Saturday, September 14, 2013

In Qingdao - Day 2 - 姑婆

Mr. Jia was at the hotel by 8am to pick us up.

He works as an accountant for Mr. Guo who is good friends with Mom's good friend John who made the arrangements. Mr. Jia will drive us wherever we need to go. Mom hooked us up, yet again! You go Mom!

Mr. Jia's GPS works by writing Chinese characters directly, unlike Uncle Rex's Zhuyin-based GPS in Taiwan:

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Off we went to meet Gupoh at the foot of Laoshan Mountain (literally). She is Wygoon's first cousin and will accompany us to Pingdu because she knows the way there. Her daughter greeted us first, and Gupoh returned from her garden soon after to give us a super warm greeting.

I should also note that Gupoh and Wygoon are very close, a factor that comes into play later on.

Streets of Qingdao on the way to Laoshan:

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Gupoh is in GREAT SHAPE. At 68, she walks up and down five flights of stairs every day, eats fresh vegetables from her own garden, drinks Laoshan water that collects herself - she kept insisting that it makes her hair and skin shine - and has a mind as sharp as a tack.

She's also very pretty, and she knows it!



Today was my first foray with squat toilets on this trip - 'twas only a matter of time - and oh boy did my legs almost give out. I nearly toppled over, and it scared me. I couldn't figure out how to flush, so Gupoh stepped in and poured dark water from an orange bucket nearby.

After a brief tour of her home, we went to see her garden across the street from her complex before taking off for the village in Pingdu where Mom was born.

馬丘村 has a population of just over 700 people, and all of the families there are surnamed "Ma". Wypoh told me about this many years ago, but the idea of it still trips me out!

In the car ride up, Gupoh made us laugh so hard! She is one whacky lady.

She not only has a cell phone but also knows how to text! I requested that she text me so that I would have a message from her.

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The car ride to Pingdu was itself an experience to remember.

Little did we know what was to happen next...

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