AlbertaTime in China, China visit #3, Post #5 - Shijiazhuang

AlbertaTime in China, China visit #3, Post #5 - Shijiazhuang

Postby AlbertaTime » July 20th 2014, 2:35am

Please bear with me because this post contains no watch content at all, and yet every bit of it would never have happened without the hobby/passion/addiction that holds all of us. My goal for these posts is to take folks along with me, and I mention often that the most valuable part of this whole journey I'm taking with Chinese horology is the people I meet at the places I choose to go.

This post is about that, in Shijiazhaung...

I had a very busy itinerary set out for this China trip, and I only had a few days to spend in Shijiazhuang with my brother MaRong and his wife QiRan. Short time as it was, however, it was the only non-negotiable stop on my trip. Every other destination could change, and a couple did (story later in this post)...but not this one.

Simply put, seeing MaRong is #1 for me on these trips; he's family now, every bit as much as any blood relative I have, and I know it goes both ways. And I'm proud of it and wouldn't have it any other way.

MaRong and his wife were phoning me as soon as I got to the Shijiazhuang airport :-). I'd left Yantai only a couple or three hours ago, and now it was about 7PM and I was tired but thrilled to be in Shijiazhuang.

We met that night and had some food and babbled for a good while, but I was so caught up in the moment I didn't even think about photos. We made arrangements for me to be picked up the next morning, and I crashed. MaRong had arranged an outing so we could get out of the city, to a place with some water and some country-side quietude. I had the faint beginnings of what I expected was a mild cold (that I'd suspected was coming after that tired, noisy, sweaty night arriving on the hard sleeper to Yantai) but I felt good.

We headed to a huge man-made lake, to a beach area very near a very small village and so what you're going to see next is straight up camping photos, related to watches only because MaRong is the very first seller I ever found in China and because interests in watches is the common ground where MaRong and I met each other :-)

I haven't had a chance to get to many very small places in China yet, but I've visited a few. I can't think of anywhere in my own county that looks or feels like these places and there was a wonderful ambiance of calm in the lanes of the village. People were about on foot or on scooters or in cars, but it was quiet.

The temperature was about 31° and Shijiazhuang big city's air-conditioners had been working big-time for quite awhile. That makes for a lot of coal-generated electricity use and has a severe impact on air quality and visibility, even a couple of hours away from the city.

That'll explain the overcast/lighting of the city and out in the country around Shijiazhuang this time of year, when the other times I've posted have been from April and October in Shijiazhuang when furnace and air conditioner use is almost non-existent, and the air is in the area is beautiful and clear.

That said, it was still priceless to be away from the city, to be with MaRong again, to be headed to this little village...

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Which leads to this beach area where we set up camp and did some cooking. I found out they'd brought a tent and sleeping coverings for me to sleep in, too...I didn't realize it was going to be an overnight till we got there LOL :-)

Good times with MaRong and QiRan's very closest ...So we stuffed our faces on wonderful Chinese campout food like lamb skewers dipped in cumin (dinner and breakfast), had beers and pop and generally just got to know each other or, as far as MaRong and me, just talked family stuff. And took photos of us just hanging out till it got fully dark.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

The women were playing cards and such, the young one was playing with mom and dad, so MaRong and i decided to head about a quarter mile up towards the village because there was a few lights on up at the building you can see here. It was about 11:00PM.

Image

Image

Image

When we got close to the building, there were a few locals having tea out on the back/water-side deck, while their small laser show lit the place. They told us they'd been thinking of having some karaoke but no one had turned up to sing. There's a laser show/karaoke private local club out here in the Chinese rural areas. I wasn't expecting that.

What didn't surprise me was the immediate and warm invitation for MaRong and I to join them, so we sat and chatted, drinking tea, in the warm, but comfortably cooler, evening breeze, till well after 1:00AM. One of the guys at the table had friends in Niagara falls, Ontario :-)

Image

Image

Next morning, up and back to Shijiazhuang.

Image

By the next afternoon, I was coming down with something that felt like a massive cold, I was having trouble breathing and so I stayed in, backed up photos, and wrote notes, got caught up on communications back in Canada and such, and took a couple of short forays to a local department store for a couple of shirts. Otherwise, I slept and sweated and waited till the evenings when MaRong and QiRan and I would get together and go out. There's some fine restaurants in Shijiazhuang and the decor varies widely. A couple of examples:

Image

Image

...and the next night, my last in Shijiazhuang...

Image

Image

When we walked out of this restaurant on my last night in Shijiazhuang, we encountered this (video) in the amphitheatre in the plaza courtyard (with MaRong and QiRan ducking to help me)...

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuG2M2YPA5U[/youtube]

Some moments are just too perfect for words...

It was too short a time with MaRong, but we filled it nicely and made plans for next year to travel together a bit, so we could spend more time together. That's a great idea and I jumped at it. ( You're on, brother! :-) )

I had planned to go to Luoyang and Guangzhou and then to Guilin before Shenzhen, but the air quality in Luoyang and Guangzhou was worse than Shijiazhuang...

Image

Image

...and I figured cleaner air was a better idea since I could make that adjustment fast, so I decided on Shanghai thinking to see Joel Chan. the expected weather was gray and overcast, but the air quality numbers were awesome, so I took a China Air fight to Shanghai and stayed where I stayed last year, at the very decent Green Court Serviced Apartments. I figured if i'm gonna be sick, I might as well be comfortable.I

More to come.
Last edited by AlbertaTime on July 21st 2014, 7:54am, edited 1 time in total.
Curator: Alberta Museum of Chinese Horology in Peace River

"That stone buddha deserves all the birdshit it gets. I wave my skinny arms like a tall flower in the wind." Ikkyu
User avatar
AlbertaTime
Master of Time
 
Posts: 2727
Joined: October 13th 2010, 10:00pm
Location: Peace River, Alberta

Re: AlbertaTime in China, China visit #3, Post #5 - Shijiazh

Postby codguy » July 20th 2014, 5:42am

:Thumbsup: Way cool Ron.
.

Image
User avatar
codguy
ASSHAT
 
Posts: 4995
Joined: June 9th 2011, 10:00pm

Re: AlbertaTime in China, China visit #3, Post #5 - Shijiazh

Postby fatman » July 20th 2014, 5:48am

Ron, as always you have opened a broad window into another culture that few of us will ever experience. Thank you.
HF
User avatar
fatman
ASSHAT
 
Posts: 4377
Joined: February 7th 2011, 11:00pm

Re: AlbertaTime in China, China visit #3, Post #5 - Shijiazh

Postby AlbertaTime » July 20th 2014, 2:23pm

fatman wrote:Ron, as always you have opened a broad window into another culture that few of us will ever experience. Thank you.

codguy wrote::Thumbsup: Way cool Ron.

Thanks folks. the campout was a great way to spend the better part of two days (one overnight) relaxing , and the weather was warm enough I don't think anyone was too cold to sleep overnight. The real coolness was the way I get treated when I'm with MaRong and Qiran.

In case you missed 'em, I posted some more videos, too, from Tianjin and Yantai...

Some cool shots of movement mechanisms...

viewtopic.php?f=63&t=26764

And Yantai at night is Eye-candy City...

viewtopic.php?f=63&t=26766
Curator: Alberta Museum of Chinese Horology in Peace River

"That stone buddha deserves all the birdshit it gets. I wave my skinny arms like a tall flower in the wind." Ikkyu
User avatar
AlbertaTime
Master of Time
 
Posts: 2727
Joined: October 13th 2010, 10:00pm
Location: Peace River, Alberta

Re: AlbertaTime in China, China visit #3, Post #5 - Shijiazh

Postby conjurer » July 20th 2014, 3:05pm

Another fine installment, A-T! It kept me entralled, even with no watch content. I hope you get over your cold quickly--nothing is worse than getting sick while traveling.
Johannes! My knees are trembling from banging her so hard with my rod!

Image
User avatar
conjurer
ASSHAT & Master of Time
 
Posts: 24442
Joined: July 13th 2010, 10:00pm

Re: AlbertaTime in China, China visit #3, Post #5 - Shijiazh

Postby mosc » July 20th 2014, 3:32pm

Thanks for taking the time to make such excellent posts. I much appreciate them.
Watch collecting is a disastrous trap and I'm stuck. At least I always know what time it is.
User avatar
mosc
Senior Member & WIS
 
Posts: 774
Joined: April 3rd 2011, 10:00pm
Location: Allentown, PA

Re: AlbertaTime in China, China visit #3, Post #5 - Shijiazh

Postby kevco » July 21st 2014, 6:08am

I find it totally amazing and comforting that the language of the heart can still be spoken and shared with others no matter where you are and no matter what evil stuff might be happening all around. Thank you Ron. Hope you are feeling better.
User avatar
kevco
Master of Time
 
Posts: 1208
Joined: June 15th 2011, 10:00pm
Location: Tulsa OK

Re: AlbertaTime in China, China visit #3, Post #5 - Shijiazh

Postby Kahuna74 » July 21st 2014, 6:11am

Thank you for sharing Ron. As always I enjoy seeing and hearing about your trips to China. Beautiful country.
User avatar
Kahuna74
Senior Member & WIS
 
Posts: 4277
Joined: June 11th 2011, 10:00pm

Re: AlbertaTime in China, China visit #3, Post #5 - Shijiazh

Postby AlbertaTime » July 21st 2014, 1:07pm

I appreciate your kind words about this series more than you know.

Thanks you folks!

More to come...Shanghai! Guangzhou! Zhuhai! Shenzhen! Even *more* Beijing!!!

;-)
Curator: Alberta Museum of Chinese Horology in Peace River

"That stone buddha deserves all the birdshit it gets. I wave my skinny arms like a tall flower in the wind." Ikkyu
User avatar
AlbertaTime
Master of Time
 
Posts: 2727
Joined: October 13th 2010, 10:00pm
Location: Peace River, Alberta


Return to Alberta Time Museum and Travels

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests