Geese in the Trunk

It's not often when you have two live geese squawking in the back of the trunk. But that was the case yesterday, along with two live hens stuffed in a box.

The main two reasons why we're in Taishan (台山) is to pay respects to my great grandparents and to see where my parents and grandparents used to live. Taishan is a smaller city about an hour-and-a-half from Guangzhou (广州). Both cities are in Southern China with semi-tropical weather with humid heat and lots of sun. If you didn't know, humidity almost always guarantees mosquitos and other nasty critters.

Yesterday's escapade included traveling to a Eastbound city an hour-and-a-half away from Taishan. My aunt's friend's relatives lived in the town and they wanted to drop off some red envelopes and other goods. The town they lived in was small, crumbling and situated on a dusty dirt road. The family lived in a small, gray-brick cottage with acres of farm land for rice. Two dogs, ridden with fleas, barked alongside them.

After lots of greetings and good wishes, the family came to the car with two live geese in a bag and three hens stuffed in a box. Unfortunately, pictures are on my mom's camera. I'll upload them as soon as possible.

Although geese are pretty cute, they smell horrible, squawk constantly and almost flew out of the bag. Sitting in the back was in no way fun, especially on an hour-and-a-half long trip. The geese squawked so loud and flapped their wings constantly. My mom, aunt and I ducked for cover on several occasions.

Re-enactment of the car trip back to Taishan:
Everyone: Silence.
Goose: "SQUAWK!!!" *Violently flaps wings.
Me, Aunt, Mom: "AH!" *Screamed, ducked & covered head with hands.

Sad to say, the geese are no more as of lunchtime today.

As a smaller town, there isn't much to do in Taishan. Although it's far more developed than it used to be, it's an older town known for its rich history. Many Chinese immigrants living in the U.S. are from the Taishan region. Many people here speak Cantonese (广东话), but most speak a local dialect called Taishan (台山话). It's more "country" sounding with more vocal speech patterns.

For example, the Mandarin (普通话) phrase for "Do you know?" is "你知道吗?" Romanized, it sounds like "Ni zhi dao ma?" In Cantonese, it's pronounced "Nay/lay jee mjee dou ah?" In Toisan (or Taishan), it's shortened to "ei m-ei tu ah?"

Anyway, we're staying in a hotel called the Taishan Phoenix Hotel (台山凤凰酒店). It's beautiful and reminiscent of the Venetian in Las Vegas with a slightly exotic feel.

The hotel also owns housing on its property. They sell for $3-600,000 a piece. They come packaged with a minimum of 3 rooms, 1 living room and 1 garage. The biggest features 6 rooms, 2 living rooms and a 2-car garage with ample yard space.

View of our hotel pool from my balcony.

Second view of the pool from our balcony.

It's a little boring in Taishan since my mom and her relatives are just seeing their old classmates. Not as much shopping as some of the bigger cities we've been to so far on this trip (e.g. Shanghai, Guangzhou).

I'll update with more pictures as soon as I get the Olympus from my mom.


Visual Update

Because it's almost 3 a.m. and I'm too tired to write about everything.

Here are a couple of pictures from Hangzhou (杭州) and Shanghai (上海).

Will update tomorrow when I get back to the hotel.