20 September, 2009

Gail and Earl Do China

Last night, we went to Gail and Earl's "China Party", to celebrate their epic trip to China.

“Long journey always start with one short step.”
- Charlie Chan in Shanghai (1935)
Gail and Earl On the Great Wall
Centered around Beijing, they toured, in their words, "one section of the Great Wall, The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, The Lama Temple, The Temple of Heaven, The Summer Temple, The Purple Bamboo Park, The Five Pagoda Temple, The Silk Market, An open market, The Metro, The Wangfujing shopping district, The Hutong (common residential) district, and much more." They also took oodles of photographs, which they had on display on their TV and on a laptop in the living room.
Gail and Earl were nice enough to send me a few of the  more than 1,200 pictures they took on their journey. Ah, digital cameras. They have really changed our vacationing experience. Where before you maybe had two or three rolls of (if you were lucky) 36-exposure film that encompassed the whole trip. You spent half your time worrying about taking a shot, and probably missing most of them, because you just hated to waste a shot on something that you weren't sure about. Now, you just fire away. How liberating it has become and how nice to be able to totally capture memories.

Here's some of the many pictures they captured and brought back, along with many brochures, maps, an English language newspaper (New China Times, I think), silk gowns, and a whole host of other mementos.
Purple Bamboo Garden
Gail in the Emporer's Garden
At the Lama Temple
Evening Jam at the Back Lakes

Here's Earl At the Temple of Heaven
Kunming Lake From the Summer Palace
Summer Palace Long Corridor
Main Entrance to the Forbidden City
They were nice enough to bring me back some chop sticks. I had asked Earl for a pair and he brought me a beautiful black laquer with lime green filigree set of six sticks. How cool was that? I was tickled pink. I think I still owe Earl for them too.

I really enjoyed their party. It was fun looking at all of their trinkets and photos.

It also reminded me of when I was about to get out of the Navy. Tricky Dick and Henry Kissenger had just opened the bamboo curtain and established a dialog with the People's Republic. I was so enthralled, I had plans to enroll as an Asian Studies major at San Francisco State College. I was going to make my fame and fortune as an interpreter/adventurer/vagabond in China.

I'm not sure what happened. I think I got out the Navy and partied all my money away (there's a bit of a fog there). Next thing I knew, I had a job at Kenny's Plant Nursery in Security, Colorado, shoveling piles of dirt from one location to another. It took a few years before I was able to actually head off on my own grand adventure to paradise.

Anyway, it was quite a nice evening and it was a lot of fun to see how progressive China has become. Before I forget, all of the guests had to bring a Chinese dish to share. Now, here in Corozal, that was really a problem... Deciding from which of the more than thirty Chinese restaurants in the area to go to and get an authentic order of shrimp fried rice. The food was outstanding, as was the party.

Thanks Gail and Earl. And, thanks for letting me use the photos. I really do appreciate it.


corozal dave said...

Sorry we missed going to Gail and Earl's China was so nice of them to invite us...we just ran out of time that day it was running around to furniture's nice to be able to read about what we missed, thanks to you. Sounds like we missed another good time.

Dave Rider said...

Corozal Dave, It really was a nice time, and someplace I've always wanted to visit too. There'll be more good ones to come.