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Last year we went to China, to attend the wedding of our son. It was in many ways a step back into the past,the history of China is fasinating, trying to use the bathroom facilities even in the up-to-date shopping centres, was to say the least, absolutly frustrating.
We stayed one night in the home of a friend of daughter-in-law, underneath the apartment was the pigs, in the foyer was a small school for children whose parents could not pay the money to send their children to school. Those kids were so great,they did not worry about the old chairs, writing on scraps of paper, they were learning.
We spent time teaching, them some english words, each time we came down to go out the children would call out mama come.My husband showed them some photos of NZ, and played ball out in the dust of the street.It was great.
In one small town we stayed in, (off the tourist maps)looked up from our lunch table to see probably 60 people,looking at us through the window. Could not believe it. When we went out later on in the day, most of the population followed us. The lovely thing was no-one was trying to sell us anything. My blue eyes became a focus for much admiration,kept having to take my glasses off so others could have a look. We went into a shop, trying to buy hairspray, the owner came out with seat for my huband, cups of tea for us, he wanted us to stay as long as possible, as we had brought most of the village with us.
But, it was a day of laughter, bowing, exchanging smokes,not really understanding each other, but in gestures, laughter, much was understood on both sides.
China is a place of great contrasts, women working on building sites, carrying heavy loads on their backs,homeless, who have to leave town before nightfall, and sleep out of sight,wooden huts, where whole families live, existing on very little, then the very flash hotels which cater not only for tourists but also for the businessmen who do most deals over a meal, or cups of tea. Buildings/walls built centuries ago, amidst the modern, pavements carved out by footsteps, over many years, hold stories untold, the politness of villagers, the pushing and shoving, in the cities,the scrambling in the markets, to get that tourist dollar,to children who just want to say hello, in english,the terracotta warriors, the walled city in Xian,meeting people who have never seen a star,sharing meals, hoping what you are eating is okay,women sewing on old tredle machines, for stores, who sell the goods at inflated prices.