"" Writer's Wanderings: Wuhan to Beijing

Monday, September 28, 2009

Wuhan to Beijing

Almost a week has passed since arriving in China. Of course we lost a day crossing the dateline. This morning we enjoy a breakfast of French toast, waffles, and fried eggs with toast and fruit. The restaurant in the Shangra La has a huge breakfast buffet—very international.
After breakfast, Bob and I walk a bit again. Who knows how long we will be sitting today? We pass people scurrying to work or waiting for public transportation. Many have purchased a large container of instant noodles. The containers are like large cottage cheese cartons that have all the noodles and seasonings in them. The fast food place adds the hot water and you stir and eat with your chopsticks on the go.

A beautiful little garden is nestled into a corner between some buildings. One man stands and begins his warm up for his Tai Chi. The streets are landscaped in places with what appear to be flowerbeds but upon closer examination, they are dozens of four inch pots of flowers all set together to make a “garden.”

On our way to the airport we pass through sections of town where there are blocks of stores dedicated to a certain product. For example one block has only lamps and fans to sell or to repair. Like in Beijing, they also park on the sidewalks in Wuhan.

The Air China plane we take is painted with the Olympic characters in preparation for 2008. For once our plane leaves on time. We fly from Wuhan to Beijing and I am delighted to see some patches of clear skies. Below I can see tight clusters of homes surrounded by acres of farmland. Obviously they are little villages. The villages get bigger and begin to meld together as we near Beijing.

The food we are served on the plane is rice, cabbage, curried chicken, a small salad of cucumber and tomato and a tasteless “brownie.” I don’t recognize the flavor of tea but thankfully there is bottled water. There was also something in a small packet that we never do identify. Someone says it is a condiment but no one recognizes it.

Maggie, our Beijing guide, smiles and says “It’s shiny today!” [She points up and says she asked “the god” for good weather. I wonder if this is my “God moment?” Probably not.] She begins to give us information about Beijing and Chinese culture. The Silk Market, she says, has different qualities—A, B, and C. Some places are not allowed to sell the A quality merchandise. She tells us of a man who bought a pair of shoes cheaply there and they fell apart when it rained. I suddenly realize she isn’t talking about silk material quality but the quality of the general merchandise sold there.

We pass a Korean community. Some girls, Maggie says, want to “finish the dream” so they go to a Korean plastic surgeon. That helps them to assure they will get a good husband.
She talks more of the birth restrictions. A couple is allowed only one birth. If there is a second, the penalty is 50,000 yuan. But if you were a single birth child and you marry someone who was a single birth child, you may have two children. Because the birth rate has slowed and decreased so much, the government is talking about changing the policies and allowing for two births as the norm.

We eat a late lunch in a hotel. There is a little more variety on the lazy susan but much is not recognizable. Certainly the duck and the pork are there. It’s all beginning to taste the same. The lobby near the restaurant has a live seal in a small pond and what appears to be live seafood to choose from for dinner.

Back on the bus Maggie begins to tell us about the Temple of Heaven. Originally it was the place to pray for a big harvest. Each year, the emperor would come to the temple and fast for a week—no meat and no concubines. The temple was the place for animal sacrifices for a good harvest. [I’m reminded of the Old Testament laws and sacrifices]. The temple was destroyed some time ago but was then rebuilt. I think she says it was finished in 2005.

The Temple of Heaven is stunning as the sun shines off the gold and blue tiles. There is an area called the kitchen and I wonder if that had something to do with the animal sacrifices. There is a nice museum but it is difficult to understand all the significance of what we see. Some of my reluctance it is my attitude. I’m not that interested. And some is just being too tired to absorb any more.

Upon our return to the Crowne Plaza, Bob makes arrangements to go with some others who want to shop at the Silk Market. I am too worn out and just want to spend some quiet time in the room. I make some coffee and eat one of my protein bars for dinner.

Bob returns excited about the Market. Lots of bargains and tons of things to see. He hopes we will be able to explore a little when we go there to the restaurant for our Peking duck lunch on Friday.
Other China posts:
The Forbidden City
Tiananmen Square
The Great Wall
The Summer Palace
Chinese Farmhouse
Three Gorges Dam
Three Gorges and Lesser Gorges
Fengdu—The Ghost City
Cruising the Yangtze
Chonging—The Yangtze River
The Big Goose Pagoda
Evening in Xian
Beijing to Xian
Timid Tourist in China-Travel Day
China-The Trip of a Lifetime

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...