Although Dave lived in Japan in the early 1970's as a Computer Teacher, he never made it to China so he was happy to finally get to go - - - My grandson, Taylor, who was visiting over Spring Break, and I took him to the airport. Listed here are the e-mails that I have received from Dave beginning on April 21st when he left for China to supervise the finishing of Dave & Marla Russo's new trawler - -
Hi, we were all ready to go, bordered the plane and then one of Adam’s ground crew ran into the service door and broke the hinge!! He’s got to get a handle of those union boys. So they’re scoring the friendly skies for another suitable 747 400 but think it will be 4-5 hours before one get here.
All is well we’ll just arrive in Hong Kong much later…like 9-10 PM Friday so it will make a really long day today. The flight from San Juan was OK…even in Chicago early.
Later - I think Hong Kong sees the sun once or twice a year as the smog/fog this AM is so bad I can barely make out the shoreline ½ mile away! I will meet David and Marla at 10 AM for breakfast and a catch-up. What a sight to fly directly over the polar cap and then down thru Russia, Mongolia and into China proper. Guess they have relaxed the flight rules as you could never fly over those places years ago.
Later - I sent this e-mail from Hong Kong this AM via a wireless link that cost me $20!!! So I sure hope you get it.
I’m now in Shenzhen over on the Mainland at the Shangri-La Hotel. Nice hotel as hotels go. Not as nice a Swan Song tho…. David and Marla look fine and are excited about their new boat. We won’t get to the factory til Monday AM if the Chinese dragons don’t get me!
Now as to Quan Yin........it seems that Quan Yin is the name they give to all Goddesses. We searched the shops today and they showed us every "Goddess" but no Goddess of Compassion. We got fertility, we gone planting, we got love, we got this and that but no 'compassion'. Can you send a picture of exactly what you want?? We got a fleet of Chinese shoppers here and they'll scour the country side but they need a picture before we unleash them ;-)
As you see by the pictures we've been to caves, waterfalls, old time tribal houses, a live show on Genghis Kahn and a Chinese Opera! And this was all today we are all bushed.....nothing in English so you don't have a clew as to what is going on. The stage folks don't say a word it is all soundtrack they just go thru the motions albeit very colorful. The seats are either just concrete bleachers or small plastic things that are set so close together that David and my knees mash into the seat backs in front.....and no air-conditioning must have been 100 degrees inside. David said he lost 10 lbs and his seat was soaking wet when we left.....
So it's nap time for the rest of the troops but I'll be crashing in a couple of hours for the night....off to PAMA at 10 AM tomorrow for the first look at Adessa (Dave Russo’s trawler that is being built in Pama and is the reason for the trip)
Hug, kisses and much love, Your man on the trail in China ;-)
Hi, I have spent the early morning hours surfing Google trying to find out more about Kuan Lin as they call her here.
I was looking for a specific statue in a specific pose and find that she is available in every pose and every dress from ancient to modern. I guess I need a picture of the type/pose you’d want. We’’ were off to the factory this AM so will be buried in Fiberglass all day I think. Off to breakfast….soy oil tofu and other indescribable delights!! I will be back on line later today at the factory and will email then.
A bit weird being 12 hours and a day out of sync!
Ah, over here it seems to be just about any written and spoken thing that sounds like Kuan, Quan Or even Kowlin……
In any case we went to a temple today and I took lots of pictures which I’ll send to you tonight hopefully. It might just be better that you are there with an image in you mind of the Temples and all. The one we went to was like an El tourista trapola. Folks selling everything from booths and following you and trying to get you back to them. Marla and David took the kneeling position on the pad and had their fortunes read to them in Chinese……David gave the guy $100 RMB which is something like $15 US and the guy was insulted! He hounded Dave till we left…sounded like he put a cruse on him as the Gargoyles that stand on each side of the door were shaking.
I hate to say this but so far it looks like commercialism has hit the Temple business…not a quiet simple place to sit and meditate ….unless you want to pay by the hour.
So the pictures I took try to cut out the surrounding crap so you can see that once upon a time this temple might have been a nice place. As I said better to keep the dream and vision than to be stuck in the reality of how it is.
All of the statues at this place were junk…looked like they were made in China and something you get if you knocked the guy in the water at the Carnival. So I’ll keep looking when I get back to Hong Kong on Friday…today is Tuesday…I think.
The hotel situation is looking grim for Hong Kong…..every hotel is booked at rates that blow David’s mind…….average room rate at a 3 star hotel is $300/day and $6-700 at a decent one. So I just might cut the trip short as $2000 for 4 days plus food and other stuff is over David’s budget. We see tomorrow after some more checking Even the Hostel is $100 and they have NO rooms!
As a matter of fact, commercialism has hit everything everywhere I’ve been. You and I live so much in our own little world that we don’t see, understand and appreciate what we have with each other and Swan Song…our space. We can take it where we want and if things are a bit much shore-side we can retreat to our known spot, Swan Song. Not some hotel room with a king-sized board for a bed, no hot water till 7:30AM and absolutely anyone that speaks a work of English for a $100 odd a day. BTW the toilet doesn’t get water till the AM so taking a nice d… as I did this afternoon “Velly sorry water tomorrow”. Isn’t what you’d like to hear.
The sky here is really interesting as I’ve not seen enough of it to know if we’re going south or north. There is what looks like a very bad rain shower coming and when it gets to you it’s just smog/fog. We had a very black sky all day today an all three of us though for sure it would rain…nope just the industrial machinery pumping out the junk. I think I said in my first email that we never saw Beijing, Shanghai or Hong Kong other than a faint glow to the East of the plane as went by them. The airplane touched down and I never saw one light of all the city and then bam we were on the runway.
I haven’t but I think I will try to capture this on film. It funny as the outdoor pictures I’ve been taking of the boat at high noon outside all need the flash. I think LA and the other US cities need to see how bad this stuff can really get a then get a handle on it…..sure glad the tradewinds are from the East in the Caribbean.
I’ve got my usual travel cold and laryngitis; cough up a bit of flem last night that caught on my larynics so it’ll be a day or two before I’m speaking much. Shades of Foxy’s North.
We’ve done well at Pama and have a long list of issues that they will be addressing
OK I’m, going to take a bit of a rest and will empty the camera later and post them to you a “small pictures”. Can’t tell you where we were as the driver made so many wrong turns and backed tracked that I don’t thing she knew where we were either. Damn I wish I had some rum raisin right now!
Later - as I was lying in bed it finally hit me what was so familiar about this place. It is the same as Cuba but on steroids. Most of the older buildings haven’t been painted in years. There’s no trash! The government center is just behind us and we’re staying in the Depeng Hotel which is owned and operated by the Government.
The steroid part is that it is so massive and that they have a dual economy. Those that are in the “work for cash side” can buy things, rent new apartments etc. Those still locked in the “certificate for work” side have no money…I expect particularly the older generation as they never made the trasition. No one wants to really talk about it but this seems to be the way it is.
Prima pays its guys $.50 cents an hour but include room and board. Sort of like the old factory towns in America of a 100-150 years ago. So the $4/per day plus a rack and food must make it about $10/day. Prima has 130 employees so breakfast, lunch and dinner are "be there on time or go hungry affairs". No children are allowed so any hanky panky going on must be “safe sex”. All the workers seem to be a happy lot, very industrious and well trained. The owner has an 80 acre waterfront lot so he plans for a lot of expansion.
Today Is the actual sea trial and with the state of the boat as of last night you wouldn’t think it was possible. The tide is right to launch around 9 AM and I think in needs to be hauled by 12 or 1PM before the tide falls too much. Ahh the issues running a railway when you have a tidal range to worry about.
I must have a sympathic reaction to your creepy crawlers as I have small bumps all over my back. The first night there were a few mosquitoes but I got them. Really strange bumps more like tiny blisters. Got to run as David needs to send some mail
And a good morning from me! A nice upbeat email from Dianne. I didn’t know if the John is grandson John or Goodhue. I’d more likely think Goodhue as he is involved in every aspect of what she’s trying to do.
Thunder and rain as I write this. Today is my last day at Prima and I leave on a 1220 BUS for Kowloon Station in Honk Kong and then will take a cab to my new hotel there. The bus ride is two hours and includes going thru Mainland Chine Customs/Immigration and then Hong Kong Customs/Immigration. I’m told it is not the chicken bus but may be air-conditioned if it’s working. I get to have one of the “unaccompanied child” things around my neck as not speaking any Chinese I need all the help I can get. Another adventure and I’ll try to take a few more pictures as the scenery permits.
The sea trial went well with a few things discovered that need changing. Again these guys are so cooperative its almost scary! Then again at $4/day/person you can spend a lot of time making a $1M boat. The Navy patrol boat was stationed just off the shore between us and a run for the border about 2 miles from shore. They kept the gun covers on but were always keeping a close eye on us. Shades of Cuba.
Dave and Marla also leave here today and go back to Shenzhen for Friday night and then off to some river cruise for two days. They are looking forward to it but don’t know id the grubs and dog that’s on the menu will be partaken of. One of the workers at Prima said the dog was the best…we all just sort of looked at each other. Dave the Pama agent from Florida did manage the fried grubs but I don’t think I could. He said they offer the live ones but that was a bit much even for him!
So I have a weeks worth of dirty clothes to pack up this AM and get to the hotel laundry in HK. They don’t do “laundry here” and I’m sure not leaving my stuff in some “Chinese laundry” and never find it again.
My cold seems to be a bit better as the coughing has abated enough that I went to dinner last nite for the first time since I got here. A very nice private room with the owner of Prima and his wife hosted all of us. A little of this and that some not edible to me like the tofu that damn near killed David as it was so spicy hot. But some crab things, shrimp, sliced beef(or maybe dog), fruit and a ton of tea. Just a nice gathering. I drank so much tea that I’ve been going to the head every hour and half all night. Guess it a very good diuretic. I can’t drink the coffee here as one sip and I start getting a hot flash. It is so strong and bitter that nothing cuts it.
I’ll be in HK from Friday till Tuesday when I leave. SO plenty of time for shopping and sights. Also plan to visit with Iain and Ginni from the Cat I sold them sometime this weekend. Hope to be able to bag the cold before I have to get on the plane.
We’ll I’d better start packing and get my shit together as they’re picking us up in an hour. I think the new hotel has internet but am not positive but I might be able to get a phone chip and if so will call.
Hi my sweetie, well today was my day to play tourist and I think I did a pretty good job.
Called Ginni this AM and she said to meet Iain at his office on Hong Kong Island. So with my trusty subway map and Ginni’s very brief instructions I set out right after a very large breakfast buffet. A few blocks walk to the subway and down into the labyrinth. Off across the harbor via tunnel a change over to another line and come up at the “K” exit. Turn left actually right and go into the Prince’s Building up to 14th floor down the hall and voila 1 hour later I’m in Iain’s office. He still had 2 patients so I waited and we went to his glasses man. I got to pair….one dark polarized and one clear to replace those god awful 20 year old ones.
Then a 30 minute walk to his car and off to the “New Territory”. After many miles of high rises it finally changes as you come out of a tunnel to a New Hampshire Landscape. Boats and water on the right and very low rise/townhouse construction.
Around the head of the harbor and we finally get to the end of the lane and park the cark at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club annex. Down the dock and out to there boat that Ginni is working on….good woman ;-).\
Up to the club for lunch at 2:30 Kellet burgers, aka cheeseburgers, are the main fair which is fine with me! Then back to the boat for some talk over a couple of cups of very good coffee. Then up to their house which is a two bedroom two bath single story rental. Iain and Ginni sleep on the boat every night and the adopted kids sleep in the two bedrooms. A five minute walk between the two. I must say this is an interesting arrangement!
Then Ginni gets a quick shower grabs two of the kids and off we go back to HK Island and the main RHKYC as it seems that Ellen Macarthur with B & Q is there giving a talk for the kids. It was sold out some time ago so I couldn’t crash the gate. Even Iain couldn’t get me in. So I took several pictures of the boat…very impressive. Hard to believe a wee girl like her could operate it around the world. Awesome. By now its after six and I have to walk a mile thru several waterfront area to find the cheese which is the subway entrance. Buy a ticket, let the crowd push you along and soon into a car and off to the right stop to transfer and let them push you out and push you to the next line and onto the car and off you go. Only to be push out at the next stop which happens to be correct. Now there a exits label A thru K to leave but I can’t remember which one I came in…just let the crowd push you along and were on the street next to MacDonald’s which I recognize. A few more blocks, up the steep hill, so steep that the side walk is steps not a ramp, for a block! At 8 PM I’m back inside my room.
Tomorrow is SHOPPING day. Also Mother’s Day and Sunday. Then Monday is May Day when everyone should stand at attentions as the military rolls out its newest stuff. Then at 9 PM on Tuesday the wheel are up and I’m head home J
Hi, I’m alive after another adventurous day which I described in the first email. I have to write things off line as I only get 3 hours of internet per day at this hotel. And it is continuous so if I log off its gone.
Actually people are trying to get into China in droves they have the same problem as the US has on it’s borders. People of lesser economic means want to get in and work. On the TV they just announced that they are issuing 20,000 work visa’s per month just for Taiwan workers. That’s 250,000 people a year leaving Taiwan and going to China. They also are the middle/top technical folks as they are what China wants. In other words China is draining the brain power of Taiwan.
It is another day here with no sun and low to mid 80’s. The city also has a smell that pervades everything. The only place it was tolerable was up in the New Territories where Iain lived. You could still smell a bit but not much. Iain says that most of the sea life has died in the last 5 years so the water is now “dead”. This means that there’s no natural system to biodegrade the sewerage etc that is pouring into the rivers.
Flying over the North Pole - Old China House bedroom below
With Taylor at the BVI airport - Russo's trawler below