Quilts and Other Stuff from Frances

Four day catch up…..

On Monday, Michael spent the morning at the Guangzhou Botanic Garden speaking to a group of scientists. While he was there, I stayed at the hotel and got organized for our return trip to Kunming. Xue-jun picked me up at Noon and we returned to the garden for a lunch with some of their colleagues. It was a typical banquet lunch with WAY too many dishes. Afterward there was the traditional picture…..


I love how this photo turned out with all of the looks on their faces and their poses!!!

One thing that I have learned from each of our banquet dinners is that there is always one person who is the designated “table turner”….. this person is constantly slowly turning the table so that everyone can fill their plates with the dishes going around. I don’t think that this designation is officially given to any one person, but there always seems to be someone who steps into the role.

The return trip to Kunming was uneventful…always a good thing for a plane flight and we easily caught a taxi back to the Grand Park Hotel, where we were given the exact same room that we had left!!!

On Tuesday, we went shopping!!! We started at the Antique market that we had visited last week and the first purchase was a wooden box that Michael had liked. It is was fairly large and we were impressed that the shopkeeper wrapped it in a foam layer and then used tape to create a handle so that we could carry it.

The next purchase was an Inkstone!! We had really loved the ones that we had seen in the museum and decided to shop for one ourselves. Many of them are fairly plain and the carved designs are subdued and not easily seen, but then we found this one…..


……and we KNEW that it had to come home with us. Since it weighs about 5 pounds, I am fairly sure that there is a suitcase purchase in our future!!!!

After Michael caught a taxi back to the hotel, I wandered down to Carrefour to do a bit of exploring (and price new suitcases). I passed a case of “ready to prepare” food……want to come to my house for Black Chicken Soup???


I also found one more sculpture that I had to take a photo of……


…although I had to wait for quite a while until everyone had moved out of the way.

I returned to the hotel and Michael told me that he had seen an interesting wood shop while in the taxi and that he “thought” he could get back to it. So, rather than work any more, we hit the streets again. Michael’s nose proved to be true and we found the wood shop without much trouble at all. We only missed one turn and ended up walking down the median of a VERY busy street, but everyone here is used to that so it wasn’t that big of a deal!!!

OK….since Michael’s box was too big for the suitcase, we needed to get it shipped….so, we called Colin and he got us together with “his guy”!! We both expected that he would pick up the box and then take it somewhere to pack but we were completely wrong. We met “the guy” at Salvador’s and he proceeded to find a box there that it would fit in, wrap it a bit better, shove it into the box and tape it up. He then pulled out the hand-held scale to weigh it, we filled out some papers and our box was winging it’s way to Watkinsville, Georgia!!!…..


…and the entire transaction took place at the front counter of Salvador’s!!!!

On one of our walking trips, we came across this mob scene…..


…..and wondered if there was riot about to start. No, this was just the “car-rider” line waiting for the elementary school to let out. Soon each scooter or motorcycle was populated by an adult and one or two children!!!

On Thursday we made yet another trip to the Kunming Institute of Zoology for Michael to meet with a colleague and then to have lunch with members of his lab group. There were 10 people at the table, and FOURTEEN dishes were ordered. There were three different types of corn…..sweet corn pancakes….. DSC06147warm corn juice (like a cream corn soup)…..


…..and sweet and salty fried corn, completely with candy sprinkles……


We had eaten at this restaurant many times and had enjoyed most of these dishes before, but did have a new one. They called these Chinese hamburgers, with the filling being made of beef and bamboo shoots.

DSC06149To eat them, you would open up the bread “bun”, dip some meat onto them and then enjoy……


We reminisced with Wen (our host) about the last trip when he fed us insects, and not to be outdone, the group ordered them again. These are Bamboo worm larvae that have been deep fried and then sautéed with a spicy chili sauce…..


Now I know what you are all thinking, but they were really good, especially when eaten in concert with the fried corn!!!!

The lunch was a fun time and much science was discussed…..


We decided to try to walk back to the hotel and this time just followed everybody else and walked THRU the construction rather than detouring around it…..


The havoc being wreaked is astounding…..I just hope that it will all be worth it!!!

Returning to the hotel meant that it was time to pack for our weekend away in Shanghai. This is a side-trip that we decided to add onto this empty weekend and we are really looking forward to it. Unfortunately, there are THREE Typhoons (hurricanes) headed toward the city, but we are hoping that they will zig and zag around and miss us completely. As of Thursday night it is looking promising!!!

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