Saturday, November 11

 

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Today was a travel day and thatís never really a good thing with a 2 year-old and a 4 year-old in tow. We traveled from Hong Kong into China by bus. Normally this is a three-hour bus ride, but the traffic and construction dragged it out to 4 hours.

The funny thing about the bus ride (not really ha ha funny either) is that it isnít frequented by foreigners, and it crosses the border at the crossing that is also not frequented by foreigners, so you can imagine the spectacle I made. People get quite the thrill out of pointing and commenting, particularly if Iím with one or both of the girls.

The first part of the bus ride was really quite boring until we got out of Hong Kong. After the border, when we got into China, the view got quite awesome. The part of China we traveled through is famous for furniture and leather goods. Right next to some of the big manufacturing plants are tiny little homes with banana trees planted out front or fish ponds. It amazes me each and every time we travel this route and I never tire of it.

Dannyís cousin Pok Hei accompanied us to China, being the good sport (translation: glutton for punishment) that he is. It made the bus ride much easier, because both girls really like him and are quite happy to sit with him.

When the bus stopped at the front of the hotel in JiuJaing we were greeted by his relatives who had been waiting there for us for well over an hour. Dannyís mom and his aunts are here, having come from Hong Kong a couple of days ago. The real treat for us is that Dannyís uncle Roberto from Cuba is here as well, and we havenít seen him in several years. He brought with him his son, German, who is also from Cuba, and this is the first time weíve met him. This really made our trip worthwhile. We were invited out for lunch with the group soon after we checked into the hotel.

When we looked around JiuJiang we were disappointed to find that what we had been told was true. The local economy has fallen to a new low and people are really not doing well. For us, this is somewhat bitter sweet, because it means that everything we buy here is extraordinarily cheap, but we realize itís because locals simply canít afford anything else. When Danny, his mom, uncle and aunts left to visit his fatherís and other ancestorsí graves I went to the grocery store with the two girls. You canít begin to imagine the fuss that causes in this little town that just doesnít see big white women with blonde hair very often!!! It really is kind of fun. I bought two large grocery bags full of items and the bill came to Ұ49 CNY or about $7.50 CAD. Unbelievable. We also found a really nice bakery and bought some lovely fresh coconut buns for the kids.

Tonight we hosted a large dinner for virtually everyone known to the Fung and Chan (Dannyís momís) families in JiuJiang. We had about 34 people. It was really very good and a great chance for everyone to see us. Dinner was good, but our girls were tired and their behaviour wasnít exactly stellar. We got through it though, and tomorrowís another day!