Monday, November 28, 2011

On a slow boat to China

That's what I feel my letters and packages to China are on!

When I lived in Beijing in the mid '90s, letters from home reached me in as little as three days. which was a heckuva lot quicker than the Postal Service could move them cross-country, to the other side of the United States. Only rarely did a letter take longer than two weeks to reach me from the Pacific Northwest. However, recipients did tell me it usually took two to three weeks for my letters from China to reach them.

I am not sure what the hold up is these days on mail to China. The post office says a letter or package sent by air will take five to 10 days. Ha! Months is more like it.

Last year it took four months for our Christmas card to reach friends in Shanghai, even though it was sent air mail, and you can fly from here to Shanghai in about 15 hours time, including layovers.  The year before we mailed a small package for Spring Festival (Chinese Lunar New Year) which is a big gift-giving holiday for the Chinese. Even though it was sent airmail, it was almost five months before they received it.

When we returned from Yellowstone in early September, I mailed -- again by air -- a souvenir of our trip, as that is one place our Chinese friends want to visit on their next trip to the USA. It's not been received yet.

Our friend is pregnant and will have her baby in June. Since I wanted to be sure she received the gift before the baby's first birthday, I mailed it last week. The post office again told me it would take five to 10 days; the clerk seemed shocked when I laughed.

We'll see.

Are you going to China?

If you're planning a trip to China, especially Beijing, check out my website and feel free to email me if you have any questions.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chinese knots date back to ancient times

I've always been a fan of Chinese knots, as their macrame is known. I have wall hangings and
 jewelry made into knots using bright red silk string and cord. What I didn't know is that this lovely folk art originated back with prehistoric man.

Archaeologists have found evidence that the early Chinese used knots as far back as 100,000 years ago. The knots weren't used to create wall hangings to decorate the cave homes. Instead, they were used to fasten clothes made from fur together, as buttons and zippers hadn't been invented back then. It was not until the Tang Dynasty that the knots started being used for decorative purposes.

You can read more about Chinese knots in this article on them that I wrote for my Chinese history section at

Our Chinese friends had wedding knots made for my husband and I when we got married. They hang in the hallway between the living and bedrooms in our house. This hall is also known as the Great Hall of China because it contains numerous examples of Chinese arts and crafts.

Are you going to China?

If you're planning a trip to China, check out my website, Cheryl's China, and feel free to email me if you have any questions about traveling in China.

What's your favorite Chinese folk art?