Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Week in Guangzhou

First Thanksgiving in China! Before, I wondered how celebrating this lesser known American holiday in the East would be different. Well, the answer: Not much. Minus the turkey and family, it was rather familiar: people bustling out of food markets and into kitchens, cooking up a storm, leaving behind an impressive mess, lots of stuffing of one's mouth, lots of schmoozing, lots of music.

The Yale-China fellows decided to congregate in Guangzhou, where four fellows were teaching on the beautiful, very green campus of Sun Yatsen University. I normally lug my hefty DSLR camera to gatherings like this, but decided to pack light this time. Thus, I had to rely on my vintage iPhone camera (and a nifty application called Hipstamatic).

Apologies in advance, the pictures are not in any order. Also, there is a story at the end!

Elizabeth being fed.


Colin, asleep after fending off hordes of mosquitoes.

Sometimes inspiration strikes at the strangest places and moments.


Sun Yatsen's campus.

I shouldn't be playing with my phone during dinner.






Some of the gang.


Nice back, Aaron.





I think I am cursed with the worst luck when I travel, and that bad luck sometimes rubs off on my companions. Missed buses, trains, and planes; luggage left in taxis; booking the wrong dates--I've experienced it all.

On this trip, one of my travel companions to Guangzhou had her wallet stolen. At first, it didn't seem so bad--only a couple hundred rmb lost, some credit cards, and an already-expired driver's license. Then, we realized our bullet train tickets back to Changsha--not cheap--were in that wallet.

It was a sunk cost. No use fretting over it. Nothing else could be done except for buying new tickets for the same train (my poor bank account). So, I did, and off I went onto a train for which I paid twice.

On the train, I fell asleep, and two hours later, we are back in Changsha. Home safe! Except... the train doors closed in front of me just as I was about to step off. The bullet train continued to Wuhan, a city that's not even in the same province.

Apparently, I had woken up at the end of the 3 minutes that the train stops in Changsha. There was nothing to be done, I had to continue on this train to Wuhan.

In situations like this, I can kick myself over and over, beat myself up for my silly mistakes; or, I can just accept that I made a really careless error, and move on. Either way, I can't really change my situation. I choose the latter. Since I am still in the Thanksgiving spirit (my big dinner was only last night), I should say that I am thankful to the stewardess--a kind, young woman who allowed me to stay on the train for no extra cost; I am thankful that the train turned right back towards Changsha after stopping in Wuhan (it could've kept going to who knows where...); and, I am thankful that, in the end, this mistake only cost me an extra 3 or 4 hours.

Hope everyone had a joyful Thanksgiving!

84 comments:

Terrence said...

Trains are also awesome and you got to see a new city if only through the train window, eh?

On another note: I'm not one for stock filters - especially ones used to fake age - but i yours do have a nice feel to them... which would be better without the imposed grain, odd borders, overexposure, off color balance and undersaturation that seems to be hipstamatic's calling card.

You missed a great pun opportunity with "Some of the gang."

Gang said...

I agree, trains can be the best way to travel long distance.

Yeah, I normally wouldn't do stock filters, but didn't really have a better option (with no other camera). The default camera application on my iPhone is definitely lackluster, so even with the syrupy superficiality/artificiality, Hipstamatic was the better and more interesting option.

Anonymous said...
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