Chinese Girl In Longzhou Comes To Visit Grandpa
My first visit to Longzhou, which is near the Vietnamese border, was in 1990 traveling for five and a half hours by service bus from Nanning. The seats on the bus were certainly not built to accommodate the western physique, and any spare space was piled with luggage of one sort or another.
At the time, Longzhou was not an "open town" so immediately on arrival, Zhong had to take my passport to the local police station and I was given leave to stay for three days, but I was not to visit any other families. Apparently I was the first westerner to visit the town for more than ten years, so it is understandable that my presence attracted some interest, particularly from the younger Chinese girls and boys, who would gather at the open door of the family home, to take a closer look at the strange foreigner. I got to know quite a few of them by sight, if not by name. The young Chinese girl with the ice lolly was a frequent visitor, and I used to practise my few words of Cantonese with her.
Chinese Boy In Longzhou Fetches His Gang
For the Chinese boys and girls who were not attending school, education was not free, the streets of the town were their playground. They behaved in the same way as children in the western world; playing out their games of fantasy, having gang fights, gathering to laugh and giggle with each other, and generally make a lot of noise. One young Chinese boy saw me with a camera in my hands and made it quite clear to me that he wanted his photograph taken. I think that when the flash fired directly at him, he had the biggest surprise of his life ! He rushed off to tell his friends what had happened, then a few minutes later the Chinese boy with his gang were at the door, all wanting their photos taken.
Chinese Girl Dresses Up For First Photograph
Whenever I am traveling in China I have never been able to get into the habit of writing notes or keeping a log of my travels and tend to use the camera as my easy note book. On the last evening of my visit after our dinner I was taking quite a number of photographs of Zhong's family, neighbors and friends, when a young Chinese girl asked Zhong if I would take a photograph of her. When I said I would, she rushed back to her home to put on a party dress. When the Chinese girl returned, she stood with her back to the open door with a very serious expression on her face, for such a special event in her young life. It might even have been her first photograph.
Ai Ai Waves To "Grandpa"
One of the happiest memories of my second visit to the town in 1993, was finding that the older Chinese girls and boys I had met on my first visit, still remembered me.
There had been many improvements in the town during the years,
with new houses being built, and I stayed at Zhong's sister's house which, like many other houses in the town, had a first floor balcony. One evening, Zhong brought his young niece on a visit and the photograph of her, being held by Zhong, was taken from the balcony. She was only a few months old on my first visit, but in 1993 she enjoyed listening to my English nursery rhymes, and called me "grandpa" !