Saturday, May 2, 2009

Packing and picnics

Last weekend went to see the Shaolin Monks. The full details of which can be read about in my hub about the trip in I should have been packing, but now suddenly I want to see some of China before I go! June 24th when I leave, is edging ever closer.

This week has flown past so quickly, it is frightening. Everyday I've been staring at my empty boxes thinking that I really have to start packing. Then the shipping company contacted me with the timeline for my move. The collect my passport and expert card on Monday 5th May, and then my actual shipment gets collected on Sunday 10th May. Luckily, it's a Sunday so I don't have to take time off school to organise the pick up of my stuff. This motivated me to think more seriously about my packing. It didn't quite motivate me enough to be galvanised into action to actually do any packing though!

Thursday was Tony's graduation assembly at school. My baby boy has grown up, and when I look at my tall strapping boy with the tufts of pubic hair growing on his chin and cheeks, then I feel that I have done something right. I feel that he'll be able to go out and conquer. He starts his final IB exams on Monday, so please hold thumbs that all goes well. He has been actively studying for the last couple of weeks, so I hope something has penetrated into his brain.

Yesterday, I was supposed to meet Kerri for a picnic in Pearl Park. The day turned into a very bad China day which was good for me, as I came home so angry and upset, that I was motivated to pack like mad, discarding things for my garage sale I've decided to have next Saturday. So, when that is over and my shipment has gone, I'll be living like a squatter in this big empty house. Hopefully, that'll make the time go faster.

So what happened at the picnic you might ask? We were supposed to meet at 11am at the Park. I bought a huge bag of rolls and lots of meat and homemade sausages, which Siobhan and I lugged around. I was really excited, I was going to meet al whole bunch of Kerri's friends and her boyfriend who I've never seen yet. When we arrived I phoned Kerri but she was still somewhere on her way stuck in the traffic. She assured me that she'd contact a friend who was already at the park to collect me from the gate. An SMS promptly arrived with the friend's number I had to call. I duly phoned he friend who told me, "Walk until you hear loud foreigner voices. I am with the foreigners," as if this was some kind of achievement. Siobhan and I bought tickets to the park which were quite costly, and the bimbo phoned again saying that she couldn't see us yet. I patiently explained that we were just buying our tickets. She then said, "I know, but I can't see you yet." I again explained that we were still buying our tickets. She then responded with her stock line, "Walk until you hear loud foreigner voices. I am with the foreigners."

Unfortunately, there were three paths leading away from the gate. We didn't know which one would lead us to the 'loud foreigner voices.' I tried to call, but she obviously couldn't hear above the racket of the 'loud foreigner' voices. So, Siobhan and I decided to take the path the majority of the 1st of May public holiday crowds were taking. As we were walking along the path, slowly wilting in the strong sunlight, a woman danced in front of us with her camera poised ready for action. She walked backwards as her obscenely gross hoiky husband walked next to me put his arm around me and squeezed my breast, while she clicked away like a mad woman on her cheap Chinese-made digital camera. I couldn't fend him off as my hands were full with the humungous bag of rolls and other stuff I was carrying. Another woman sidled up to Siobhan who was walking next to me and tried to put her arm around Siobhan for the photo. Siobhan cursed and managed to brush the woman away.

We walked and walked and saw crowds of people, people having picnics, but no sign of the 'loud foreigner voices' anywhere in the park. Having finished our bottles of water we bought at the gate, and feel tired and dehydrated, we sat down on a bench and decided to wait for Kerri to arrive and find us as we were obviously lost. Siobhan mentioned a bad smell that was getting worse and we looked next to the bench to discover flies buzzing around a fresh human baby turd, no doubt left there by one of the slpit-pants brigade. We hastily moved away to another bench. A golf cart loaded with locals drove by and they all pointed at us and jeered and laughed. People walked past and pointed to my huge bag of rolls and laughed and pretended to throw up and get sick. Charming. The bimbo sent a text message this time. "Where are you?" I replied that we were sitting on a bench waiting for Kerri. She sent another text, "Come for a beer with us first and then you wait." Now, I could feel the veins in my neck starting to pulse with blood as I became more angry. An hour and a half had now gone past since we had arrived. Firstly, I don't drink beer. Secondly, how the hell do I join yu for a beer if I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHERE YOU ARE! Which is what I said in my text. No response. I called Kerri, she said she couldn't talk as her phone was going flat because she had forgotten to charge it, and she was still stuck in traffic.

Siobhan and I wandered around for a while longer and then decided to go home. We were tired of people laughing at us and mocking us. It was thoroughly unpleasant. As we were walking out the gate, the bimbo calls after not answering her phone the last couple of times I tried to call her. "I can't see you, didn't you see the big white bridge?" For God's sake, what big white bridge? this was the first time she ever mentioned a bridge and no, not once on our wanderings did we ever see a white bridge. maybe we weren't even in the right park, although the ticket said Pearl Park.

We called our driver to fetch us, and as he arrived, Kerri phoned me from a friend's phone. "Where are you? I got here 15 minutes ago." Gee, only an hour and three quarters late.
"Sorry," I reply with anger dripping off my tongue, "We're leaving."
"Oh but you can't everybody is here and wants to meet you!"
I can feel myself start to choke back tears of anger and frustration. "I'm tired and just want to go home now. We walked for miles and never found your frigging friend's wonderful directions of 'loud foreigner noises.' I'm going home, the driver is here."
"You can't go, just find a Chinese person to talk in the phone and we'll find out where you are. Maybe there's another gate to the park and you're at a different gate."
I look around in desperation and see only hoiky spitty types. finally, I spot a woman that looks decent with her two kids next to her. I approach her carrying my huge bag of rolls and meat. "Hello, excuse me, " I say politely as I try and pass her my phone.
If looks could kill I would have been dead on the spot. She pulls a face that would turn any good wine into vinegar straight away, said, "Ha!" and backs away and refuses to take the phone.
By now I can feel the sobs are nearly escaping and I momentarily lose control. "I'm going home now, this wasted exercise has cost me RMB260 ($40) I can not afford at this time with all my expenses. I am very upset. Bye!" and I end the conversation as I start to sob.
All in all, a great China experience. I have not heard from Kerri, so I guess she's mad at me for not attending her picnic, meeting her boyfriend and making a fool of her in front of her friends by getting lost.

But, what the picnic did do, was motivate me to come home and pack like a woman possessed. Oh my God, I've accomplished so much and have become quite vicious in what I'm discarding. I'm determined to no longer be sentimental and hand onto stuff I don't need. Oh well, had better get more packing done and cook dinner while I still have the things to cook with!
Have a great next week!


Anonymous said...

I REALLY feel for you! I have lost count of the number of times I have been left wailing huge sobs of frustration due to 'China moments'... Some of the best were in China Merchants Bank and at Shenzhen airport (where I had to walk outside twice to scream!)

I'm amazed you didn't drop the rolls and punch the sleaze that groped you smack bang in the face!!!

I do love China... But I also forget why at times!

Emma Harradine said...

Sorry, that last comment was me, by the way! Emma x

bobbatess said...

sending you a virtual hug.
Wish it could be given in person

Cindy Vine said...

Hey Emma and Tess, thanks for commenting! I'm taking a break from my packing to watch Amazing Race! They are busy having their China moments in Beijing now!
How are your grandkids, Tess? Haven't seen pics of them on Facebook for ages!