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Published: April 5th 2013
Lottie Let Loose in China!
They let me in despite the fruit debacle! Yay!
We meet the next morning to have breakfast at the same place we had dinner the night before only this time the restaurant is full of old people. This is a daily occurance for these seniors who enjoy 'jung chau' or 'morning tea' every day sometimes for hours. They come to chat with their friends over breakfast and enjoy some free time from their family duties which usually involve cooking for their families and picking up their one grandchild from school. Normally three generations will live together in the same appartment with one room for the grandparents, one for the parents and one for the children.
We have a selection of dishes brought to the table for breakfast, very similar to the previous evening's meal. The only things I can eat are egg shaped sweet dough 'dumplings' and cabbage lol. I see a theme arising with the cabbage!
Our next useful phrase is the very well known 'nee hau' or 'how are you/good day'. We also learn an interesting story about the phrase you use to say you need to go to the toilet 'jay sow'. Basically it means 'untie my hand'. And the story goes that many years
Dennis explaining the strange film
Dennis explained the ins and outs of the strange film playing on the on board dvd. He'd had the same film playing when he brought his last group to Hong Kong a few days previously!
ago people were forced to migrate to the Sizuan province for work labour needs and were tied together by rope in a long line hand-to-hand. So if one person needed to go to the toilet they would have to say 'jay sow' or 'untie my hand' and the phrase has stuck.
While we are eating brekkie Dennis tells us about the Chinese army and how all Chinese have to do two years conscription with the army after which some volunteer to continue. Many poor villagers tend to use the army as a way to improve their lives with paid employment and job security. The one important deciding factor as to whether you get into the army is if you have a tattoo. If you do have a tattoo you don't get in! Apparently tattoos are associated with membership of the Chinese version of the mafia, so obviously the Chinese government don't want these types disrupting things in the army. So not many westerners would stand a chance getting in the Chinese army, so popular are tattoos these days!
After breakfast we head off in taxis to get the ferry to mainland China. At the customs departure
Handing over the shit cake
The handsome chef takes the dumped pretty girl to hand over her cake with a present of shit in it! Nice!
point we have to show our passports and hand over our departure forms. We then board a small, but very fast, ferry for our two hour journey to mainland China. We have assigned seats inside and there is no going up on deck for photo taking which is a shame as there are some great views of the huge sky scrapers. So instead we watch a DVD which we kind of pick up the gist of with Dennis filling in the blanks. The story basically goes - pretty girl gets dumped by ugly boyfriend, good looking chef helps teach her how to bake a cake to which she adds shit (yes really!) and then they give it to her ex!! There is also a strange scene where they go to visit a famous haunted elevator that has been cursed for some reason so that supposedly only one person at a time can ride it - otherwise you die! There are warning stickers all over it. The pretty girl rides up to the first floor while the handsome chef runs up the stairs to meet her and they switch and so it goes on and on up the building until eventually
Shit cake recipient
He's not really that ugly, just not the archetypal good looking lead.
the obvious happens - she pulls him into the one person cursed elevator and they kiss, expecting to plunge to their death. Of course they don't, but unfortunately we didn't get to see how the film ended as the boat was coming in to dock. Ah well never mind, I'm sure they all lived happily ever after. While we wait for the ship to dock I play peek-a-boo with a very cute little Japanese boy in the seat in front of me. His mum was kind enough to let me take photos of him. What a cutie.
So we disembark and yet again I find myself stopped at the customs gate to have my bags searched. They are very polite, asking me if they can see inside and I have to open my bags and cases and camera cases etc. Maybe I look like the type to smuggle stuff or something! They did it to me at Schipol airport too. They ask me here if I have any fruit with me and yes I have these strange little mini mango type fruits - Dennis had forgotten to tell us we couldn't take fruit across the border. Same as when
Views of Hong Kong from the ferry
Taking the Ferry from Hong Kong to mainland China. How exciting - nearly there.
we were crossing back and forth from Chile to Argentina and back again. I receive a written admonishment for my transgression and said fruit are confiscated. From the information leaflet they gave me it appears that I AM allowed to take a labrador dog wearing glasses! But only if I've had him approved by 'competent authorities'. Quite what authorities are deemed competent to provide prescriptions for dog spectacles it doesn't explain! Looking through the rest of the list of prohibited items it seems from number 5 that I am not allowed to take cubilose except CANNED cubilose - still none the wiser! Oh and I also can't take soil across the border - shame - I could have taken a bag in my trousers and shaken my leg to release my hidden contraband, prisoner of war escapee style. I'm not sure if it would be worth the risk as I've no idea how much the 50,000 RMB fine is worth in real money.
So finally I am allowed through and Lottie is finally Let Loose in China!! Yeah!
We board a little local taxi/bus to get us to the underground train that will get us to the sleeper
Safety info video
We were treated to a wonderful safety video on the ferry from Hong Kong to mainland China. Ferry buoyancy aids always look so very rubbish to me, like they will never work or even stay on! Same with those ones on aircraft. All those fiddly straps - who is going to be able to sort those out in an emergency when everyone is panicking?
train which will eventually get us to Yangshuo.
Aside: The capital of Canton province has a strange 5 goat motive everywhere due to some ancient story whereby the goats came bringing food to save the people in time of famine.
Aside: The rule I'd heard about regarding rural workers and city workers not being allowed to migrate ended in 1979 and now they can get a release from the local police allowing the family to move, as long as both district's officials agree to it.
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