Hong Kong / Zhuhai Airport

Sixteen years of coming to China and I still get this language thing screwed up. When you are talking to someone in English, make sure they say the information. If you ask a question, no matter how good their English may seem , the answer is often likely to be “Yes”. They often answer this way because agreement tends  to end the conversation. I had no trouble going to Hong Kong by train, but my return trip was nightmareish via Zhuhai Airport, which my Cheapo Air website told me was near Shenzhen. When I bought my Octopus Ticket upon entry to Hong Kong, the guy behind the desk said that I could go to Zhuhai using the Octopus ticket. So I asked him if it was by train or bus, and he said either one, but train would probably be better. “Do I come back here and then go to Zhuhai from here?” . . . “Yes.” He suggested another 50 HKD on the Octopus card to make sure I had enough on  there to cover the trip.

What a load of crap. One look at the map would have told me the nonsense I just swallowed. I was so confident that the guy was honest, that I didn’t independently confirm. Needless to say, if you are using the Zhuhai Airport for Hong Kong, it is wise to carefully check your itinerary in advance. By the way, after missing my flight, I got a new ticket the next night at no charge. Hooray for Air China.

ZhuHaiOne look at the map would have showed me that Zhuhai is not an easy access from Hong Kong. So we live and learn.

Riding the Bus

Riding the bus in Guiyang gives a real view of the city, up close and personal, and sometimes a little gritty. There are so many situations that arise, unlike the taxi. A taxi ride to home from downtown can cost between 30 and 50 RMB, which works out to between $4 and $7. The bus ride is about 2 RMB and often involves a two kilometer walk late at night to complete the trip.

So a couple days ago I got on the bus at the “Big West Gate” bus station and I was greeted by a clean and well dressed young lady that had a full smile.  It was the most friendly smile I’ve ever experienced when getting on the bus. So I stood near her and she reached out and grabbed my coat sleeve and gestured that I should give her 1 RMB. I said, “You recognize me don’t you?” She smiled more. I told her that I remembered her too. Her smile got bigger. I remembered the girl from a couple months ago (at Big West Gate Bus Station) when I saw her trying to wipe her hand on a bus sign. Then she had  gone and sat on the curb, a little bit dirty on that rainy night.

I am not a soft touch for beggars in Guiyang. Most of the beggars seem to look healthy or are even faking their affliction. This relatively young and pretty girl was alone two months ago and wasn’t trying to beg. I had a small package of tissues and I put a 10 RMB note with it and gave it to her so she could wipe her hand. She took the 10 RMB note and one tissue from the package and gave me back the tissues.  I tried to refuse the tissues but she insisted on giving the package back to me. So when I got on the bus that day I didn’t immediately recognize her, but when I realized she couldn’t talk, it all connected up. I remembered her.

She left me alone for a little while and then she tried to communicate again. She was holding my sleeve and pulling. I figured out that she was trying to sell me her seat for 1 RMB.  So I finally said OK and gave her 1 RMB.  Some of the older folks on the bus gestured to me that there was something wrong with her head. I just nodded slightly and went back to trying to get the girl to let go of my sleeve.  She was standing and trying to get me to sit in her seat. I told her that I was getting down at the next bus stop because I needed number 69 bus. She let go. Some of the others on the bus offered their advice on which bus to take and so on. I got off at the next stop and said good by to the young girl. It was a very friendly and warm experience. It was nice to know that the little girl was sufficiently functional that she could move around the city and do OK.

I’ve been very involved in the local bus service in Traverse City since the beginning in 1985. I am one of the several people who can rightfully claim paternity of the BATA bus service there. It is a service that handles a lot of special needs clients, but is having a difficult time mainstreaming the general public to incorporate  buses as part of their lifestyles. I like riding buses in both Guiyang and Traverse City. The interaction with the others on the bus makes life a bit richer. Let the bus driver fight the traffic. On the bus I can play with my cell phone as much as I want, guilt free.

Root Art at Shirley’s

Wu Xiao Yon and Jack

Artist Wu Xiao Yon and Jack.

The Shirley Gallery had the opening of a new exhibit, Root Art, on January 12. These are the sculptures of Wu Xiao Yon. They are created from the art of mother nature (and the hand of Artist Wu), that is buried in the dirt, usually unseen. Artist Wu took maximum advantage of nature’s art in his sculptures. Whatever you do, don’t throw that old stump away . . .

Jack is intrigued by the head with the ear ring.

The eagle head in the lower right is part of an eagle sculpture that pictures really don’t do justice. It must be seen in person to be appreciated.

Visit link:Shirley Gallery

Shirley Gallery

72 Jian Dao Jie
Guiyang, Guizhou
(0851)86676222/86911000

 

Miao Walking in the Clouds – Adventure Sports

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Rebecca

Rebecca and San Ge in  traditional “Dong” minority attire.

When I first met the lovely Ms. Lui, Rebecca, from Hong Kong, the first idea I had was something like amazement. Almost all of my students have wanted to go overseas, or at least to Beijing or a coastal Chinese city. Why would a well educated Hong Kong born woman want to come to Guizhou? I’m not very subtle and that was my first question. She wasn’t hesitant. She said that she had had several opportunities to marry, but was never really interested in marriage until she met Li Ming Song (SanGe).

It was on a trip to Hong Kong, that SanGe met Rebecca. She had never met anyone like him, who embraced the danger of extreme sports. Rebecca had been involved in sports in college and she was immediately attracted.

Rebecca’s Hong Kong family didn’t understand her ideas either, but they were supportive and all came to the wedding in Guizhou. It was a traditional Miao wedding. SanGe is a “Miao” minority by birth.

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SanGe

Miao people have an ancient culture and are scattered around Southern China, Vietnam (Mong), and Laos. They speak their own language. It is a culture that embraces living within nature, respecting the environment. Many Miao never bother to learn Mandarin Chinese.

SanGe has always been curious about the world and the nature around him since he was a young boy. His Miao minority father could even communicate with the birds. SanGe served in the army as an artist soldier almost 30 years ago. After that he did lots of work related to music and art.

Tandem paragliding in Nepal.

SanGe had seen a hang glider on TV when he was young and wanted to fly. He later learned to fly gliders and learned paragliding. Now he has become a professional sports guide and instructor. He works with all kinds of groups from all over the world. His company which was co-founded with Rebecca, is called The Hump Exploration Ltd. [TheHumpExploration] and is registered in Hong Kong and Guizhou. It offers outdoor adventure sports like tandem paragliding, caving, as well as rock and cliff climbing. SanGe even leaves the mountains of Guizhou to take his guests scuba diving when there is a demand.

Tourists like to come to Guizhou because of the beautiful mountains, caves, and rivers. Some of them get into trouble. SanGe is one that often gets the call when emergency services people can’t, or don’t want to handle a dangerous emergency.  In their spare time, Rebecca and SanGe like to work on charitable projects such as bringing young people from Hong Kong to Guizhou for cultural exchanges.

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The Liu Pan Shui Mountain Church.

Last year, while climbing with a group in Liu Pan Shui, SanGe heard music. It was so familiar, a sound from a dream that he’d had many times. The singers were singing in his native Miao language and he followed the sound. On top of one of the many mountain peaks he saw the little church. He said that he almost cried. They were singing Christmas carols in his native language. It was Christmas Day, 2016. He felt like he was walking in a dream. Of all the excitement in his life, this was one of his most memorable moments.

Youku: Mountaintop Holy Songs

Ray Scoops CNN

This article recently appeared on CNN. It talks about he cooperation between the US and China during WWII. There is a certain Guizhou Road that took a lot of American traffic, resupplying the Chinese in the fight against Japanese aggression.

Lost Road from China’s Wartime History

This is a great article that shows the cooperation between the USA and China during WWII.  Ray Mahoney, writing for www.tourguizhou.net reported something similar back in August of 2013:

The Lost Road

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Coffee — 好咖啡还是茶?

When I first lived in Guiyang in 2003 I had a terrible time finding coffee, and I really need coffee. Even instant coffee was rare. Yet, there were massive tea shops, with several rooms filled with tea. I was so frustrated that I used to walk into the the tea shops alone to look around. Shop owners would immediately start showing me the most expensive teas in the store, thinking that they had a rich foreigner and no Chinese interlocutor. Then I would speak one of the ten or so sentences that I knew, “You meiyou kafei?” (Do you have any coffee?). When they answered in the negative I just said bye bye and would walk out.

Finding good coffee has been a challenge, but every year things get better. I recently found Bekaduo Coffee and just love this fresh roast. I have a cool Italian Expresso pot and the fresh, locally roasted coffee is noticeably better than anything I’ve had in China over the last 14 years.

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The coffee pot is put on an electric hot plate. At boiling temperature water in the bottom chamber is forced up through the middle chamber that holds the coffee. Coffee is collected in the top chamber. It is very fast and convenient. Ideal coffee brews at below the boiling temperature, and there is a lot to learn.

It is hoped that in the future we can do some kind of event to find out more about how to make the best coffee.

Zheng Bo

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Zheng Bo has some beautiful art in his magazine (City Archive) and when I met him he invited me to his CITY. I call it CITY because that is what is on the wall of his place. After going through it, I couldn’t really decide it as an office, or a publishing house, an art gallery, studio, or jewelry store. I just call it Mr. Zheng’s CITY.

As an amateur photographer I like to nose around, taking pictures of everything. As Mr. Zheng chatted with my friend, he said it was OK for me to move around and take some pictures. His CITY has a lot of beautiful art, and Miao jewelry. The best description of me, when I’m after  a story, might be like a dog. A dog will sniff around everything, looking for any kind of scents that are a little different. The CITY provided me with a lot of very interesting photos. I imagine every piece of art has a story behind it. I don’t recall any blank walls or empty desks. Every wall has art, every desk has something pretty, or interesting.

20161126_165628I was fully engrossed in something when I heard the click of a camera. I noticed Mr. Zheng was there, taking pictures of me. So what, I was taking pictures of his stuff. He just smiled and gave a wave. I nodded as if to say, “Take all the pictures you want, fair is fair.” As a foreigner, I am often asked to pose for pictures. Foreigners are a bit rare in Guizhou, maybe like pandas. I forgot about Mr. Zheng and his beautiful camera.

As I was satisfying my curiosity about his CITY, I noticed Mr. Zheng’s technique. As I move a bit like a dog, nosing around, Mr. Zheng moves like a cat, perhaps like a cat stalking a bird, or a lion stalking a zebra. 20161126_170406

He is quiet, inconspicuous, and always on balance. He holds the camera stable, and has a solid base. As he squeezes off a photo, he moves the camera slightly for the next shot, making sure that the light, framing, and focus are just right. He doesn’t take just one photo, but at least two or three from a position. He didn’t ask me to pose. He prefers a natural photo, with the subject unaware of the camera. That is why he learned to move so quietly, almost invisible to his subject. I forgot he was taking my pictures, but at the same time, I studied his technique. Just as I am an amateur photographer, he is a pro.

When I came to China I would often ask students what their parents did for a living. Almost always they would describe a parent as either a worker, or a boss. It is like there are only two jobs in China, worker or boss. In the West, we often make the judgment about a person based on what they do. 20161126_165610A journalist tells a story and a reporter reports the facts. A college professor is an intellectual and a teacher, and a student is just learning, An artist is creative, and a publisher brings together all the pieces of storytelling, from recruiting talent to keeping finances in order. A photographer can be like a reporter, or a story teller. 20161126_164944-copySo I had a little trouble putting Mr. Zheng into a category: publisher, teacher, artist, journalist, businessman, or perhaps salesman. He is definitely a worker. He is all of the above. Perhaps a new category, Crossover Master, could describe Mr. Zheng. He has worn so many hats. Describing those activities is beyond the scope of this blog post. I hope to revisit this fellow.

As we were leaving I asked if I could have another interview, because I really didn’t seem to understand enough. He said OK and gave me his name card . . . College Professor Zheng. He said he didn’t have much time in Guiyang because he was busy with his job in Taijiang County. He is Secretary General there.

VISIT CITY ARCHIVE ON WECHAT
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Gallery Party was a Great Success

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Yin Guang Zhong and Jack

Thanks to everybody who came to the Gallery Party Tuesday, the 27th. We raised over 3,000 RMB for the benefit of the Shirley Gallery. There were 20 door prizes good food and lots of beer and wine. Beer and wine was provided courtesy of The Run Ran Wine Company of Jin Yang, Guizhou Lai Yong Chu White Wine Company, and the Monkey King Brewery. Beka Coffee Business Concern donated the coffee and cakes.

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Left to Right: Jian Ren Yi, his wife, Shirley, Yin Guang Zhong, An Yi Rong, Liu Hai Bin

Special Guest Artists Yin Guang Zhong, An Yu Rong, Jian Ren Yi, Liu Hai Bin, Gao An Xun  shared their feelings about changes in the art world in Guizhou. Yin Shi Long had his art on display in the gallery and joined in the talk. Food was great, donated by the Yuting Xuan Restaurant of 72 Jian Dao Jie. A fine time was had by all.

 

Invitation to our Holiday Party

A message from the Administrator (Jack) of this web site:

The www.tourguizhou.com website is cooperating with Shirley Gallery to create a Holiday Party on behalf of local artists. The cost is 100 RMB per person . This covers all the food, drinks, door prizes, and entertainment. The event is December 27 (Tuesday evening),  6:00 PM to 9:00 PM. The location is on the river at Jian Daojie 72.   All proceeds from ticket sales are dedicated to paying the bills of the Gallery, and thereby support the art community of Guiyang. Many artists are permitted to display their work for free, and patrons are permitted to tour the gallery free of charge. The Gallery (second floor) and Restaurant (on the first floor) will be closed to the public on the 27th. This is a private party and is intended to support the artist community of Guizhou.

We will have grape wine, beer, soft drinks, coffee, and tea to drink. Here are some examples of the food to expect:

We are providing a Wechat link so you can buy your tickets online through Wechat. This is new for us, so we need your patience. You will have to scan the Wechat link. This is Diana’s account, so if you are not Diana’s Friend, then you must first become a Friend, then we can compete the transaction.531440729684275769  After you are a Friend, you enter your Name, Phone Number,  and how many tickets, with names of guests. Diana will respond with the amount needed, and then you send the payment. Finally she will respond with “Got”. Then you will be registered.

If anybody has trouble buying tickets online, please send an email to me at tourguizhou@gmail.com, or just call me at 13158092660 . I will find a way to get your payment. We need all tickets sold in advance so we can cover the cost of the event. Please respond by this Friday.

This is going to be the best event of the year for our new little website. There are links below to show something about the Gallery. If you miss this event, you are really going to regret it !  :)

The Shirley Private Gallery

Art of Yin Shilong

Many Faces of Yin Shilong

 

(If you have already responded and have already bought your ticket, don’t worry, you are already registered.)