Sunday, August 15, 2010

The things that parents say!

Those things that parents tell their children! My parents always laughed about the time when I was three years old and swallowed a cherry pit as I was eating the cherry. My dad told me a cherry tree would grow out of my stomach. They tell me I got hysterical and didn't believe him when my dad told me he'd lied.

I remembered this incident this week after reading about a man who swallowed a pea. It went down the wrong way and ended up in his lung where it promptly sprouted. I wouldn't have believed that except the article showed his lung x-ray with the pea shoots growing.

I got to thinking of other things my parents told me, like whenever we'd go to the Oregon coast and I started digging in the sand. My dad would tell me if I dug deep enough I'd reach China. But no matter how deep I dug the hole, I never reached China. Could have had something to do with a 5-year-old's arms only being so long.

And then I went to live in China. On an outing to Beidahe, a summer resort on the Bohai Sea, I started digging in the sand, wondering if I dug deep enough I'd reach the United States. Nope. My arms were still too short. (And, no, I wasn't talented enough to build this sand structure.)

Beidahe was an interesting town, with people crammed on the beaches and in the water. There were a couple of interesting markets in town . About all I remember was that it was raining so hard, you quickly became soaked. I bought a colorful umbrella which I still use to this day. I also remember the day trip we took to Shanhaiguan which is where the Great Wall meets the ocean. I'd been there a few months earlier, in February, and it seemed like I had the Wall to myself. Not so this time, when thousands of people were packed into the guard tower that extended into the sea.

We hope to get back to Beijing next month, with plans to make a quick trip to Shanhaiguan. I'm not sure, however, if I'm looking forward to seeing how this sleepy little city has changed in the last 15 years.

If you're planning a trip to China, please see my website for ideas. Also, please feel free to email me if you have any questions about travel in China, especially Beijing. And do check out my China guides that are available for sale.

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