Saturday, October 07, 2006

China Stories Pt. 31: Mom and Dad Show Up

In the middle of all this... my parents came to visit. They had planned the trip months before, well before any of the current demonstrations started, so... hi, son!

I was working 18-20 hours a day for CBS. My parents were on a tour, so they were fairly busy as well. It was too bad that I couldn't spend more time with them, but I was happy and relieved to see them. It had been about 4 months, the longest I'd ever been away. I think that seeing me helped to ease their concerns about what I was doing.

They were in Beijing for just a couple of days - they'd come from Shanghai, and soon would be off to Xi'an. They did the usual tourist things in Beijing, though circumstances dictated some adjustments to their itinerary. First of all, they couldn't visit Tiananmen Square. And in traveling to other destinations, they had to make some detours to avoid demonstrations. Their tour guide, they told me with great amusement, called the demonstrations "parades." As in, "we have to take a different way to the Temple of Heaven, because there are many parades today."

Seeing my parents was terrific., and being seen by them was terrific. I was really happy and immensely proud of what I was doing, and thrilled that they could see me "in my element."

There was one great moment when I was walking through the lobby of the Shangri-La with my parents, and one of the bell captains I had become friends with came over to chat. He walked along with us, chatting and joking with me in Mandarin. For a moment, I felt like Rick in Casablanca - like I knew all the people and all the angles in this very foreign place.

Later, I joined my parents and some of their fellow travelers for dinner in the hotel. I was naturally the center of attention, which I don't mind saying, I rather enjoyed. As we ate and chatted, my old friend Cliff came up to the table.

"These your parents?" he asked me. He turned to them.

"I just wanted to say hello and let you know you've raised a fine young man here."

I'm pretty sure I beamed.


At 9:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

al gore lololololol

At 8:08 PM, Anonymous Mom said...

I've been waiting to make the scene in your China Stories! A couple of things to add: our guide said that the "parades" were left over from the celebrations for the visit of the "big potato." Someone in our group figured out that she meant "top banana", i.e. Gorbachev. We of course knew better. We did get to Tiananmen along with a few tens of thousands of our closest friends. Our dinner at the hotel was a bit surreal. Since the Cultural Revolution had killed off most of the musicians of any talent, we were entertained by someone playing from the John Thompson Book 3 which I had used at about age 8.

At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been reading and enjoying your stories quietly. While this was happening, I was dating a guy (now my husband) who lived in a "college flop-houe" as he called it, with several Stanford students from varous places around the globe, including one young Chinese man. I didn't get the significance of it at the time, but he apparently had some connection with some of the demonstrating students and was working on long-distance logistics and support of what was going on. Hearing more up-close details about what was going on there has been very enlightening.

Your stories have really brought history to life, and I want to figure out a way to save these stories to refer to for my kids...
I hope you realize that the slow-down in posts to your blog is because we are so enraptured with the story that we are speechless...

At 2:25 PM, Blogger Ish said...


Thank you so much for the nice comment. I've really enjoyed sharing this with everyone who has been reading.

I don't have too much further to go - at least, as far as this chapter of my time in China is concerned.

I do hope to go back and add photos when I finally get them scanned in.


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