Sunday, June 29, 2008

Robina's Shanghai loot

Robina was in Shanghai for a few days of shopping. Sally can be seen here mopping on the carpet by the front door waiting for Robina. Sally spends most of the time like this when Robina is away.
Due to popular demand (actually only from Peck Wai), here's Robina's loot all spread out. She tailored 3 qi pao (cheongsam) in Shanghai. The materials, workmanship and service is much better than in Beijing. plus more dresses, 3 Paul Frank (monkey face) T-shirts, assorted shoes, bags, belts, umbrellas, and 3 dry fit UniGlo T-shirts for me!
3 qi pao, (from left) RMB1500 (about SGD300) in kimono material, RMB600 (embroidered material) and RMB 400 (short qi pao top).
Kimono material qipao in traditional Shanghainese style with high collar and buttons down the side.
Close up of collar. you can see the fine workmanship from the trimming with 3 colours/materials and the buttons.
here's to show the Khotan carpet we bought from Kashgar, Xinjiang. we put it right in front of our bed.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Gotheborg tea in Guangzhou

My sister, Robina and I were strolling around our relatives' place in Huadu District outside Guangzhou. I was looking for coffee while Robina was trying to get away from feeling bored. My sister was looking to buy some tea and we checked out several tea shops in the neighbourhood. Cantonese people must drink a lot of tea since there were literally one teashop around every corner.we were trying out pu-er tea in a teashop when I spotted a special edition Gotheborg pu-er tea bricks. apart from Chinese porcelain, tea was the major cargo for Gotheborg to bring back to Sweden. the ship returned to Guangzhou to great fanfare in 2006.
there was a Gotheborg tea brick and round tea "biscuits" which was compressed pu-er tea in a round disk shape. One tea biscuit was signed by Captain Peter Kaarling and another signed by the Swedish Consul. the chinese words on the commemorative brown carrier bag says: Gotheborg return to China; Yunnan Pu-er heads to Europe!
the lady manning the shop was very proud of the Gotheborg tea. She told us that her boss from the Yunnan tea company only managed to get those two signed tea biscuits, even the special edition tea bricks were all that were left. we were told that the 3 year old pu-er tea bricks tasted very good and mellow when brewed. we bought several bricks just for fun; one to drink ourselves and to give away to Siva who was on Gotheborg.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

home town visit

Robina and I flew down to Guangzhou last night to join my parents and sister who came over from Singapore to visit our relatives there. we landed amidst a torrential downpour (which reminded us of Singapore instead of dusty Beijing) and the humidity reinforced the similarities. we were told by our relatives that it has been pouring since last week. the sub-tropical flora with lush vegetation was also a refreshing relief from dry and grey Beijing.
Our relatives are still staying in our ancestral home Huadu District (former Hua County), from which my grandparents came from. what used to be farmland and villages during my grandparents' time is now a spanking new township (actually nicer than Beijing or Singapore!) right next to a spanking new Guangzhou International Airport. the surrounding area is part of the Global Factory of China of mostly industrial parks.our relatives: our grandaunt, 3 aunts and cousins. plus two uncles not in picture. our relatives came from my grandfather side of the family. they are my granduncle's (grandfather's younger brother) family. The relationships seems quite complicated when everything is subsumed under "uncles" and "aunties", but the chinese terminology is actually more precise. as relatives go, they are very warm and nice people and kept us very well-fed (stuffed to the gills actually) and showed us around our home town of Huadu.
traditional Southern Chinese architecture
our most illustrious (or infamous) hometown personality Hong Xiuquan (aka God's Chinese Son). He started the Taiping Rebellion which captured half of China including Nanjing and killed an estimated of 20-30 million between 1850-1864

Alvin's spiel

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