Mi dear Friends & Fambly:
I am so happy to report that we arrived quite safely -We actually reach a Big-BIG farrin’, “Tenk yu Massa God”. The flight was quite uneventful, and Maas.”Herbie”s foot did not swell too much
Met a delightful “Bredda” at the airport in Beijing, (who just happened to be sitting directly behind me for 15 hours on the plane – talk about missed opportunity) He turned out to be a young Jamaican Promoter of Reggae on his way to set up a Cultural event in Beijing “H’m-m” So we exchanged cards and we will be in touch. (I may just have some use for my costume after all .)
We were met at the Airport, with a bus, for the 2 ½ hour -long drive from Beijing to the School. It was hair-raising, and I don’t know why, because when you are Jamaican, having survived “Junction Road”, “Devil’s Race Course” and “Cockpit Country” in Jamaica- everything else should be ‘cool breeze’ but when it’s night an’ yu cyan see good, an’ no know where yu going and de bus jus’ a fling yu from side to side ‘roun de corner dem – you haffi feel a little concerned; but I guess that was just me, as nobody else seemed to mind.(I MISS HOME ALREADY)
The accomodations are very nice with a well-appointed: Kitchen, ( tenk you Lawd ) . So now we know the first priority “cooking appliances.” I even have a washing machine, a “ walk-in closet – straight out of your “Home Mag” and a King-sized bed, with a rock-firm “good fe yu back” mattress. (I guess it’s not so bad, as I don’t have a back ache; but I am working on procuring one of those fancy mattress pads) Thank God for small mercies. ()
Food -so far, not what I remembered (but I am learning – this is not South China): Taken to KFC for, of all things, breakfast! – orange juice, served piping hot! and what looked like an egg Mc Muffin. (I was really looking forward to the “usual” congee and steam “char su baow” that you can even get in Miami.(“This is not S. China”) Lunch was at a Dim Sum Palace,(now de appetite perking up) where one could observe the cooks in masks , making the “dumplings”. We dined on an excellent fish, and a variety of Dim Sum,( while all the time me mouth jus’ a drool fe a good plate a sweet an’sour pork, wid fried rice.(I miss home already)
This was followed by a Shopping expedition, with a kind and very helpful staff member who navigated us through the nightmarish traffic (unnu remember “mad ants?”) –traffic coming, traffic going, traffic turning (whether the light on the “red” or the “green”). Horns blaring, cutting corners into oncoming traffic, making “illegal” U-turns, double parking on the side walk, pedestrians and bicycles ‘scattering in every direction, – me jus’ shut mi eye, cross mi finger dem, an’ say mi prayers, while me hol’ mi breath. When we reach the Shopping Center, me jump outa de car, steady off meself , because me two knees were really trembling –(really hilarious)But we are Jamaican and we not supposed to ‘fraid fe no traffic.(You ever drive in Jamaica? Our people can pass driving test anywhere. ) The shopping was conducted mainly in sign language, amid curious stares. And we wound up with the most expensive electric iron (You know that Maas Herbie was responsible for that. Why do men feel that ‘more expensive’ is better? We can’t carry electricals back home with us, and as long as it does the job and heats up-who cares!) the MUST HAVE rice cooker, “Jamaica look alike” crackers, cheese, marmalade, croissants, mint scented Johnson’s baby powder (had a choice of “Calming Lavender), among others etc. Looks like our food will be limited to whatever can be done in a rice cooker and a wok. –“No Problem” –meyou woontie” (Your first Mandarin/Chinese words (no charge for the lesson)
Did I say “I miss home already”? Especially when I don’t have all my teas, jams, brown sugar, cornmeal porridge, packages of soups, vitamins, reading material etc that managed to be left out in the final confusion of transferring from one bag to another. I am still rationing out the 4 slices of bun and cheese that my daughter packed, and 1 slice of Miss Pearline corn meal pudding and 1/4 of a potato pudding made by my friend Arlene; but I really miss my Teas, bun and hardough bread. I also discovered, that I couldn’t pay wid me Credit card nobody (seemed impressed by my American Express card) So it was off to the Bank of China (Fortunately next door) to buy RMB 6.2 to $1.00 – and we will see how far that goes.
I may just be home for the winter, as that’s where all my winter paraphernalia still resides-gloves, boots,coat, long underwear etc. I was far more prepared, when I went to Colorado . But then, I wanted to go to Colorado – BIG difference.
Teck care mi dears and “Walk Good”
Anancy Gyal (inna Farrin)
P.S. I tried to buy cassette tapes, so I could record stuff – totally obsolete, so you now know what to put in the first “care” package, along with cornmeal porridge, bun and teas. (when I have the mailing address)