Maria Holland

Welcome To The Gun Show

In Uncategorized on January 16, 2010 at 12:46 am

I got my dad up this morning by telling him we were going to see cannons.  Yes, not only did I choose (slash get sent to) a beautiful tropical island, but it is also home to the world’s largest cannon.  (Also, according to this site, home to the world’s smallest cannon.)  Score one for Maria!

We met up with YongZhi at Hulishan and went in to the fort.  By pure luck, we arrived just around 10 o’clock, when they had a performance of “Ming Soldiers Firing Dutch Cannons”.  It was quite a show, with about 20 guys dressed up and ceremonially loading and firing the cannon.

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The fort is pretty large and there were cannons and cannon paraphernalia everywhere, so Dad was quite pleased.

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There was even a 4-D exhibit which told the story of Xiamen’s role in the Opium Wars and WWII.  While it was quite impressive, we have not yet figured out what the fourth dimension was . . .

The main feature, of course, is the world’s largest cannon.  (Note: It may be the world’s largest 19th-century breechloader, depending on who you trust.  I’m not really up on my canon stats, sorry.)  Anyway, it’s a 13m-long, 50-ton cannon, which I consider big.

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The guns are strategically placed along the waterfront, which meant that we had a great view back at my university.

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All in all, I think Hulishan is a must-see for the field artillery officer in your life.

For lunch, I took them to my favorite malatang – spicy custom-made soup – restaurant.  Dad wasn’t crazy about it (apparently he’s somewhat sensitive to sanitation) but Mom and I enjoyed it.  Two out of three ain’t bad, right?

After lunch we went to LunDu to catch the bus to the hot springs.  We had a little while to wait, so we sat by the water to people-watch (slash be people-watched).  An ear-cleaning lady came around and, somehow misinterpreting my price inquiry as an invitation, began digging around in Dad’s ears with a long skinny metal scoop.

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Despite making all kinds of ridiculous faces and somewhat disturbing noises, he impressed me by not having a complete fit.  She cleaned his ears alright, and judging by the chunks of dried ear wax she pulled out, he needed it.  Still doesn’t hear well, though . . .

While waiting to board the bus, we befriended some Chinese schoolchildren.  It works out great having my parents here, because they’re totally unreserved – they still smile and say hello to everyone, which together with my Chinese opens up lots of opportunities for conversations.  Anyway, we took a picture with three little boys, and then they returned a few minutes later with four of their closest friends.

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While we were interested to see how many they could get together if given another few minutes, we had to leave.  And now we’ll never know . . .

My parents had been looking forward to the spring since they heard about my visit after Christmas, and I think it lived up to their expectations.  Dad had some adventures in the men’s room by himself but most of the time was just spent soaking in hot, light-scented spring water.  I had some good conversations with fellow visitors which Mom tried to follow, and Dad even learned how to say “Goodbye, beautiful ladies!”

We had dinner back near campus, joined by my roommate Leinira.  We had 宫保鸡丁(kungpao chicken, or spicy chicken with peanuts), 铁板牛肉 (beef and peppers cooked on a hot skillet), 红烧茄子 (eggplant), and 干过白菜 (Chinese cabbage cooked over a flame).  My parents declared it their best meal yet in China, making me relieved that I finally found something they like!

They came up to my room for a little while but went home before it got too late.  When I put them in a taxi to go home, I told the driver where to go, explained that they can’t speak Chinese, and warned him that they knew how much they should pay, and then walked home hoping they made it safely (which they did).  I feel kind of like a parent with two little kids now.  They can do very little on their own and need constant supervision and help.  They can’t really communicate their thoughts or needs to anyone but me.  They’re somewhat picky eaters.  They have lots of questions that basically consist of “why?”.  They get tired before me and go to bed while I stay up to finish things.  And people think they’re cute (especially when they try to speak!) and stop to look at them everywhere we go.

Yup, they’re pretty much children.

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  1. best blog ever!!
    good luck with your babies!

  2. I’m laughing too hard to type anything else…..ha, ha, ha about the children you are introducing to China!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    A. Claire

  3. Roving cerumenectomists in China? Never woulda thunk it.

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