agenda, but it was not mentioned and we did not stop.

Our room had a balcony we would not have the opportunity to use. The dining room in the restaurant had extra low lighting. When we paid for our meals, the cashier had no change for the couple before us and then not for us either. Each time she wandered off and was gone an unusual length of time.

By ten, I was a goner. I plugged in electronics to recharge overnight and slept like the dead until the alarm went off.

* * *

On The Light Side:

An 85-year-old man, in a red Ferrari, was stopped by a policeman who had ten minutes left in his shift. “Give me a good reason why you were speeding.”

“About 20 years ago, my wife ran off with a cop. I thought you were him.”

The cop let him go.

Next on June 3rd – Trinity and Port Union

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

For more related posts, click on Newfoundland / Labrador tab at the top of the page


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Homeward Bound

Breakfast was a disappointment again:  no fresh buns, dry, 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 took the elevator with two Chinese businessmen. It stopped partway 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. It appeared too full, but the occupants  insisted we get on. The elevator stopped at almost every floor and with much shifting more people squeezed on. I laughed 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 decided to wait 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 had the same idea and were robbed of their bottles as well. A female passenger, who’d boarded our plane, 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

The overall flight seemed better than the one into China. My eyes didn’t itch nor burn from lack of sleep. By 1:00 a.m. breakfast was served, but I wasn’t hungry. I had half the omelette, had 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 and finally, a second offer was made.

I watched a lot of movies, and read a complete book I’d borrowed from one of our group. We finally arrived in Chicago and didn’t have to wait five hours to get on a flight home.

I tried wifi without success. We waited. The plane before us had been delayed; the passengers moved to another gate after much dithering. The clock ticked past our boarding time. No information was 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 arranged 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 then, nothing. We waited. The passengers shifted in their seats and looked at each other across the aisle.

1st announcement:

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

2nd announcement:

“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

* * *

The plane arrived in one piece but we had to walk across the tarmac to the airport. I felt like a rag doll nobody cared about. Toronto airport is huge; it isn’t easy nor forgiving. There are no walkalators nor airport treadmills. We trudged for miles.

I noticed something interesting at the baggage carrousel. 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 away.

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!

Soon we sped towards home- sweet-home, my great adventure over.

~ * ~

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

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


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#BlogBattle Week 11

Rachael Ritchey is the originator of this challenge

The prompt this week: …news…

To join in click:  http://rachaelritchey.com/blogbattle/

News

Susan hadn’t been away since her honeymoon twelve years before. Her excitement about the cruise roiled inside her like a pressure cooker ready to blow. There were so many details, concentrating wore her out.

“Harry, you printed the tickets, right?”

“Yes, I said I did.”

“And our passports?” She fumbled in their suitcase rechecking the contents yet again. “I made a list, but can’t find it. Have you seen it anywhere?”

“You worry too much. Come. I think you need a drink. “

“I’ll check on the twins first.  Scotch. Neat. See you in the living-room.”

Long-legged Harry reached her in one step and squeezed her elbow. Dark velvet eyes searched hers, luminous and gentle. Soot black curls hung over his forehead. “Two more days.”

She leaned into his lanky frame and breathed him in, then sighed. Dear Harry. What would I ever do without you?

He found her chin, lifted it with a finger, and caressed her mouth with a feathery kiss. Her face glowed pink. Before she found her voice, he patted her bottom and veered away. “Downstairs.”

Susan closed the twins’ bedroom door. A cell chimed downstairs. Who can that be? She massaged her neck and drifted down the steps, her husband’s side of the conversation muffled at first.

“Right. Yes. Of course. See you then.” He tossed the phone on the sofa.

“Who was that?” She stared wide-eyed at his now furled forehead, curls pushed back. “What’s wrong?”

“That was your dad. They missed their connection.”

“You’re doing that pulling-on-your-lip-thing. What else?” She rubbed her neck again.

Harry shifted his gaze to the tray of liquor bottles on the buffet. “Sit,” he said, “How about that drink?”

“What else?”

“They have an hour’s wait, but may turn back home. Your mother’s feeling unwell.”

“What’s the matter with her?” Hands crossed on her chest the words came out dry and hoarse as if she’d swallowed sand.

“Sounds like flu—they think. A nurse on their flight couldn’t confirm.” He handed her a drink and studied her face.

“But their connection is less than two hours away. They’re almost here.” Tucking wayward blonde hair behind an ear, she stared deep into her glass, as if unsure what to do with it. The errant wisps sprang back.

“Your dad will call when it’s sorted.” He threw an arm around her shoulder. “Take a drink. It’ll calm your nerves.”

Susan raised her glass. Half-way to her lips, the cell chimed. In a couple strides Harry seized the phone and set down his glass. His wife wiped her chin and patted her blouse where it had spilled. She pulled a shirt tail out of her jeans and dabbed at the wet spots.

“Good idea. If you’re sure, Peter… I’ll get a pen.”

She banged down her drink and raced to the kitchen for a pad and pen. Harry whipped them out of her grasp. Phone tucked against his shoulder, he nodded as he wrote. “Fine, I’ll see you before nine. Which terminal? Fine. Fine.”

“Tell me.”

“Where’s your drink? Tut-tut. First take a swallow.” She threw her head back. Harry grabbed the hand with the glass. “Not too fast.” Still she sputtered afterwards and he whacked her between the shoulder blades.

“Your Mom and Dad took a room at the airport hotel and will fly out in the morning. I’ll pick them up myself and cancel their limo for tonight.”

“So, Mom’s better?” Susan rubbed a temple and closed her eyes. “Now that we aren’t waiting up for them, maybe we should call it an early night.”

“My thoughts, exactly. Off you go, I’ll make that call and shut off the lights. Be up in a jiffy.

* * *

Susan crawled out of bed, mouth dry as cotton balls. Bleh. Cheerful birds chirped and tweeted outside the window. She padded to the bathroom to brush her teeth though she had done so the night before.

“Want pancakes for breakfast?” asked Harry, face buried in his pillow. No answer offered, he sat up and surveyed the room. The sheets and blankets were twisted and half on the floor. He checked his cell on the night table. No messages. Good.

Susan gargled and the water in the sink gurgled. She stuck her head around the open door. “You’re awake? Want pancakes? After I shower?”

“Go ahead. I’ll start in the kitchen. No texts. No news, which is good, right?”

* * *

Morning rush hour traffic brutal as usual, Harry arrived in plenty of time. The slip of paper wasn’t in his pocket. He pulled into the first parking lot and punched the number for home.

“Everything, okay? The school bus will be here in a minute.” Susan’s voice squeaked.

“Forgot the paper and can’t remember which terminal, one or three?”

“Where’s the paper? Boys don’t move. I mean it.”

“Living-room or night table.”

“Living-room— It’s two. See you soon.”

* * *

By ten o’clock, she’d paced and length of the living-room half a dozen times, peering out the window every few steps. Where is everyone? I’ll give them five more minutes.

Before Susan snatched the phone, it sprang to life. She blinked, startled. “Harry, where are you guys?”

“This is the drugstore. Your prescription is ready for pickup.”

“Oh! Thanks.”

The phone dropped on the coffee table, she continued to pace. A cruiser crept up the driveway. She was struck stock-still.

The End

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


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Day 20, Part 1 – Flight to Guangzhou

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 this early in the morning? I suppose the offerings weren’t bad (though limited variety) considering the English eight and the French group (about 30 people) were the only early risers. We had 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 the landscape changing on the way to the airport: less mountainous or maybe just smaller mountains.

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)

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 though he appeared to be in his mid-thirties or so. 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
  • 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 / prefer eating out to cooking
  • Many restaurants
  • Tea enjoyed three times a day
  • Eat two meals a day
  • 100-year old lunch restaurant is best restaurant
  • Lots of steps because the building here are old
  • Busy shopping area
  • Have best wood for coffins
  • Long ago locals had a poor life / lived and slept on the river in boats
  • Main occupation was shipping
  • Pearl River is the fifth longest: 2,129 km

Another full-sized bus for us. Of course, I agree, we’re 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 April 10th, Guangzhou, Day 1, Part 2

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

 

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


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Chongqing: Day 17, Part 2 – to Guilin Tea Plantation

I felt rushed through the zoo and we were. Next on the agenda was a local flight to Guilin. We had to get our luggage checked and be ready to board by 11:10 a.m. for an hour flight. There were no unexpected surprises at the airport this time: no wands shrieked, nor gongs rung; no high-pitched voices nor thumping feet. Everyone had packed properly and wore no heavy metal.

A boxed lunch was served on board again, but I don’t recall what had been on offer.

Upon landing, our new tour guide, thirty-something Lily, met us at the airport. She was an attractive young woman, who appeared reserved, but approachable.

  • Population Guilin: 1 million, includes 5 urban districts. Total equals 4.7 million
  • Lots of Limestone mountains
  • Yao Mountain only earth mountain, also the highest

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  • Small buildings only up to five storys high
  • Lakes and two rivers
  • Have 4 seasons
  • Living standard is okay
  • Tourism main source of revenue
  • Tax-free for business
  • Minority regions, tax tree
  • Good transportation
  • Major fashion manufacturers: Shanghai & Kenton
  • Southern port of China

We were surrounded by limestone mountains from the airport to Guilin. What a sight to see.

  • Specialty chili paste: local taste is hot
  • Herbal medicine
  • Fermented tofu
  • Persimmons, kumquats, oranges
  • Local wine (53% made from rice), named: Three Flower
  • Natural wine quarry
  • Local beer: Lee Cham
  • Hometown of local painting
  • Ocean pearls about 300 miles (km) from Guilin
  • 10 army bases present because close to Vietnam border
  • Rice has two crops a year. Ninety percent of rice farmers suffer rheumatism and arthritis

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Frolicking in a tea field. I couldn’t balance the hat on my head.

Tea Quick Facts:

  • Guilin area known for Chinese Tea
  • Tea Institute does research on tea properties (founded in 1965 near Yao Mountain)
  • Same tea bush, different tea from different parts of the bush
  • Tea picking is in the morning
  • Osmanthus tree, a relative of cinnamon (use only flowers not bark for tea)
  • Flower tea: Jasmine, Osmanthus
  • Green tea has caffeine, radiation-resistant for people use computers for long hours
  • White tea regulated and produced in limited quantities for export
  • Oolong tea, you must have clay pot (colour is red but like black tea) but different taste

Tea Disruption

  • Most popular tea? Depends on age and type of job (social standing)
  • Tea for modern people: “Puer” tea compressed into a hard block
  • Puer tea (expensive) you cut off a piece to make tea
  • Puer tea: good for stomach, detox high cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, rheumatism and good for losing weight

We were invited to a tea tasting after the tour. I wasn’t fond of much of the tea. One couple liked the Puer tea and bought a box.

~ * ~

Additional Information:

Tea farm outside Guilin:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_Bzr8s45i8

How do they make it? Puer Tea Production:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6mewXlWlmY

 ~ * ~

Next on February 13th, To Yangshuo: Day 17, Part 3 – Countryside

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

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


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Wuchan: Day 12, Part 2 – Cruise Ship

Harry, a soft-spoken Chinese fellow (30-ish) met us at the airport. We walked for miles and miles to reach our awaiting bus, which smelled bad: between burned electrical wiring and forgotten musty rags.

We asked him to use the microphone as he choked off facts about Wuhan during the drive, but still he didn’t project. In fact, speaking louder would not have helped his English. He sounded as if he had a hot potato in his mouth and was the least confident guide to date. The bus trip took forever before we reached our destination.

Quick Facts:

  • Population Wuchan: 12 million
  • It takes 2-1/2 hours to drive from East to West Wuchan
  • Three towns joined into one in 1927 and called Wuchan
  • This is an educational standard next to Beijing: 87 universities; Wuchan has 69 universities
  • Smallest college in Wuchan has 8,000 students and the largest has 50,000
  • A total of 1.5 million students in the city of Wuchan
  • So far, our bus drivers have made U-turns as a matter of course

The three main industries are:

  1. Steel and iron (10 square kilometers)
  2. Automobile factories: Citron (since 1993 venture with France), also with Honda and Toyota
  3. Main industry, state-owned factory: tobacco. Produces cigarettes. Pays the second most tax next to Citron manufacturing.

Cigarettes:

  • 1-pack = 10 cigarettes
  • $3.50 USD for cheapest ones and locals smoke these
  • Special cigarettes are exported: sold by carton of 10 packages: 3,000 Yuan or $500.00 USD
  • Factory located 80 kilometers outside Wuchan

Nightlife:

  • Most important social skills in China: smoking and drinking
  • Legal drinking age is 16, same as eligibility for a driver’s license
  • China white wine very strong: 35 to 43% (sounds closer to white lightening than wine)
  • In northern China, one famous brand 70 to 75% (rice wine, high alcohol content). Only the people in northern China drink this because it’s cold there.
  • Chinese saying, “If you run out of oil for the hot pot, just pour in some wine.”
  • Traffic is terrible after 9:00 p.m. as the bars open
  • The bars are loud and packed with young people (9:00 till midnight); the older generation can’t stand the noise

  • Life isn’t much different for the young people in the east from the west.

 

  • Square dancing is popular with Seniors, who enjoy it mornings and evenings in the parks
  • Young people don’t like the sound of the loud dance music on weekends because they like to sleep late.

This is square dancing? I wonder why they call it that?

Weather:

June is the beginning of summer. The average temperature is 30 degrees Celsius. There are three ‘ovens’ (also called furnaces) in this area:

  1. Wuchan
  2. Chongchin
  3. Nanking

Six-and-a-half to seven months of the year, everyone wears Tee shirts in Wuchan because of the heat and humidity. A historical record high of 48 degrees Celsius occurred in 2006. Usual  temperature is 44 or 45 degrees. When it gets this hot, school and work are cancelled, a policy made ten years ago. Everyone now has air conditioning to combat the heat.

Harry came only as far as the dock and then, vanished. Dark had fallen some time ago. The cruise ship glowed in the distance like a mirage, outlined with tiny white lights. Slam. Bang. Clatter. We dragged our luggage down long planks of wood and sheets of steel. The ship’s crew members shone flashlights and cautioned us to watch our step at intervals along the way. At long last we boarded, and were handed heated hand towels and tea or apple juice.

© 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

~ * ~

Something extra for you:

http://herschelian.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/bodysnatchers-in-china/

~ * ~

Next on December 5, On the Yangtze River, Day 13, Part 1

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

© 2014 All Right Reserved TAK


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Shanghai: Day 12, Part 1 – Flight to Wuhan

We had a leisurely breakfast with nothing on the schedule for the morning. Although a five-star, our hotel was situated too far from the Bund and the waterfront attractions for wandering around on our own.

Sue walked around the neighborhood and bought a pair of shoes. RJ and his wife went out and explored as well. Lots of real life to discover behind the scenes after all. I stayed behind, caught up on e-mail and repacked my suitcase, which had become heavier.

The poor live on one side of the street and the better off on the other:

As we traveled by bus to our lunch destination, I caught sight of a duo hanging off a skyscraper washing windows. You read that correctly: no scaffolding only a rope to secure them from falling as they swung in the wind. What kind of Health and Safety rules are there for workers I wondered?

Chinese saying:

Red lights are a suggestion; crosswalks are just a decoration.

Crosswalks and lights are ignored and no-one is ticketed for not stopping for pedestrians. Jaywalkers cross in the middle of traffic or at crosswalks, proceeding no matter what the suggestion or decoration. Two hundred people are killed a day in China due to traffic accidents.

Quick Facts:

  • Population in China: 1.3 billion
  • Beijing: 20 million (capital)
  • Shanghai: 23 million

We arrived too early for lunch at a moored ship—Sea Palace Floating Restaurant—and were the only patrons. The waitress might have put on a less stern face. She led us to a table where we waited longer than usual for our meal. Until this occurrence, once seated the food arrived within minutes. I looked around, we chatted and took advantage of the Happy House.

All tables had seating for ten. Down the length of the ship, I counted 10 tables in each row, times four rows across. As we finished eating, I noticed the restaurant had begun to fill up in earnest.

Lunch:

  • Baby bok choy
  • Breaded white fish
  • Chicken with green and red peppers
  • Onions and pineapple
  • Mystery soup
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Beef with red and green peppers and onions
  • Sweet and sour chicken with red and green peppers
  • Curried chicken and potatoes with red and green peppers White rice
  • Watermelon slices

When  food is left over, we wondered more than once what’s done with the remains. Were they thrown out like in North America? I’d always been under the impression that the Chinese wasted nothing.

After lunch we drove to Shanghai Pudong International Airport to catch China Southern, a domestic flight at 15:55. According to our trip schedule, this was supposed to have been a morning flight. Check-in was smooth this time. None in our group were pulled over for additional security check(s).

WiFi and a charging station stared at me at our boarding area. I tried to logon to the internet but couldn’t switch from Chinese to English, the only language greyed out in the list. I wanted to check if my daughter had answered the morning’s e-mail. This ticked me off a bit: handy but untouchable with 55 minutes to kill before boarding for a two-hour flight.

 ~ * ~

A Special Treat:

 RJ continues to share photos. His wife Bonnie sent me this link. Prepare to be mesmerized. Make sure you have your heart medicine handy. Grab a drink and put your feet up.

~ * ~

Next on November 28, Wuhan, Day 12, Part 2 – Cruise Ship

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© 2014 All Right Reserved TAK


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Suzhou: Day 9, Part 2 – Old Town Market

Our first stop in Suzhou, a quaint ‘little’ town with a population of 3.8 million, was at the Old Town Market. Bus parked, we followed close behind Jackie to a busy crossroad where he pointed across either side of the busy street. On one side we could visit the old town market. On the opposite side was a more modern, touristy shopping area. At last we were allowed to roam as we chose for a couple of hours. We were to meet at a designated area at 6:00 p.m.

I joined up with Bonnie and Russ and we headed to the market and a whole different world: open stalls, sidewalk displays; elbow room only and brisk exchanges of money and goods. No health concerns were in evidence. We saw small squirmy fish; large fish in shallow tubs of (cloudy) water; frogs; eel; cut-up pig parts with skin on and live chickens, As well, there were shoes, fabrics, and all types of outdated (to us) clothing. If you were hungry hot food was available as well as unrecognizable vegetables. These people were poor.

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

 

We walked through the market until a bridge came into view and crossed over to the other side of the canal. Talk about being thrown back to another time, a world of bicycles and mopeds, old shops, dank houses with peeling paint hanging over the river, some without stoop nor steps. I imagined someone opening the back door and falling into the water.

 

IMG_0458 IMG_0459

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

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Small river boats were kept busy as one after another appeared.

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

We wandered into the shop and found paintings and hangings of the same bridge we’d crossed as well as many recreations of past times at this location.  With a little time to spare, we wandered across the road to the newer, touristy section but it was of little appeal.

Pizza Pizza, McDonald’s, KFC are not plentiful but not unusual. I had to take a picture of this, though, my first sighting.

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

On our way to the bus and the hotel, I realized how much we’d covered this day, including the flight. My stomach rumbled and my feet wanted a rest.

Dinner: (30 minutes after we arrived at hotel)

  • Breaded and fried chicken
  • Scrambled eggs and white kind of fish
  • Breaded pork
  • French fries
  • Cauliflower with bacon and young beans
  • Green vegetable (mystery)
  • Rice with fried egg
  • Soup with tomato
  • Watermelon for dessert
  • Tea and the usual drinks
© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

Our hotel was gorgeous and the room attractive, but the shower leaked. The sink and toilet were Koehler brand and I noticed either the door or the door frame in the bathroom were not plumb.

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

Chinese saying:

Chinese will eat anything with legs except a table; anything that flies, except a plane and everything that swims, except a boat.

 ~ * ~

Next on October 10:  Day 10, Part 1, Suzhou to Shanghai

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© 2014 All Rights Reserved TAK


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Xian to Souzhou, Day 9, Part 1 – Jade Tour and a Flight

The day began at 5:00 a.m. and not on a good note. Sue hadn’t slept well and we had no hot water for showers. I didn’t bother, but Sue did. My hair needed washing so I stuck it underneath the tap. Brr. Cold.

We’d been instructed to leave our luggage outside the door before 7:45 a.m. As Sue pushed hers against the wall I rolled mine over the thresh-hold and—slam—locked us out. Down to the front desk and back up again we were relieved to return with the assistant manager and her life-saving master key. Our purses with passports and money were still there. Whew. We reported the cold water situation to save the next visitors the headache.

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles (Taken from 10th floor on our way to breakfast)

The pieces carved out of jade were fascinating: The workmanship was astonishing with delicate and intricate detail but too expensive for me. I don’t need jade jewelry either and certainly don’t have room for anymore dust collectors. I’m trying to down-size collectibles. Bonnie and Russ bought a tricky jade piece featuring five (or seven) balls, one inside the other, which were all moveable, but do not come apart.

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles (Jade carving)

Below are pictures of some of the fantastic jade pieces:

https://www.google.ca/search?q=jade+carvings+in+ancient+china&rlz=1C1EODB_enCA562CA564&espv=2&biw=1242&bih=585&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=VrYlVKG1MMyyyATbrYHQAw&ved=0CBwQsAQ

We headed to the airport after the Jade romp to catch our one hour and forty-five minute fight to Souzhou. At security two suitcases from our group set off alarms. Jim had one of the problem suitcases and Russ the other. Scanning revealed 15 or so ‘A’ batteries stored in his luggage were the culprits. The last flight he’d been told to store them there. This time, they were pulled out and he was advised to them into his carry-on. I’m not sure what problem Jim had. The screaming baby must have fallen asleep. We finally boarded at 12:30 p.m., taxied and lifted skyward.

Lunch was served on the plane. The Stewart threw (not dropped) the boxed meal onto my table. He moved so fast, some noodles spilled into my lap and he didn’t even noticed. Not a good day for him either. Other than the spilled noodles, I don’t remember eating.

Upon landing, I reached for my carry-on in the overhead. By accident, my hand landed not on top of the seat in front of mine, but on the head of the man who sat there. What a fuss he made. You’d think I’d assaulted him. The Chinese language, when the speaker talks loudly sounds enraged to me. I used my most soothing voice to apologize. He didn’t need to understand the words. Wouldn’t you know, I had him on my radar all the way into the airport. While Chinese people appear to invade your space in a crowd and fill any available space, they do not touch anyone around them.

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

Insert Image #464 (a boatload of people on the canal in Old Town) © 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

We were met by, Jackie, our new guide, a tall, attractive man of thirty-eight with an easy going style and a great command of English. The bus ride to Souzhou took a couple of hours. The city is known as The Garden City or Venice of the East because of its many canals.

Next on October 3, Day 9, Part 2 – Old Town Market (and more). Lots of pictures.

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© 2014 All Right Reserved TAK