Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ancestors and "Swimmy Things"

Here is yet another update from our Traveling Blogger -

Some updates. Yesterday we took Emma to get her hair cut at the same
salon. She won everyone over and was doing really well until the
hairdresser got out the hairdryer. She was already tired at that
point, so I ended up sitting in the chair, holding Emma in my lap,
singing songs to keep her calm and holding her head straight. As soon
as we put her in the stroller and gave her a bottle she fell asleep.
She looks quite sharp now.

After that we did a little shopping for me. I don't know if I
mentioned it, but Meng implied that it would be cold so I packed
primarily sweaters. It's been over 70 since I've been here, so I've
been wearing a variation of the same two outfits. But yesterday we
picked up two new tops for me. I also bought a purse.

The big event of the day was the trek up to visit Meng's grandfather's
(YeYe) grave. Actually, "graveyard" is an inaccurate word. It was more
like a grave-staircase. Its a concrete structure built on the side of
a hill. With each tier comes a set of steps going up the side of the
hill. YeYe was at the second to last tier so I got my exercise. We all
had red ribbons tied to our belt loops (even Emma had a red ribbon
tied to her diaper) to ward off the negative energy of the graveyard.
We forgot to bring an offering, but my father-in-law said a few words
and Meng introduced me as his wife and Emma said "HI!" We cleaned up
the site, and a few others that belonged to other passed family
members and made the trek home. Oh, and when I mean trek, I mean trek.
The graves have recently been moved, because the city wants to develop
the former site and no one will live near a gravesite here. If they
were to build around it, no one would buy the property after it was
developed. So the site was quite off the road, and the path up there
has not been properly built yet. So we had to walk up a dirt drive to
a vague path through broken rocks, until we finally reached the site.
Apparently, on holidays, the path is littered with people selling food
and flowers to use as offerings.

Today Meng and I got up early and met his uncle to go to "Polar
World." Think Seaworld on a small scale. They had balooga whales and
penguins and Emma thoroughly enjoyed herself. My favorite was the
sealion and seal show. This uncle is the same uncle whose opulent
apartment we are occupying. He and his wife need grandkids.
Desperately need grandkids. And they are willing to do pretty much
anything for Emma at the moment. Emma wasn't sure about Uncle for the
first couple of days but he has gradually bought her affection by
bringing her a new present every day. Yesterday it was candy, today he
took her into the gift shop. They meticulously went through the
stuffed animal selection, until Emma found the large, stuffed
balooga... so now we have a stuffed balooga which we've named Bologna.
(Am I spelling balooga right? It's not showing up in the
auto-correct.) We need to leave soon before Uncle buys her a herd of

After "Polar World," we went next door to "Ocean World," which is
basically a big aquarium. We visited the sharks and several different
kinds of interesting fish and so many different kinds of jelly-fish!
And they had one of those glass tunnels that goes underneath a tank
with a moving sidewalk. So we saw turtles and shellfish and all kinds
of swimmy things.

We stopped for a break in a little food court where we got lamb kabobs
and squid kabobs (rather, THEY got the squid) and fish-meatballs.

THEN we went to "Coral World," which was small, but since we had the
ticket we took the tour. It was a 10 minute trip.

We met Meng's dad and grandma for "barbeque" afterward. We started with two cold dishes of a salad-ey nature. The cucumber, onion peanut dish was nice, and I liked the dressing on the salad greens, but I wasn't a huge fan of the preserved egg. Then there were string-mushrooms, chicken wings, lamb, tofu-wrapped-spinach, toast, and more lamb, each on it's own little skewer. When we were about half-way done, they brought more lamb, and a huge trey of clams.

This trip has really made me think about what I eat and made me try
new things, and at the end of the meal when we were trying to get
everything eaten, I was happily appointed the eater of the clams. I'm
pleased to announce that clams are also for dinner, which I am not at
all hungry for.

Well, dinner is almost ready and I should go. We've comandered a high
chair for Emma. All is well, really really well, except that I have a
sore throat. Don't know why yet.

1 comment:

  1. It is interesting that you wrote about ancestor worship because Jocelyn at speakingofchina just did in her latest post. We Chinese here in Malaysia also practise the custom and we too go to our ancestor's grave on 清明节 (qing ming jie) or Ch'ng Ming Festival to pray and clean the grave. When you mentioned preserved eggs were you referring to what we here call century eggs? Century eggs are actually very delicious if eaten with thin pickled onions slices and light soya sauce. But I guess it's an acquired taste to like century eggs.