Quilts and Other Stuff from Frances

Getting from here to there


Our time in Chengdu has been fun and we have REALLY enjoyed all of the spicy food however it wont be bad to have some “not-so-spicy” food for a few days!!

As we said, the hotel that we were in was very nice, but SUPER expensive.  We sent one load of laundry out (about 3 days worth) and it came back costing $150!!!  We had planned to pay for it ourselves but Professor Liu said that it couldn’t be done that way.  He suggested that we give our clothes to the graduate students and that they would hand wash everything for us.  We knew that was NOT going to happen, so I bought some detergent and washed clothes in the fancy bathtub each morning.  As I washed I hummed the theme to the Beverly Hillbillies as I remembered their “cement pond”!!!!DSC08475

Fortunately the room was equipped with a retractable clothes line so I felt sure that we were not the only hillbilly guests!!

Later in the week, when we arrived in Guangzhou, we found that the cost was still fairly expensive but MUCH less than this hotel.  I did, however laugh at the sign in the bathroom that offered free clothes de-hydration services!!   I guess that I could have washed them myself and then handed them over for de-hydration!!

On our last night in Chengdu there was a conference starting with hundreds of people attending.  We could never figure out what type of conference it was however the billboard proclaimed that  “this is a magical event, this is a beautiful transformation, let us witness the most beautiful and brilliant moment time to serve you”…..now why couldn’t we figure that out??

It must have been something fairly important as there was a huge light display being set up in the hotel courtyard, including a 60 panel video display and hundreds of roses with a single LED bulb in the center..….


We had one final meal with Professor Liu and other researchers but this one wasn’t as spicy.  Most of the foods were pretty normal but I did find these steamed dumpling cups interesting…..


And, we watched with much trepidation as they poured the left over soup into a doggie bag that was just a simple plastic bag like we put our veggies in….


There was a fish skeleton that had been picked clean and we were surprised to see that one of the other diners wanted to take it home.  When we asked he told us that it was for his cat, and that yes, his cat did like spicy food!!!

On Friday we left Chengdu and headed back to Kunming for an overnight stay before we traveled to Guangzhou.  We hadn’t organized our schedule exactly right or we would have flown straight there rather than having this extra jaunt.  We had originally booked a hotel close to the airport but decided that we would MUCH prefer to stay at the Grand Park and maybe have the opportunity to eat at Salvador’s again and take a stroll around the lake.

Our night in Kunming was relaxing and everything  we had hoped for.   I took one last trip around Green Lake, stopping to enjoy all of the usual sights, including this little girl intently watching one of the street vendors…..


….and this gentleman playing harmonica while his wife sang along…..DSC08576

This group had a bluegrass sound to their music…..DSC08581

This violinist was sitting on the edge of a group and I got the feeling that he was just there to play along…..


He gave me a big smile just after I took the photo.

All of the groups, even the small ones, are amazingly high-tech.  They bring generators, microphones, amplifiers and everything that they need to out-sing or out-play the group next to them!!!  Here is an ancient, traditional Chinese instrument with a modern microphone ….DSC08579

This little lady twirled and danced between the groups, apparently having the time of her life…..


…and this gentleman also sashayed his way around the park…..


I noticed that a large gate which had never been open before was now allowing people to enter.  Naturally, I had to check it out!!!   I walked into a museum area called the “Chinese Expeditionary Force”.  Basically it was a fort area, surrounded by buildings with nothing to see inside!!!   I did enjoy watching these two girls play with their ribbons, probably imagining themselves as future gymnasts!!!


I was also drawn to this woman proudly having her photo taken in front of the doors…..DSC08590

….it makes me wonder if this place was something special for her.

The next morning we took a taxi to the airport.  Because it is so far to the airport and so hard for taxi’s to get rides back into the city, they are reluctant to make the trip.  Consequently, you always have to “sweeten” the deal, although one person will do it for 120Y while another requires 160Y!!

We have been surprised by additional security that is required before entering any airport.  At the very least, they have done a bomb-detection test on our luggage, but at Chengdu, we had to put our bags thru a scanner and then go thru a body scanner as well.   This was fun as you stood sideways on a moving conveyor belt and it sandwiched you between the scanners!!!

We have always known that many Chinese will cut in line at any time and this is very apparent at airports.  Michael just read a book that talked about this phenomenon and said that many of them are taught that, if they are not first in line, they will be left behind!!  I am sure that mindset makes for many worries about their future.

We have also found that many people do not do well on Escalators.  On one of our downward journeys, two ladies stopped at the very bottom to raise the handles on their suitcases and we all piled up behind them, with Michael basically vaulting over one of them!!  We have seen this several times and now leave at least 2 steps between us and our nearest traveler. 

I have also been interested in the carry-on bags that people travel with.  Many people have 4 or more large shopping bags that contain boxes of some item.  I am assuming that they are gifts of tea or other goodies.  The sheer size of the bags often makes it difficult to find space in the overhead bins!!!

In other airport news, some have carry-on luggage carts that have a video monitor attached between the handles.  I have seen kids playing games on these and also people looking for gate and airport information on them.  This seems VERY high-tech!!!

Our flight to Guangzhou was enjoyable and not terribly late.  We were met at the airport by Xiu-Jun (Jhu-Jhune) and taken to the Yangling hotel which we had visited previously.

Xiu-Jun and his wife returned to take us to dinner and we enjoyed a very simple meal with just four dishes.  This was very refreshing as so many of the banquets have 15+ dishes and sometimes that is just too many flavors to get at one time.   My favorite were these simple vegetables and mushrooms…..DSC08604

  After a leisurely dinner and chat…..DSC08610

…we returned to our room to find our bed turned down and our slippers awaiting our feet……


Tomorrow is another day!!!

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