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update from WenZhou, China.. warning, very very very long. - It's my life and anything else in between.
Soo Jin

SooJin
Date: 2005-11-06 22:17
Subject: update from WenZhou, China.. warning, very very very long.
Security: Public
my trip started on the 29th of Oct
We left from KLIA on the 9.40am flight out of KL. That meant a wake up time of 5.20 am because we had to wake up to get ready then head for the airport and then checkin 2 hours prior to flight... gah

Our party consisted of my 'ku poh', Oldest uncle (party of 3), 2nd uncle (party of 3), my family (party of 4), 5th uncle's family (party of 3), 6th uncle (party of 5). so it was actually a moderate sized tour party. We arrived in Xiamen after the 4 hour flight without incident. There we were received by our tour guide for our initial leg of the journey. He went by the name Xiao Ling. Along with our bus driver, they would guide us around until we went to Wu Yi Shan.

We left straight for Anxi straight from the off, apparently it was the first time it rained in a long time... All in all, 4 of the days that we were in China for holiday were rainy days.. it's either we are the bringers of rain or.. we're just too lucky. =)

Anyway, Anxi was the place where our ancestor began his lineage. He was the first district officer of Anxi over 1300 years ago. I am the 34th Generation of my surname who can directly trace his roots back to him. I have apparently very very wealthy, very very very distant relatives all over the world.. Most can be probably found given time and effort since at one point in time, most have made the journey back to our roots. There's a memorial dedicated to my ancestor in Anxi which overlooks the town proper and some of us donated to the building fund. Biggest donors were from Taiwan and the rest from South East Asia and elsewhere. not too clear on the details.
There's actually this really long red piece of paper were the generation head's name is stated. So their names are actually there. It would be interesting to find out if any of my friends are related to me.. *grin* i mean given the possible size of families back then, I probably have thousands of relatives all around the world and my surname is especially rare so it's not so hard to say.. hey if you have the same surname as I do or someone up the tree in your side has the same surname as I do, then we're probably relatives.. scary.. hahaha.. =)

After dinner with some local relatives who'd come to town, we then walked about the town of Anxi and retired to bed.

2nd day, 30th Oct
We left for the village early in the morning. The guide warned us that it will be a bumpy 2 and a half hour ride to the village as the road is still rocky at best... and the mountainous road was very very bumpy and narrow. It's actually a single lane with a slight leeway on the edge-side. one would have to stop to allow the on-coming vehicle to pass. whee.. =) anyway.. got close to the village and then stopped at an ancestral temple for prayers to announce to our ancestors that we the 34th Generation (this portion anyway) have come to pay our respects and visit our roots.
We took some pictures, they (village relatives) lit fireworks and then we were off to the village proper. it was another good 15 minutes into the mountains. A story says that our ancestor went off into the mountains to look for a good place to start a family and as he got to a place, he'd see that the place further in looks like a better place and kept venturing deeper and deeper. I'd think that he would have taken probably at least 2 weeks to a month to get to the village from Anxi during his time.
There's a family house there in the village which we chipped in to build. I guess you could say that it's one of the nicest ones around which actually isn't saying much given the state of the rest of the houses around. But some of my relatives call it home and it does have some modern amenities. Lunch was a simple affair with relatives from nearby villages.. I think there was some 50 people crowded in that house that day. All related by blood. I climbed the hill behind the house with some family members which was an arduous 20 minutes climb up on rocky paths. Took a picture as proof of the climb. =)
The village relatives came up to look for us to tell us to go down for dinner. We had an early dinner that day at 4pm.
Dinner consisted of some 10 dishes, some of which I'd never seen before.. I think you would classify it a feast by their standards.. I just don't know how to eat/enjoy some of the food. 2 pigs were slaughtered for the occasion. I was told some one thousand relatives dot the surrounding area so the few tens that showed up was only a small number.
We bought some Ti Kuan Yin tea from them at 1/10th the market price. Normally, tea will go through 5 hands before it reaches the market hence the mark-up. Our region is a renowned area for growing Ti Kuan Yin and we bought 80kgs of that stuff.. which comes up to quite a large mass.
Many of the 19 that came from Malaysia didn't eat too well due to the very different food and by the time we got back to the town, most of us were hungry esp those of us below 30. We went to KFC and ate I think almost RMB200 which is about RM100. 4 adults and 3 kids. Fast food is expensive in China considering their standard of living. Even to us, after conversion, it is more expensive than eating KFC in Malaysia.
We walked about town again and we bumped into my 2nd uncle. I offered to accompany him to buy supper as he was hungry as well. He told me to go buy for him after walking for a bit as he's still not too comfortable walking due to the stroke he suffered last year. I waited about 15 minutes as the 'yellow gold' was not cooked yet. It was DELICIOUS =) I had it myself earlier. anyway, I made an impression on the local populace with my height.. some of the door frames are lower than I am tall. dangerous.. =)

3rd day, 31st Oct
We left for QuanZhou the next day. Before we departed, we stopped Qin Sui Yan temple which is up the local nearby mountains. Part of the road up has been blocked off to 'encourage' the use of the alternative route which is tolled. But our bus driver managed anyway. We walked up a flight of stairs and trudged up a path.. There were some oddities such as a tree that grows an inch every 3 years and every time lightning strikes, it will shrink by 3 mm. That tree is over a thousand years old and remains only 13meters tall. Fascinating isn't it. =)
Then it was back to the bus and off to Quanzhou. We had lunch in Quanzhou and then went to the Lao Jing San park, where there's this big statue of Buddha. Took some pictures and then we left. We also visited the Thean Hou temple and Kai Fong temple and Taoism park. Our guide also took us to a Chinese Medical centre where they gave us free foot massage while doing their sales pitch. The girl who was doing the massage on my feet kept trying to convince me to buy but.. I told her that my relatives were buying already and there was a buy 12 free one promo. And these things aren't cheap.. they range from 150-250 per item.. but I still didn't buy.. =) she refused to let go of my feet until I bought something. I think she said it in jest.. =) Eventually she got tired and stopped.. hehehe. She tried to look angry but ended up laughing as well..
We had dinner which my father invited his local supplier and after dinner, some of us walked about, some went to back to the hotel.

to be continued...
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Lean, mean, fighting machine
User: mishlean
Date: 2005-11-06 16:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BFG!!! I was hoping you'd be online but I had totally forgotten that you'd be in China! Speak sooN!
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SooJin
User: dcsjin
Date: 2005-11-07 01:55 (UTC)
Subject: my bday..
oh yeah and it was my bday yesterday..
not celebrated at all.. =)

utterly low key affair.. came to wenzhou, met some suppliers, dinner with them.. lots of weird ass food.. there's this ermm... what looks like raw shrimp soaked in soy sauce maybe.. and you just pop the whole thing into your mouth and spit out the head.. *shudder*

and.. ptbhhh
phone's got roaming.. *big hint*
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Olle
User: ulwen
Date: 2005-11-07 15:37 (UTC)
Subject: Buybuy
Hmm I think you must have misunderstood, she wanted you to buy her. That's what it must have been all about.

Buy 12 free one promo sounds interesting.

Anyway, hope you are enjoying yourself!
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SooJin
User: dcsjin
Date: 2005-11-08 16:35 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Buybuy
lol... =)
i doubt that.. i wouldn't have money to buy her outright.. =P

I guess it was an enjoyable holiday..
connected with some cousins I never have had the chance to.

and i'm back
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SoonJa
User: soonja
Date: 2005-11-07 19:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
envious... and amazing you get to trace your family all the way up 34 generations... i only know mine up about 5 generations maybe, that's it... simple scholarly folk i guess. i wish i could research into that
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SooJin
User: dcsjin
Date: 2005-11-08 16:34 (UTC)
Subject: don't give up la =)
I'm sure if you spend enough time, can research cos births are usually registered.. =)
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