Friday, January 23, 2009

Day three in Zhuhai - Visiting Papa's Village

We got a late start today but that was rather pleasant. Laura and I still got up rather early and had a lovely breakfast of various noodles. It was a nice way to start the day.

After eating I returned to working on this very blog, having typed the yesterday's activities before going to bed and working on the photos to complete the post this morning. Anywho, Aunt Nancy slept in as there was a phone call in the middle of the night which left her unable to get back to sleep. We had lunch together (fish, seaweed, greens, rice) and set out to visit Papa's village.

The drive to the village took a little less than an hour and it is clear that most of the people who live there have very little. Their homes are quite small and not in the best condition, there are some newer homes but they aren't anything special. When we arrived Nancy started showing us around and I was surprised by how many people were sitting around just talking or play cards but doing nothing especially productive. Apparently their needs are relatively small and they only work to make sure they're met, otherwise they relax and socialize.

Because she couldn't remember where Papa's house was Aunt Nancy talked to a group of older men, some of whom remembered Papa, and one volunteered to show us around. Meanwhile Laura and I were the subject of scrutiny of the village's children. They followed us and made a game of looking innocent when we gestured for permission to take their pictures, then running like mad (but we managed a few pictures).

While being given the tour of the home Papa once lived in, now unoccupied, Nancy was told that it still technically belongs to Papa's parents even though they are long since deceased. The old family photos were still even hanging on the walls in the house although Laura didn't get to see the ones upstairs as they had a little bit of a mishap on the rickety ascent to the second floor.

We also were taken to see the three shrines to the ancestors of the most important families of the village, Nancy's family has one and ours has another. Not surprisingly, the Yen/Yuan family shrine is where we picked up our guide and it was the most dilapidated one and the only one at which people were playing cards, but given our family that's probably an appropriate way to honor our ancestors.

The rest of the village whose families are not important enough to have their own shrine share one at the far end. It was, to me, the most interesting as it was filled with incense sticks and coils handing from the rafters. Without a doubt it is the most used shrine in the village.

In the fields surrounding the village the farmers appear to live in homes cobbled together from found materials. They were the hardest working people that we saw the whole time we were there!

Laura and I have spied a few dogs while in Zhuhai but pets were much more prevalent in the village. There were dogs all over the place but none look particularly well cared for except the puppies who have had little time to become skinny and mangy. Nevertheless, I enjoyed seeing them as I miss my dogs!

Upon completing our tour of Papa's village we went to see Sun Yat-sen's home. It has been meticulously maintained and the setting is very beautiful!

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