Friday, September 05, 2008

More With Wang Xiansheng

After taxiing back to the volunteer station where all of the craziness started, we thanked Wang Xiansheng, thinking our time together was over. Boy, were we wrong! Wang Xiansheng asked if he could meet back up with us in a hour, right before we were going to pick Julie and Z up at school. (BISS, by the way, is just across the street from the Starbucks where we have been getting our Internet fix.) We had some idea of what he had in mind. He mentioned showing us the park (this particular neighborhood, An Zhen Xili, has a really gorgeous park full of shade trees, practitioners of tai ji quan, and little old ladies who could absolutely destroy me in ping pong). He also mentioned wanting to see how tall Julie and Z are (I have this vague notion that he might want to give the kids presents that require knowledge about their size...). But then he kept using the words for clothes (yifu), the word "Han," and other phrases I could not decipher.

An hour later, it all became apparent (sort of). Wang Xiansheng has this really awesome outfit that is in the style of what men wore during the Han dynasty. And what he wanted to do was have a photo shoot with us at various spots around the park (like the statue of Confucius ). A young girl accompanied us on this tour, snapping photos as we went, some arranged and others spontaneous (as we listened to Wang Xiansheng explain the different murals that we were passing by). Along the way, we drew lots of attention. (Was it the waiguoren, or was it Wang Xiansheng in his imperial wear?) In fact, for a while, we had a man tailing us, smiling the whole way. And then we had another Olympic "volunteer" come bring us gifts (a Summer Palace book mark and an Olympic ping pong pin).

By now, time was running short for us to jet back to BISS and get the kids. After telling this to Wang Xiansheng, he assured us he could get out of his Han clothing and be ready to walk back with us in liang fen zhong (two minutes). True to his word (and still walking at, shall we say, a brisk pace), Wang Xiansheng hung with us as we walked onto the BISS campus and waited for Julie and Z.

Wang Xiansheng's last concern of the day was getting a mental picture of how tall Julie and Z were relative to him (almost his height, actually). Satisfied that he had a good read on the situation, Wang Xiansheng wished us well and disappeared back into the urban jungle lurking just outside the gates of BISS. Why do we get the feeling that we have not seen the last of him...



At 9:42 PM, Blogger Barbra said...

Hey guys! Bet you didn't expect to hear from me. Your Mom (Carol) has been telling my Mom (Eunice) all about your trip, so I had to check it out! Wow, so interesting, and what a culture shock! Will be waiting to read more. Best Wishes, Barbie
PS--My sister-in-law is marrying a Chinese-American in Nov. I gave her the link cause I knew they would find it interesting. Take care all.

At 8:05 PM, Blogger The Balla Family said...

Hi Barbie. Great to hear from you! Before we left, my mom showed me all of these crazy cat pictures that you had emailed her. We were laughing so hard! It's been great that our moms have been spending time together. I've thanked your mom a bunch of times about helping out so much with her computer know-how. It's really made a difference.

Take care,



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