Back to Day 1    Back to Index       Day 3



Friday, July 26, 2002, CST

Day 2, Departure from Hong Kong, Jiujiang and the Hall Village


We spent a few hours this morning walking around, and had a pizza for brunch. It had rained overnight, and I cruised down Argyle street, which is like Nathan road, full of stores. I found a little alley, that was all pet stores, veterinary hospitals and groomers. They were selling golden retrievers and chows, but mostly little poodles and toy breeds.


We checked out of the hotel at 11:30am, and headed to Ocean Terminal to board our ferry to Guang Dong (Jiujiang), in Namhai province. We had to go through another entrance agent, similar to the airport, and the experience was the same. After a hilarious ride up and down the elevator to nowhere, we boarded our ferry, the Gao Ming, of the Chu Kong Speedboat line, to He Shan. This is an Australian built catamaran, which cruised at 40 Mph (Turns out we are not taking a hovercraft.). The ticket was HK$180, for economy class airline style seats, but we upgraded and moved to the VIP room, which had couches and better air conditioning.  As we passed under the Tsing Ma bridge, it started to rain, and we were glad this ferry did not have any outside seating.


After a few hours, and 80 miles, we arrived in He Shan, where Grandpa’s manager from the lab, Douglas, met us with a bus. We boarded the bus and made a short drive to Jiujiang, where we stopped at a conference center to meet our hosts. We made small talk, and received some marketing materials on the city, when it was discovered that one of the government officials was a Hall, from the Hall village. He suggested that we go to the village right away, so on to the bus we went and off to the village.


We entered a toll plaza, and took a 4 lane road for about 20 minutes, past fields, factories, and fish farms. It was rather dark, from the rain clouds, and raining steadily, but not too heavy, the entire drive. After a while, we turned down a small one lane road, into a cluster of small brick buildings. There were only a few inches for our small bus to clear, and pedestrians had to make way for us, as we passed through the narrow streets. Eventually, we ended up at the village temple, where a group of men were gathered outside the entrance.  One of them was the village head, and he was carrying the genealogy book. A quick lookup, found the family line, and with this, he was able to start the tour. We wound down some narrow alleys, and between buildings, until we came upon a doorway to the house where Dai Bok (Uncle John) was born. No one lived in the house any longer, and it was closed up. Later, we encountered the man who last lived there, and he offered to open it up to see, but we declined (Grandpa was hungry and wanted to get to dinner). Down some more alleys to show us the lotus ponds, and some newer houses that were recent additions to the village. While on the way to another temple, we found out there were 600 people living in this village, all named Hall. After this experience, Michael decided “we weren’t in Kansas anymore” and I finally got him to concede that things were no longer the same as home.  We spent a little over an hour in the village, and as we wound our way back out again, we passed by small one room shops where they were cleaning fish, slaughtering chickens, and a variety of other small businesses.


By this time, it was close to 7PM, so after the village tour, it was back to Jiujiang for a VIP dinner. It was a rather elegant restaurant, in a 2 story building, where we were served baby pigs, mule, chai sui, and some less easily identified items.  The staff was very friendly, and the mayor of Jiujiang came by to make an appearance.  It was a typical, long Chinese banquet, where the courses kept coming, but the kids did not seem to ever get bored, as Barnaby practiced his Chinese with our hosts, and the others watched a Chinese version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” on TV. I passed the time talking computers, and websites, as I found out one of our hosts had ADSL at work, and his own website, so we exchanged URLs. We didn’t get out of there until after 9:30pm, and it was a bit of a drive (maybe 15 miles) to our hotel at the Xi Qiao Mountain Resort, where Grandpa’s grandfather (our kid’s great, great grandfather) is buried. The hotel is like Highlands Inn, in Carmel, with separate buildings scattered over a hillside, and the poor bellhop had to lug our heavy bags up several flights of steps.


The rooms were nice, and reminded us of Yosemite lodge. I was surprised to find the French Grand Prix playing on TV, but Lorraine does not allow car races while she is in the room, so while I attempted to get connected to the internet, she settled in with Catherine Deneuve in dubbed Chinese. I had another challenge to get connected to the internet, but Douglas knew how to purchase an internet access card, and I was on.



Back to Day 1    Back to Index       Day 3