Ni hao 你好 (Hello) Zhuhai City

Trip Start Jun 30, 2008
Trip End Dec 31, 2009

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Flag of China  , Guangdong,
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Our 22 hour train and bus journey from Shanghai was comfortable getting us in Zhuhai rested and excited to be home.  Good thing we had some pent up energy because our apartment after 6 weeks of being closed air tight (in case of typhoons) smelled musty with mould growing on everything!  We all washed, scrubbed, swept, brushed, and wiped the whole place down so it was ready for us to live in again.

The other day in a heavy downpour I was watching from the store I stepped into out of the rain as a car pulled out onto the street and hit a man and women on a bicycle holding an umbrella trying to keep the rain from pelting their faces.  I watched as the driver of the car got out and helped the people up and picked up the bicycle examining the couple and the bicycle for damage.  The driver was the fastest insurance adjuster I had ever seen as he stooped into his car and came back with a 100 rmb bill (almost $ 16 cdn) and handed it to the man who in turn handed it to the women.  Both parties continued on their way in the heavy downpour. 

Two things I learned and/or confirmed from this incident was that "money is money and a rich man's joke is always funny" and secondly, even if the man earns the money the woman ends up with it.

One of the reasons we were excited to be home again is because after six weeks 'on the road’ we all missed our routines.  We were all in worse shape and could feel it so we decided to make this month the month to get back in shape.  We now run/bike around Fox Island with the help of the new folding bike we purchased.  We have started swimming again regularly and hiking on the hill nearby.   

One morning as Sabrina and I cycled to the swimming pool we saw a teenager on top of a four story building preparing to jump.  We did not stick around long enough to determine the outcome.  We just hope this girl well.   I don’t know why she was up there but I could imagine many different scenarios.  So much pressure is placed on children/students to do well at EVERYTHING it must be difficult when they come up ‘short’.   It was seeing that girl on the ledge that realized why I get so upset when someone says “I can’t”.  I try not to focus too much on the outcome or the measure of the outcome but more on the amount of effort that I put into it.  We only fail when we give up trying.

While watching woman’s soccer on television with my very good friend Henry the other night I mentioned that Sabrina is very interested in soccer.  It turned out that Henry’s wife’s best friend’s husband is the head coach of the local girls’ soccer team.  Henry offered to call the coach and see if it would be all right for Sabrina to join the soccer squad.  We got the green light and Sabrina enthusiastically showed up to the soccer pitch early the next day.  Whatever the Chinese do they do very well.  As I have said many times before you cannot out work the Chinese.  For example these girls have practices every day except Sunday - 2 hours every morning then on Thursday Friday and Saturday 2 hours in the afternoon as well.  I’m not sure how this will all work out but I know that Sabrina is trying her best and learning a lot at the same time.

One thing in the back of our mind since returning from our holidays was the fact that we had to get a new Chinese Visa.  It has become increasingly difficult to obtain a visa so we were not looking forward to the ordeal.  We have been told from sources that the government is being very stringent on the visa situation leading up to the 60th anniversary of China’s independence of October 1, 1949.  We were hoping to get a three month visa extension but we have heard that the maximum we can receive is 30 days.  This means that every 30 days we have to travel back to Macao or Hong Kong and spend a fortune to stay another 30 days.

The fact that Monique had been suffering from a very high fever only 48 hours before we had to leave the country did not lessen our stress at all.  It is a well known fact that if you have a fever you will be quarantined and not allowed to leave the country.  We didn’t have any extra time to spare as we have stretched our six month visa right down to the last hours.   As it turned out Monique’s fever subsided, we made it to Macau and got a 30 day visa making it back home by dinnertime.  Point for the future; don’t travel on a Sunday because thousands and thousands and thousands wanted to cross the border the same time we did. 

On Saturday evening as we were all watching a movie we had visitors to our apartment who are somehow affiliated with the City television station and have asked if they could do a TV program about our family.  We’re not exactly sure of all the details but we did agree that we would be interested in learning more about their proposal.  Who knows maybe one of us will be a star after all! 

We are now in typhoon season and as we watch the news we see storms, earthquakes and other major disturbances and all around us but we have been spared so far!
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slimwille on

Just a fond Hello!
My goodness! You all have gone so far beyond acclimation to your surroundings! Your calling it home now. Just Awesome! Your account of the teen on the building top pulled on my heart strings. I do hope all is well and that she has found a new dream!
You all sound as though you are one amazing group of hardy travelers. (having a fever and disolving it so that you can travel is an amazing feat)
I do authentically wish that we meet up again on the path of life.
We are in CT and preparing for this years leg of our journey that will begin just before our thanksgiving. We will either be in Southern Cal for Dec - June 2010 or in the FL Keys or at least some where warm for sure but we are aiming at Cali. We are thinking Alaska in July 2010 and then we have a wedding to attend in Hawaii in August 2010. Nothing def but we are certainly hitting the road again as we have fallen in love with this vagabond life style. Obviously so have all of you!
Thanks for the updates! I am deeply impressed and moved by your experiences and expressions of and in life.
Best to all, Bill

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