Me and Mao - No Where, China

Trip Start Jun 25, 2012
Trip End Sep 12, 2012

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Flag of China  , Jiangsu,
Saturday, September 8, 2012

I never thought it possible but we are in a City (the size of Vancouver) and until we arrived no one has ever heard of it. I suspect that after our arrival and Sabrina making it her new home………………YOU WILL BE HEARING MORE ABOUT RUGAO CITY, NANTONG, JIANGSU, CHINA!

We were all happy to leave Chengdu which appeared to us as a large, polluted city where blue sky could seldom be seen.  On the plus side the locals were super friendly and helpful.  Due to the limits of our Asia Miles, Sabrina and Sophia had to fly from Chengdu to Nanjing together 8 hours after the rest of us.  They had no problems but we were very relieved to see them arrive at our hotel in Nanjing at 10:15pm.  The next morning we took the bus to Rugao City.

Rugao is a city of 1.45 million people; the locals refer to it as a "small" town. The locals are definitely not used to seeing foreigners and they don't quite know what to make of us. It is famous for having the most centurions (100 year olds) but we know it as home to the Mao family and they are the reason we find ourselves in this lovely small town where we can see blue sky daily.

The day after we arrived was Sophia’s 15th birthday where she was showered with some pretty great gifts.  We ate at KFC for lunch which was a treat for all of us (nice change from Chinese Food) and had a traditional Chinese dinner with the Maos’ and some of his colleagues.  After dinner Ivan set off some amazing fireworks (you must watch the attached video of 1 of 4 boxes) in the restaurant parking lot, he was trying to top what he had done for Monique in 2009 which he didn’t feel were very good.  Well, he certainly impressed us.

Sabrina has been staying with the Mao’s in their small apartment since we arrived a week ago.  Ivan went out and bought a lovely bunk bed set for his daughter Mary and Sabrina to share but for the past few nights Sabrina has also had to share a bed with one of their cousins.  She is certainly getting an upfront and personal view of the Chinese family “togetherness”.  Ivan has been working tirelessly on Sabrina’s residency permit which has involved hours at the police station, bribes and ensuring that she has $100/day for 30 days in a Bank of China account.

After a trip to Nantong University (1 hours away) we have decided this is the best place for Sabrina to study Chinese.  She will live in residence there during the week and return to Rugao on the weekends.  So, we are excited for her new adventure but we will miss her greatly this year.  For us it is on to Shanghai for a few days before returning to Canada.  Hope to see you all soon!

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