Maria Holland

We’re Not Losing A Daughter, We’re Gaining a Village

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2010 at 8:27 pm

(Written by John, with liberal editing by Maria.)

Since we had no set itinerary for today, we slept in (in our own beds) till around 9:30.  It was great!  But when we woke up, the room was very cold, and we found our room door wide open.  Apparently someone (Maria) didn’t close it all thee way last night.  We decided she has now made too many mistakes on this trip, and we hatched a plan to get rid of her off by the end of the day.  Little did we know what lay ahead, but more on that later…

We went down to the dining room to use their wireless and have breakfast.  The girls had delicious egg sandwiches, and I had fried eggs with bacon, plus a wonderful-crepe like pancake with a banana and chocolate filling.  Then Cis and I left Maria for awhile (she had boring travel guide planning to do), and we walked around the pretty little town of Baoguo.  It has a beautiful park with many waterfalls and statues, mostly tributes to the Bhuddist religion that considers the nearby Mount Emei one of their sacred sites.

IMG_1482 Cis got a little creative with the camera and took this very nice picture of me by one of the elephant statues.

IMG_1485 After we linked back up with Maria and checked out, we only had to walk a hundred yards to the bus station to catch the 1:00 bus back to Chengdu. 


It was a two-and-a-half-hour ride back to Chengdu and the hotel where we had stowed three of our suitcases during the two days exploring the sights of Leshan and Emeishan.  The ride was uneventful, although it was probably the nicest country we have seen yet (other than the area around Xiamen).  Once we neared Chengdu, though, the inevitable construction boom was again visible, with huge new buildings going up everywhere, al covered with a green plastic mesh that probably is used to shield workers from the sun and wind, and to contain any loose construction material from blowing down onto pedestrians.


Once back in Chengdu, we had several hours before our over-night train left for Xi’An, so we went looking for a Uyghur restaurant that Maria read about in the Lonely Planet Guide Book.  The description of their food had caught her eye (and her stomach): “[Their] specialty is dapanji (literally, ‘big plate chicken’) – a massive portion of chicken, potatoes and peppers stewed in a savory, spicy sauce.  Even the ‘small’ plate (Y30) will serve two or three.  When you’re part way through the meal, staff dump a pile of handmade noodles into your dish, perfect for sopping up the sauce.  Lamb skewers and grilled flatbread are good accompaniments.” 

We flagged a taxi to take us there, but when he dropped us off at the right intersection, we couldn’t find it.  After asking directions, we found the right storefront – and immediately realized we had been there before.  On our last evening in Chengdu before leaving for Leshan, we stopped here to eat lamb kebabs and naan from the street-side component of their restaurant.  The food was great, but Maria was a little unsettled by a strange interaction with one of the workers.  While we were waiting in line, one of the men had walked by us, smiled appreciatively at Maria and clicked his tongue in a warbling-like sound.  Although nothing like that had ever happened to her in China, she figured it was a cat-call and interpreted it to mean: “Hey, that is one good-looking dark woman; she would make a fine Uyghur wife!”  We didn’t think much of it since we had no plans to return to this restaurant, but God (/Allah) moves in mysterious ways . . .

As we walked in and sat down, the young man (who, because he looks like a Uyghur version of Paulie Shore, we nicknamed Paulie), was especially attentive to his customers – well, mainly Maria.  He pretty much completely disregarded Cissy and I, and while we thought it was a little rude to disrespect his future parents-in-law this way, he seemed to be truly in love, so we decided to overlook this problem.  Besides, we won’t have to pay for a hall or catering for their reception because they can host it right there at their place.  The restaurant is fairly large, as you can see from the picture below.

IMG_1564I was anxious to seal the deal before the family realized their mistake, which could happen as soon as Maria started her incessant whining, or if they asked her to do any manual work such as refill water pails, mop the floor, make rancid yak butter to add to the tea, or butcher the chickens, so I accepted the additional meat offering and we shook hands.   After finishing our meals and promising to return once we collected the goats needed for Maria’s dowry, we went on our way.  Inshallah, we will soon be rid of her.

[Maria: It is a delightful fantasy my parents have created.  But really, who would have ever thought they’d be so happy to see me married off to a Muslim?]

  1. hahahaha….this is hilarious!

  2. I say: keep Maria (call off the deal) and keep Cissy as a photographer! Matt will be proud of that picture!

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