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A retired Aussie programmer from Sydney, I am an ardent traveller, student of things Chinese, and in retirement both an online teacher and online MOOC student. I write mostly about travel and experiences in China, and of interaction with Asian culture and people. Don’t expect controversy because, like a cat in a puddle, I tread carefully - but sometimes I just might throw in a ‘googly’!
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My very first sojourn in China - last century (2)    

By LaoGui 老鬼的博客
366 Views | 8 Comments | 3/23/2019 11:20:13 AM

Halfway up huangshan

The chronology of those early trips is somewhat confused - more than 20 years have passed by - but I think after the Aussie Melbourne Cup celebration at the embassy next port of call was Ningbo, by overnight ship from Shanghai.  A two-hour bus trip from Shanghai to the port wheezing in clouds of smoke from beneath the no-smoking sign and then overnight in the four berth cabin of an old clunker to Ningbo - memorable.  I'll see if I can find any photos.  Meeting family, then by bus to Huangshan.  Oh! how buses have improved since then, speed and comfort wise!  The 'seats' were reclining wicker beds, you could not sit up at all.  In the misty morning you could choose xifan zha cai mantou or nothing haha (wet rice, pickled turnip bland buns).



Arriving at a small town somewhere near Huangshan, as we entered the hotel I heard the reception clerk say 'you yige' 'have one' so I knew at once what he meant and who he was talking to - I was the 'one' and he was talking to the police who had asked him 'you mei you laowai?'  Funny!



Next day we went by mini-bus up the mountain, taking our luggage with us (bad mistake!).  Walking up the Huangshan steps carrying suitcases is not a good idea.  So we hired a porter, 200rmb, not little for that century.  Half-way up she stopped and put the bags down, saying 'this is as far as I go'! Haha - life is like that, how can you argue with someone cash in pocket striding back down the mountain.  So I lifted and lugged the bags, having no choice.  We stayed the night atop, in enforced separate rooms, and rose 5am next day to see the sunrise, shrouded in mist.  Mist is what I always see in China it seems.  Amidst the crowd waiting for the sunrise several had climbed trees and there was a chorus of 'lai le lai le' as the sun feebly penetrated the clouds.  By no means a disappointment however, there in the chill morning and stunning scenery.



That short 1995 Easter week seems a whirl of places – I had to return to work in Sydney, having just started a new job – I think it included Shanghai Ningbo Hangzhou Nanjing Huangshan in some order or other.  In Nanjing of course I visited the war museums and Zhou enlai’s home; in Ningbo Zhenhai there was a 24-hour guard posted outside to make sure the laowai came to no harm.  Ningbo was so much smaller then, certainly less than 2m, now already 6m. 



A heart-wrenching moment in Ningbo when a man outside a restaurant we were planning to lunch in pushed a large rusty nail through his arm, fixing my eyes as he did so – the staff rushing out to take him away.  Beggars have largely disappeared from the streets, spitting has almost disappeared, toilets are so much better and people do not discard so much rubbish; guards no longer care that I have blue eyes and no children rush out crying ‘yige laowai, yige laowai’. Huge changes in those twenty some years.



Nowadays so many people have better cars than I, larger houses, bigger bank accounts.  The economic revolution of Deng Xiao Ping is still in full flight!  Yet I am a mere observer and intend to remain so.



There was an awkward moment one morning in Hangzhou where we stayed overnight planning to take an early train next day (perhaps to Nanjing)  She necessarily booked into her company hotel, but stayed the night with me because we could not arrive together otherwise, and of course the ever-present eyes reported it, When I went down at 5am to check out, there was much talk and they would not allow it; essentially I was apprehended.  There was an hour's argument and in the end we just walked out and hopped in a taxi.



Top photo is halfway up Huangshan, the second photo is from the ship leaving Shanghai for Ningbo. 



老鬼


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(Showing 1 to 8 of 8) 1
#2019-03-23 11:20:01 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

LaoGui - you are saying a lot of interesting things about China circa 1995. As I've said, you remind me of my early days there, although I did not see quite as clearly the old ways of China since I arrived seven yeas or so later. Just the same the things you mention both fascinate me and cause me to miss those earlier years.

But what you are not doing is giving us much information about the lady who is the subject of your blogs, nor about your relationship with her nor even about what happened to her. She seems very attractive, both physically but also because she appears to have a lot of class.

Satisfy our curiosity please?(think)

#2019-03-23 13:46:42 by oldghost @oldghost

That is intentional - I will not criticise, nor will I reveal private information, except when it comes to myself.  Some aspects of character will emerge from the events but they are for you as the reader to discern.  She cheerfully trod the long perfumed aisles, and keenly wanted to buy the knife sets to carry through all the luggage inspections.  She is a fierce and fiercely independent woman who expects to have her way!  Always!  She is educated and brought up through the cultural revolution; a gas engineer who doesn't mind the occasional spark and consequent explosion.

#2019-03-26 18:23:06 by melcyan @melcyan

"spitting has almost disappeared"  Spitting was quite common on my last visit to China in 2013. I hope this change is true. If it is true, it is amazing that this change could take place in just 6 years.

#2019-03-27 19:36:39 by newbeginning @newbeginning

in my many trips to China, spitting by men and women is very frequent with no slowdown in sight. I still cant get over seeing a beautiful well dressed woman hawking up a huge spitball of phlem and lauching it like a rocket onto the ground. uggghhh TURNOFF!!!!!

#2019-03-30 18:48:16 by paulfox1 @paulfox1


@newbeginning

You wouldn't be complaining if she 'spat' all over your private bits, lol.

#2019-03-30 18:50:47 by paulfox1 @paulfox1


@oldghost

Have you watched the movie called 'The Great Wall'?

If not, I think you'll enjoy it. I've watched it 3 times and never get bored!

#2019-04-01 21:57:28 by oldghost @oldghost

@paulfox no I haven't, so there is actually a Zhang yimou movie I haven't seen

#2019-07-15 11:33:40 by oldghost @oldghost

Speaking of Zhang Yimou movies, during the current SBS month of world movies I happened to watch another unseen from 2006, Curse of the Golden Flower, a movie of spectacular excess which left me furious with myself for wasting 2+ hours watching such pointless dabian.  Chow yun fat and Gong li and a budget big enough to build a bridge to zhuhai.  Two weeks later I am still angry that I persevered to the galling end.

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