I Will Drive You To Your Village

Frank Langfitt, China

Driving to the office this morning I listened to NPR Radio’s “Streets of Shanghai”, a fascinating segment by Frank Langfitt, their China correspondent.  Frank once drove a cab for a summer job and the experience gave him the idea to drive people around to hear their stories.  He drove an attorney from Shanghai to visit his family in their rural village.  This must have been the first time a “foreigner” had visited their village as Frank had his picture taken 30 times with various villagers.

NPR, Shanghai, China

The NPR story reminded me of our experience while on a trip to China. We took the train from ultra-modern Shanghai to a small village outside of Hangzhou where one of our Wesco Fabrics’ suppliers had a factory. We went for lunch in a local restaurant where it seemed half the town came to gawk at us.

Suzhou, China

I took this picture of a small home on a canal in Suzhou. Towns like this are seeing more foreigners today, but people still look a little surprised to see you.

Suzhou, China

Old Suzhou homes by a canal, a far cry from the mega-story monstrosities found in many Chinese cities today!

Shanghai, China

Most of Shanghai is extremely modern with new giant skyscrapers arriving every year!

Shanghai, China

This was the view outside our hotel room in the Pudong area of Shanghai. Seems almost futuristic doesn’t it? We definitely prefer the ever vanishing small towns of China.

A Boy and His 9 Year Old Adventure

A few years ago I came up with the idea to take our grandkids to San Francisco and visit my mom when they turned 9. Last week it was Vaughan’s turn. Marla and I packed a crazy amount of fun and educational sights and activities into a 4 night trip. We had a ball! We began the adventure with a visit the majestic Muir Woods National Monument. The weather was perfect and the redwoods were inspiring!

We had our obligatory group shot with a beautiful redwood. Vaughan shows Gigi, his great-grandmother, shots he took with his IPad.

The Muir Beach Overlook is a wonderful spot for a picnic with fantastic views of the coastline.  Vaughan was intrigued with the World War II Army observation posts.

Marla wrapped him in a tablecloth after the water became too tempting at Muir Beach.

The Lawrence Hall of Science in the hills above the University of California in Berkeley is a fabulous spot for kids to learn about science and for the adults to enjoy the fantastic view of the San Francisco Bay!

We all need refueling so a stop at “Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers” on college Avenue in Oakland. This is the area I grew up in as a boy.

We hosted a dinner with 22 Bay Area relatives so they could meet Vaughan. He loved it and felt very proud so many people would come to see him!

Chinatown was on Vaughan’s “must see” list.

Riding a cable car was number two on the list, and it was a blast!

The Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park has been a family favorite since I was young. Vaughan passed on tea, but he loved the arched bridge.

“Sears Fine Food” on Powell Street is famous for their dollar size Swedish pancakes. Vaughan’s plate was clean in about 5 minutes!

It was time to say “goodbye” to Gigi. The “9 year old trip” was so much fun! I don’t know who enjoyed the adventure more, Vaughan or Marla and I. I better start some serious training as we have 3 more grandkids to go for their trip.