blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Friday, August 19, 2011

"Do you happy? Yes, I do."

Here's a transcription of the email I sent on

June 11th, Saturday

On the bus this morning a very young Chinese child with his grandparents, who had spotted us at the bus station, tried out his English (“Good-morning-how-are-you?”) and sang to us on the bus:
There was a farmer had a dog, and Bingo was his name-oh.
B. I. N. G. O., Bingo was his name-oh.
I recognised this, though Chris didn't.

Barge on the canal
I was taking Chris on the B2 line to see the Grand Canal. As I'd predicted, he loved doing this and would happily have stood at Wulinmen Dock all day watching the barges negotiate the bend and the bridges. He liked the glass walled bridge too with its engraved maps of the other famous canals of the world: in England (Bude Canal, Manchester Ship Canal ...), Wales (Abergavenny and Brecknock), Finland, Germany (the Kiel canal, the Rhine and Danube), Egypt, Erie, New York State, but not the Rideau. We then wandered up and down the canal banks with many stops to watch the boats and the men and women who lived on them. Some barges were heavy with cargo and very low in the water, lower than the plimsoll line should allow them to be, we thought. Empty ones were bouncing along with high bows and washing hanging in the cabins at the back. A woman was scooping dirty water out of the canal, not for the cooking, we hoped.

The Brecknock and Abergavenny Canal ... in Hangzhou!
Low in the water
Finally tearing ourselves away from this scene we walked down Huangshan Lu North and Huangshan Lu West past the ancient warehouse of a clothes market not unlike the old market at Newport in Wales, but on a much bigger scale. Then we followed a subsidiary canal up to the lake where we sat on a bench with our umbrellas up (the rain starting to fall again) to watch the people, like watching a play. Chris wants one of those T-shirts with English words on, especially the one that says: Do you happy? Yes, I do.

At the lakeside kiosks you can pay for a photo of yourself wearing satiny dressing-up clothes and twirling a parasol. Men sit outside them calling out for customers and sample photos decorate the outside walls of these huts which also sell coconuts, windmills (in the shape of flowers and butterflies), ice cream, popcorn, bird whistles, plastic frogs that make a croaking noise and blow bubbles for children to play with, pot noodles, fans and scarves. Then on to the bus for a rattly ride back here so that Chris could do some more work on his priority inversion techniques.

He took a break this evening to take me down to the hotel bar where I ordered a Cosmopolitan Martini cocktail which came decorated with lemon peel on the rim of the glass, twisted into a bow. The pretty girls in their slinky long black and golden outfits followed a recipe to prepare it (shaken, not stirred). As we sat on a velvet settee to have our drinks, nibbling our salted walnuts and cashews rolled in herbs, we watched the coloured lights change and the lifts slide up and down the lift shaft as he told me how priority inversion had affected the Mars Rover project because of a flaw in the programming. It seems he's pretty excited about his work here.

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