Sunday, August 12, 2012

Holiday in USA

I went on a long trip for a few weeks round USA in June and had a great time visiting friends and relatives. Sometimes it was quite like being in China, other times quite different.

Our first stop was Monterey Park, Los Angeles, which is called "Little Taipei" and is one big Chinatown full of Chinese from not just Taiwan, but also Hong Kong and
mainland China.

We attended a birthday celebration for some relatives, Chinese food of course, with traditional Chinese and Western features. Banquet food is much cheaper in USA, and we stuffed ourselves almost everyday in LA, and had more lobster in one week than in several years in Beijing! Over 45 people attended, so you can see what a big family it is, since there are even more than that not in the picture who are left behind in mainland China.

Four generations under one roof and at one dinner!

Traditional Western Cake, no room for candles, since two 80yr olds and one 90 yr old! Guess which is which!

Traditional Chinese longevity peaches, not as sweet as cake but healthier perhaps

Newest family member Alex was a popular star, and he enjoys eating as much as we do.

Then we moved away from the big city to spend a few days in the country, a place called Iron Mountain....ever heard of it? People asked why were we going there, it is not on the usual tourist track, but we had good friends from Beijing who had been there 15 years. The air fare was surprisingly expensive since our destination was a small town, and you have to pay extra for meals and check in baggage. That's quite different to China!

Our friends had worked hard to realise their American dream by opening a Chinese restaurant, .....raise 2 kids, build their own house, own cars and even a boat, go fishing and golfing. If one buffet meals costs USD 7.95, you can imagine how meals they had to sell to have their present lifestyle. They took us out fishing, my first time, and I even caught some fish! The sky was so blue! I hope one day Beijing will be like that!

We had a delicious meal with steamed fish that night, Chinese style!
We had wanted to take our friends out, but there really were no restaurants doing good food in the whole town, just lots of fast food burgers and pizzas.

Next stop was New York, and it was either rainy or really hot there. 
We visited the Twin Towers site and saw the new 1 WTC rising fast. The 104 storey skyscaper is already taller than the Empire State building and will be the tallest building in the West when completed next year. I am happy to say there will be a China Centre on floors 64-69. Also it is interesting that the building is octagonal in seems like Western architects also like the number 8 which is considered lucky in China.
We Chinese like to eat well, preferably 3 cooked meals a day (and not fast food!), so we take a big interest in the local markets. This one in NYC had a huge variety of fruit and vegetables, all in such good, almost perfect condition. I hope for that price they really taste a lot better than what I usually buy in my local market.
 And cakes are something I cannot buy in my local market!

 Times Square, and again I was happy to feel at home again when I saw the adverts and pictures coming from Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency.

Something I have not seen in China is the Gay Pride parade. It was really interesting to see so many people on 5th Avenue cheering the participants on their 3 hour parade. Even a state governor, police, international groups all showed support....I don't know how many years we have to wait for such a parade to happen in China.

 The variety of dress and uniforms was amazing, almost as colourful as the Carnival in Rio.

The last stop was the Stonewall Inn where it all started in 1969. Wow, 43 years ago and the US has made much progress, but gay marriage or civil unions are still not recognised. I hope we don't have to wait so long in China!