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Published: October 2nd 2011
Jacob and Lynn with needlepoint done by her Grandmother for them
We awake to the constant rain that has been part of our Chongqing experience. The gray skies have been conducive to having tea with Jacob, poking around his neighborhood, and exploring the stairs and back ways around the area. Chongqing sits on the banks of the Yangtze at the confluence of a major trib, the Jialing River. Jacob and Lynn's place is in the old town between the rivers. This is one of the few cities in China where bicycles were never used because it is so steep. Instead, old staircases wind up and down, connecting back alleys. Tea shops, street food, and markets are everywhere. We see the bamboo baskets on carrying poles that vendors carry up and down the streets full of live fish, vegetables,and sometimes babies.
Two days ago Jacob took Karen and me to a place for a 90 minute foot massage. The first choice was what we wanted for a foot soak: banana and milk (a smoothie for your feet), mineral salts, pure vinegar, or ginger water. After we chose the last one, he set us up with hand signals to use with our masseurs for "harder" or "softer". Then we settled into our room
together with wide easy chairs that reclined to any level and put our our red silk PJs (sorry no photos of this one!). We were offered several kinds of tea, coffee, noodles, and watermelon. The massage was wonderful and turned out to be an intense full body massage with about 30 minutes on the feet. They knew what they were doing and we never had to use the signal for "harder" and managed to get through the rest. Afterwards we got to lay around in our lounge chairs for as long as we wanted, sipping tea and eating melon. When we tried to ask our young and very shy masseurs what the Chinese word for watermelon was, they brought us another big plate full of slices.
Yesterday evening Jacob and Kit went to the wedding rehearsal, which Jacob didn't even know was going to happen until the day before. Lynn and her dad are insistent that Jacob start the ceremony with a solo song on the guitar to call her in. He has been losing his voice talking to much to all of us and is not very excited about that part, but I am sure he will manage.
He'll be playing the 1980 post-revolutionary guitar which is not in good tune and has butterfly stickers on it, so that will add a bit of levity.
The wedding begins at 6:18, chosen because both 8 and 6 are very lucky numbers. At noon Jacob and the two groomsmen have to go to Lynn's parents' apartment where she will be with the bridesmaids. They will bribe their way in by slipping red envelopes under the door. When the girls are satisfied with the envelopes' contents (cash?), they will let the boys in. They will have lunch together, do makeup and dress there. Meanwhile, the four of us will be checking into the hotel where the wedding will be held earlier today and will meet the party there.
So imagine going to a wedding where you will only be able to talk to a handful of people besides the bride and groom. Imagine wearing clothing chosen by your son who is known for wearing shorts and old t-shirts. Imagine trying to find the correct red envelopes to hand over at the correct time and trying to figure out what to put in the envelopes. Imagine learning a few toasts in Chinese and hoping you can say them without offending anyone. Imagine a room full of 200 Chinese people who will probably all want to toast us and take their picture with us. And imagine two loving families from different continents and cultures joined by their children. That's where will be be today. More later.
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