Sunday, February 7, 2010

Canton, Old City - 1/23/10

We got an early start at a beautiful dim sum place by a lake and mountain. I tried durian for the first time in the form of a pastry. It tasted like onion and garlic. Everyone was wearing reindeer antlers, so my mom exclaimed "Christmas is over!" in front of the staff. I found that hilarious. Then I found out the place specialized in deer meat. Aaaah, talk about being lost in translation.

We walked up a mountain and saw many ppl playing hacky sac and badminton. It was very peaceful with the clear air, happy children, and red fuzzy plants. We walked to the top to a pagoda and could see half of Canton.

After, we went to Gah-Wun's house. He served tea to us on this awesome stone tray that was used to ground inks. Clearly, he was interested in found objects that served one purpose at one time serving another now. He showed us his cool paintings and photographs. We showed him our art.

We went on our way to my parents old town. At lunch at the train station, we almost lost the camera. Thankfully, the restaurant had it, but seemed reluctant to give it back to us. We were very lucky they did because the old town was slated to be torn down.

All the memories of my month-long stay as a 7-year-old in my mom's childhood home came back. This was what I actually remembered of Canton. I could hear the echos of neighbors playing mah-jong, feel the dread of not having fully-working toilets, and see the dark hallways that I feared as a child.

We visited my mom's old school, the place where my grandfathers mistress lived, my mom and dad's old neighborhoods, and my mom's old house where it would have been if it weren't for a highway. We also happened upon a cool copper shop. I could see the references the gallery last night used from this architecture.

After, went to an market that sold wooden carvings, Chinese furniture, goldfish and many cool trinkets for a great price. I got a well-crafted wooden piece to hang earrings for only 10usd.

Afterwards, we hopped on the subway back to have dinner at one of the best Chinese restaurants we've ever been to. Gah-Wuns parents, uncle, aunt, and Mei Mei joined us as well. We had warm almond soup, tofu, fish stew, and eel fried rice. Everyone was so warm and welcoming.

Unfortunately, Gah-Wun can't visit the states until he has visited Australia, Europe, and Japan. The Chinese government does this to ensure people don't leave China.

Gah-Wuns uncle and aunt treated us all to foot massages after. Keith and my masseuses were from Hunan. Gah-Wun's uncle cracked jokes as we got a foot-rubbing. It was such great fun. They were so good to us they even offered an apt to us next time.

Such great hospitality comes so rarely these days. My dads legacy left us with some wonderful family relationships.

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