March 25, 2011

Elijah, wife and me in China April 2007

Ok, my son's 7th birthday is on 30 March and I can't be with him. I MISSSSSS HIM SOOOOO MUCH! So I've been going through his pictures stored in my hard drive and I came across these pictures of us taken when we're vacationing in China in 2007. Kinda forgotten about it, might as well share it here than let them go forgotten.

L to R : Father in-law, Father in-law's paternal uncle, his Paternal Uncle's wife, Mother in-law and my wife

We visited my father in-law's Paternal Uncle in Xiamen. His house is made of stone blocks and the roof is flat! If I'm not mistaken, they use stone slabs as their roofing material. The house is located in their ancestral village and houses are built very near to each other and everyone is related to each other albeit distant.

Notice the flat roof? The Chinese characters on both side of the door frames are the family motto.  I asked them what it says but my wife couldn't translate in English what her cousin explained! *facepalm*
My father in-law brought us to see another house about 5 minutes away but I didn't bring my camera along. Boy, do I regret it. Nonchalantly, he told us that the wooden and somewhat dilapidated house we were looking at was where he was born. My wife's cousin(from her dad's paternal uncle) uses it as storage space these days. We went inside and I asked my wife's cousin how old the house is, he said it was probably more than a 100 years old!! I saw a portrait of a man in those ancient court official garment and I asked the cousin who he was, he told me that it was their ancestor but beyond that, he didn't know anything about his background! What a pity!

My son was 3 years old when this was taken. Waiting for dinner to be served.  They wear shoes inside their home, so we obliged. Odd thing was, their floor was not all that dirty?
Had our dinner. Father in-law chit chatting with his cousin and Elijah was feeling restless.
We went to some temple which has part of it's structure carved from a mountain. Inside were statues of deities but my father in-law warned me from taking any pictures! Pfft...

That's my wife (in purple Tee) and a family friend making their way towards the temple
Do you see the structure with a green roof and air-con compressor? That's where they carved the mountain. 
The entrance where they keep the statues of all the deities
Nobody told him to do this gesture. He did it on his own. I thought he was just aping somebody there and I was mildly amused.

Inside the man made cave, I got separated from my family and then I heard my mother in-law laughing in delight and I went and checked what was going on. When I saw my son doing this, my jaws dropped to the ground!!! "What the hell?! Baby! You're a catholic! darling!", that was what I was thinking at that moment LOL. I refrained from admonishing him because he was just a 3 year old kid, what did he know about religion and it was a peaceful religion too! We need all the peace! So all I could do was just snap a picture of him and show it to him when he is all grown up.

Outside the cave, my son continued with his praying. The lady in red is my mother in-law and the guy next to her was our tour guide. Notice the people with their arms crossed on the far left? They were local Chinese, even they found my son's antic amusing.

I took this picture while my father in-law wasn't looking :P. This was the deity that my son was praying to in earlier picture.

View of the city from my hotel room. Xiamen has many buildings just like any other cities but surprisingly not too many people.

An old part of the city. Not much traffic.

The city is very clean. This is an old alley, a very clean old alley.

I've forgotten where this was but we were not in Xiamen anymore. We traveled to 4 cities while in China. If I have to hazard a guess, I think we were in Shantou. We visited an old fort built by some Chinese general to fend off Japanese pirates in the old days.

The sign reads,

It's 4.1 metre wide and 292 metre long. Made from granite, glutinous rice, brown sugar and lime, the 4.9 metre thick outer wall is very strong.
Incredible right!? It's more than a 100 year and still standing strong.

Strolling in the city under the noon sun and I didn't even sweat a bead! We went at the right time of the year. Not too cold and not hot.

This is a very big ancient residential compound. The owner was some court official or governor. Now his descendants occupy it. It was like a small village! One of his descendants conduct guided tour to the place.

I imagined that I was in one of Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon's scene. The official did not live in one big house where the kitchen, bedrooms and living room housed in one building. Instead, he had a building specifically for receiving and entertaining guests, another building for where he and his wife slept, the servants lived in separate quarters, his children would have had separate sleeping quaters ect.

This is the entrance to the building where the official receive his guests.

Picture taken from an angle where the official would have been seated while waiting for his guests to walk through the entrance.

An antique vessel. Do you call that a vessel? Where's my son?

Can you imagine that the timber of the walls, doors and pillars are the original ones!?

Our guide (in brown coloured attire) pointing out the intricacy of the carvings on the granite. My wife looked bored.

Close up of the carvings.

I have no idea what it read..

See that arch thingy on the roof? That's a status symbol. Only officials or people of importance were allowed to have it on top of their roof in ancient China.

One of many narrow alleys in the compound that servants would have used as their routes out of sight.

Group photo at the end of the tour.

Why is my son cupping his hands together? Earlier, I gave him a gentle rap on his palm for behaving badly and he said I'd damaged his hand LOL. So he went around the hotel lobby holding his hands like that to show everyone what a bad daddy I was. I love you too darling.

Other places that we went while in China. Unfortunately, I've forgotten where they were.

I've got plenty more photos but I'm tired of reminiscing :P. Sorry folks, that's it for today!
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