This is an imported post from my travel blog for my China trip in 2006.

Yesterday I had dinner with Dad and Mum Wang since the sisters both were invited out to different friends around town. We chit-chatted about this and that – me in broken Chinese, they in very slow putonghua (though Mum can’t really speak without using elements from her dialect). Dad told me that when he was a child, in Caoxian (he grew up her), he used to heard goats and there had been nothing to eat – not until Mao Zedong came and got the country in shape did they get something to eat, they told me that Mao Zedong was the greatest and that there weren’t even anyone to fill the second place.
Dad has also quite clearly marked his position on the Taiwan issue… He once told me that if I wanted to work in China, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong were all good places to go, and when (hard to translate to English, but this is in chinese a specification of a time just as certain as “yesterday” or “next month”) China and Taiwan reunions I’ll also be able to go work there (of course another interesting perspective – for me it’s quite easy to go there, but no regular Chinese citizens are permitted to visit Taiwan).

I’ve hopefully started a new routine, yesterday as well – to go bicycling with Dad. Since it was the day off and I was a bit bored (actually, I didn’t know I had the day off until Lily at about 4 pm came in and told me) he asked me if I’d like to go bicycling with him. He is certainly a very fit 60 year old man, having been in the army for 16 years he now keeps his body in shape by early morning bicycle rides. If someone knows the good bicycling trails here it certainly is Dad!

Anyway, we went on a tour around the outskirts of the city where massive factories (mostly foreign owned) produce amongst other things clothing. Apparently, so Dad told me, many of the workers are japanese and korean and many of the
factories are foreign owned. Dad knows so many people around town, you can clearly see that he was somewhat of a big-shot before (working as a government official), he knows the laobans (managers) of many of the factories and I can see many people respect him (including the police!).

This afternoon we went out again, this time he showed me a place or school where they did caligraphy, we also went and looked at one of Caoxian’s finest indusries, the milk plant… we looka-looka at a lot of cows and he told me that this Shandong milk was exported as far as Shanghai! Then we went on to a lake and indeed we saw some proper nature sights (before I came here Jianglei or Rosie told me that Caoxian had a lot of nature sights!), the lake was actually quite pretty with only a few plastic bottles… We had some watermelon and relaxed in the breeze and the rustling of leaves while watching different kind of birds feeding on the fish (he told me the name of the birds in Chinese but I can’t remember it now), on our way home I also spotted a type of bird I remember drawing in fifth grade which I drew because I had read that it was very rare in Sweden. Strange the things you remember…

Previously I’ve told Mom that I wanted her to teach me some chinese cooking, so earlier today me and Mom made dumplings, or baozi. She showed me the technique for making them pretty but mine weren’t quite as nice as hers – more practice is needed I believe! We made the boiled variant called, . Though Dad said he didn’t quite like them since there wasn’t any meat in them – he often says “Why don’t you eat meat? If you don’t eat meat you won’t grow strong!” – he told me that when I get home and make baozi for my parents I should put pork or beef in them!

That’s it for now… in Caoxian not much is happening, I’m mostly going around town with the sisters or reading at their place. I still, though, have no control over my schedule :).

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