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Thursday, July 28, 2005


[posted on behalf of Alan by David, a.k.a. "ge ge"]

I arrived in China today. I took a boat from Hong Kong and arrived in ShunDe at about 3:30. ShunDe is about an hour from GuangZhou, and to get here we passed along a river poulated by fishermen and children swimming. It was lined by trees and nice looking houses and factories. It seems that ShunDe is made up mostly of factories, and it turns out that I am actually staying at one. It is owned by the parents of a former student. They make Santa Clause dolls and Nutcracker dolls and little plastic football helmets. The women who work here come from Hunan and Sichuan and a number of other provinces. It reached 37 degrees today and I can not fathom working in this heat.

It is a bit strange being here, in a factory, after hearing and reading so much about them. There is a dormitory on the grounds for the women to live in and at five a bell rang across the large open area and the women came out of their different buildings and checked out by the gate at the entrance to the factory. My student's mother said that there is also a bell at 7:00 and that the women will be outside exercising at 7:15, which if I can wake up I will be ready to photograph.

It has been a bit of a wake up call coming to China today. On the way from the port, we stopped for gas, only to find out that they were out. They have been for the last few days. Four other gas stations were out as well. On top of that, the electricity was off in the factory (apparently this is the case Monday through Wednesday, and the factory has installed two generators to help the situation).

At around sunset we headed out for a very tasty dinner (which included the roots of the lilies mixed with carrots and celery - very delicious). On the way, a bright orange sun set over wide dusty roads busy with bikers and motorbikes and cars sharing narrow lanes and turning at unexpected times in unexpected directions. On my left were more small factories, as well as small outdoor restaurants and pool tables that had been set out on the sidewalks. On the right, rice fields and plants and trees heavy in the heat and the light.

After dinner we walked around the main area of town a bit. We bought some fruit and drank tea. The tea shop was a bit special. The waitress looked at each of out tongues to prescribe the ideal tea (for colds, lungs, liver, kidney, etc). Mine was for those with colds or who have not had enough sleep (this part is true, anyway). While it felt good in my stomach after it was down, the bitter taste did nothing to make me want to recommend it to others.

I will be in ShunDe for a few days, I think. I am looking forward to taking some pics of the factory workers, and maybe around town and in the countryside as well. It seems I may then fly to ChengDe before going to Jiuzhaigou with the family. From there I will split off, most likely heading west (the east coast is just too hot).

I will keep you posted.


Anonymous Mom said...

The waitress checked out your tongue! Is this a standard custom? She did seem to be right on the mark! Be careful taking pictures.....

7:07 AM  
Anonymous leslie said...

Glad to hear you've made it to China ok. We'll be in China as well in just over a week. I guess I won't be able to check your site while I'm in China because it'll be blocked. Take care!

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, what you have seen was just a tiny part of Shunde. Shunde got one third of people from other provinces who bring along their culture, language and tranditions. Come and I can show you the real Shunde..

11:41 AM  

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