This post is about people. We met and saw so many delightful souls. I believe that it is social interactions that carbonate an experience. (OK, stole that line from Rick Steves…because it is so true.)
I absolutely loved seeing the children–babies, toddlers and adolescents–of China. Kids in China act like kids I know in the U.S. They’re probably the same the world over.
I got permission to take this closeup. Who is taking my picture and why?
This little guy was feeding one of what seemed to be a stray dog.
Here’s a doll face chasing bubbles.
While in a pedestrian shopping street in Huangshan, we encountered a massive group of middle schoolers in red jackets.
I saw a group of them trying to push a gal toward me. I went up to them to see what was up. She introduced herself as their English teacher and told me they wanted a picture with us. I got this picture as they assembled, before we sat on the ground in front of the group.
I remembered my rudimentary French, learning how to say, “My name is Mary. What is your name?” Through this little interchange, I met many 6th graders with unpronounceable names. It was fun witnessing their joy.
This little girl was, at first, shy about having her picture taken. But after her father convinced her it was OK, she posed for me.
I loved this old China/new China selfie taking.
This shop gal sold us the one lunch we needed to buy for the bullet train–a glorified Ramen Noodle bowl. In China, it is really Nothing But Noodles.
We had a group picture taken at Yellow Mountain. What cracked me up about it, was the Chinese interloper who just jumped in to join us. (Just to the left of the flag bearer.) Those Chinese just love having their picture taken. I wonder if it is similar to the phenomenon of kids in a big family fighting for attention. You really have to fight to be noticed when there are 1.4 billion people in your country.
The Chinese people work hard, but none harder than these coolies who carry massive amounts of weight up and down at Yellow Mountain. These guys preferred photos taken from the back.
In California, on our way TO China and coming home, we got to see two very special couples.
Sherry and Eric Nadworny moved to Walnut Creek from Charlotte. On the way to China, we stayed in the San Francisco area a couple of days. They graciously hosted us our last two nights there. We had so much fun with them!
On the way home, we laid over one night in San Jose. Laurie and Bob Lynch, who we met on the China trip, live in San Jose. Our clocks were very upside down, so after a good night’s sleep, they picked us up and gave us a tour of the area. We enjoyed wine at a local vineyard
And had our first In & Out Burger. (Along with these kids, headed to the prom.)
The folks on the trip with us were wonderful and entertaining. But there were no people more entertaining than Peter and Jeff from New Zealand. Much of the time, they were out-of-control, making everyone laugh. (Unfortunately, they weren’t in our immediate group, but we did go on some excursion with them.)
Our second night in Beijing, at the lake where men were instructed to not engage with women wanting to speak English, these guys disappeared, returning in the morning. Their tour guide was beside himself.
On day one, they bought silly panda hats. My mom would have called those AGD’s (attention-getting-devices). Their tour guide was horrified that they wore them in Tiananmen Square and approached anyone and everyone in such an unabashed manner.
But, the Chinese loved them. The girls who worked on the boat clamored for their attention. Apparently the boys stayed up all night with a group of admirers the last night on the boat. These two were sought after to pose for selfies.
Our waiters on the boat were sweet and attentive. Rain and Mila:
Steph Curry, of Golden State Warrior fame, is probably more famous in China than in the U.S. His face was plastered everywhere. Here he is in the bullet train station in Wuhan.
And again towering over Nanjing Road in Shanghai
We hit the jackpot with our group, the 15-day English speaking tour. There could have been as many as 30 of us, but we ended up with just 15.
Us in Tiananmen Square:
Our last day in Shanghai:
The gals jumped all over this store sign. Yes, “Wife IS Boss!”
Yes, there was a red Kay and a pink Kay. This made it so much easier to spot our group from afar.
And last, but not least, was our Jerry Wu.
Here he is singing us a song toward the end of the trip. Pretty good voice I’d say.
At this point, if you weren’t “one of us” you may want to quit reading this post. Because from here on, it’s all about US.
Everyone in our little group gave me permission to use their photos and post a bit about them. Let me introduce our traveling buddies:
Connie Wilkinson and Dennis Plante
Animal lovers with a precious shizhou and three stray cats, they live in Montreal. Dennis just retired after 30 years of service with the Canadian railroad, most recently as a conductor. Connie was the best bargain hunter of us all.
They loved that 2.0 Chinese beer as much as we did.
She’s not giving me the finger, no, Connie about to explode after tasting the incredibly hot wasabi on the boat. A little, tiny, itty bitty dab’l do ya!
I don’t know what train Dennis will be conducting next.
Originally from New Zealand, she now lives in Australia to be close to her children and grand children. Her husband and son were/are both professional cyclists. She was (is?) an athlete in her own right.
Michael and Jo-Ann McGowan
Canadian Jo-Ann met New Jerseyan, Michael, in Cape Cod. After a couple years in the U.S. they moved to Canada. That was 35 years ago.
Kay (Orange Kay) Forrest and Rick Kisil
These two, from Montreal, have taken bike trips all over the globe.
Rick fell for the full tea deal at the Green Tea Factory. After the transaction, he said, “And I don’t even like tea.”
Here he is helping the Chinese keep things tidy.
Kay responded to this little cat sitting outside the dining room window by giving him some of her grub.
Christina Hofmann and Wolfgang Buschhaus
Originally from Germany, they met and have lived in Australia for over 40 years. He works for Deloitte and she with seniors.
Roger and Merri (Meredith) Belton
After living all over Australia, they have now settled near Perth to be closer to their offspring. Merri plays tennis several times a week and Roger can fix anything.
Poor Merri suffered more than the rest of us who got congested on the boat. Here she is with the medications she managed to find.
Kay (Pink Kay) and Neil Burns
Neil is a retired electrical engineer who finished his career working for Coca Cola. Kay ran a community health office. They have one son and a precious 21 year old granddaughter.
The one time we wore fancy clothes. Nice last dinner on the boat.
Mary and Kevin