Pedestrian Avenue


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March 8th 2008
Published: March 8th 2008
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Spring has sprung in Wuhan. Over the last few days, flowers have appeared in mass numbers in many places. It is not a natural slow growth, it is a "back up the truck and unload hundreds of potted plants" and then proceed to arrange wherever they will look good. Over night, a large tiered flower display appeared in the entrance of our complex gateway and we noticed many tulips suddenly on display in an area of Wuhan we passed by on the bus today. The climate is warming up and is supposed to hit 26 degrees by Wednesday which is spring temperature around here!

We went into the main part of Han Kou today and walked along Pedestrian Avenue, which is a very long "pedestrians only" wide street. It was fun browsing through the many shops. Along the way, we were continually approached by street vendors trying to sell us stuff, mostly watches and shoes for some strange reason. I started wondering what the heck was wrong with the shoes I had on that everyone was trying to sell me another pair. Anyway, we have all learned how to say "don't want" and they all scamper with the wind to the next person walking along. Our favorite shop today was a chopsticks store where they sold chopsticks ranging in price from a hundred kwai up to 1000. We couldn't resist buying one fancy set that came in a box along with six little chopstick rests. Some of them were gold plated but beyond our price range!

The scenery on the way in would be beautiful along the lake if you could see it. However, the air pollution is usually so bad that it is difficult to see any distance. It comes and goes with the wind but we all chat about the little effect all the North American recycling and air control is probably doing once you see what it is like here! Some days it is quite clear but other days you can hardly see to the end of the street. It doesn't really bother us that much but it is definitely a huge problem that will need to be addressed at some point in the country.

We discovered that International Women's Day (today for those of you that didn't know!) is a big deal here unlike most places in Canada. Stores offer discounts and it is also supposed to be a lucky day to get married. Of course, this year is double lucky since it is also March 8, two lucky numbers. And many stores offer discounts to celebrate the event. Tonight Nancy is heading out with "the girls" for a ladies' night out to a fancy joint for dinner followed by slipping into comfy clothes and watching Dirty Dancing as a group at one of the apartments. Our three week whirlwind is catching up with me as I nurse a wicked cold. On the Princeton front, we are glad to hear we sold our car so now have nothing left except the bike which we will keep for our summer travels when we return.

From the chopsticks box,

"The masses regard food as their heaven, which chopsticks will taste first."

At the very beginning, our forefathers called chopsticks "Zhu" sounding the same as "stop". However, the boat dwellers in the South were afraid their boats would stop and avoided it as a taboo; therefore, they named the chopsticks "Kuai"...sounding like "quick". So come the chopsticks, "Kuaizi" in Chinese. Chopsticks are regarded as a mascot in Chinese culture. The Chinese use the chopsticks with square tops and round ends, implicating the traditional Chinese view of the universe that the heaven is round and the earth is square. In the customs of weddings, chopsticks are used to express good wishes to the new couple that they will soon have a lovely baby. On traditional Chinese festivals, eight pairs of chopsticks wish good luck in business, and ten pairs implicate family reunion and being perfect in every way. Therefore, chopsticks, in Chinese culture , are not only a piece of tableware, but the blessings and hopes on a happy life.

Until the next time...





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