Saturday, 1 January 2022

Christmas 2021.........

has flown by really quickly and New Year 2022 has almost arrived. We enjoyed a very memorable family time together which included all of our five grandchildren. Before any of us met we all took a Lateral Flow test - who would have imagined that this would be the case two years after the virus first raised its ugly head in Wuhan. I noticed that the testing kit had come from Hangzhou in China. Not only did they send us all the virus but they are now making money from it. Seeing the name Hangzhou brought back lots of memories for me having visited there in the early 1980s. My husband was sent to several different areas all across China by the UN to advise their government on matters concerning maritime oil pollution. In those days there was very little tourism and all their citizens wore Chairman Mao suits which came in various shades of blue, grey or green. There was no private car ownership, the only vehicles on the roads were those owned by the government, everyone else had to ride a bike. It was still a peasant economy and I recall seeing farmers spreading their cereal harvest across the roads with hopes that the grains would be separated by the wheels of vehicles passing over it.


A snapshot from our visit in the early 1980s

A group of toddlers all strung up together with their minder. There were about 20 of them but only one appeared to be a girl. Chinese citizens were only allowed one child per couple, and "little emperors" were their preferred choice. Sadly a huge number of females were aborted.

Rows of bikes in Beijing

Hangzhou is the very definition of classical beauty in China, and sadly my little snapshot does not do it justice. Pagodas top the hills that rise high above the lakes which are in turn filled with hundreds of water lilies and lotus flowers.
I wonder of any of you in the UK saw the BBC 4 documentary on The Last Igloo. It was a wonderful film that can still be found on iplayer. I dont know whether or not it is available to those overseas. 

It is a very simple story about one man - an indigenous hunter called Julius - as he sets out from an Inuit settlement into the wilderness of Greenland to fish, hunt, and eventually build an igloo where he spends the night in safety in an otherwise hostile environment. It is not only a testament to Julius and the native people of Greenland, but importantly Julius’ generation of hunters may possibly the last. The great poignancy of the film is that it captures a world that is, due to climate change, literally melting away, and may soon be gone forever. Catch it if you can.

Big Ben has just welcomed us here into 2022. My hopes are that it will be a better and much brighter year for everyone of us.

33 comments:

  1. Dearest Rosemary,
    Such images from China in the early eighties are very similar to those from Pieter's trip in April of 1987 as a delegate of 'People to People Citizen Ambassador Program'. Found under that label on my blog.
    Those bicycles are not strange to us, coming from The Netherlands!
    It is very sad that they only were allowed one child and several got killed, even after birth.
    As for pollution issues within China, they still are way, way behind many other countries in applying rules and they don't seem to care.
    Wishing you a Happy New Year!
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - I found China totally fascinating during the 5 weeks that we were there. We witnessed and experienced many extraordinary moments that I will never ever forget. I feel extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to see China as it was - who would believe that a country could now be so unrecognisable and so quickly.

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    2. Rosemary, it sure did tug Pieter's heart string for witnessing people struggle to make a living...
      China is a totally suppressed country and over several decades it shows.
      Those Rulers will all have to face their final Judge!

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  2. What and interesting post Rosemary. We made it to China in 2019 and things have really changed. It would have been so interesting to be there when these pictures were taken. The igloo film sounds like something we would enjoy I will have to hunt around for it. We have a trip to Europe planned this coming April. We planned it over a year ago and we’re so sure things would have improved by now….Now it is concerning us.
    Hopefully we will all have a better and healthier new year. Janey

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    1. China is a totally different country from the one that we witnessed. Hope that you can locate the documentary. I suspect that your trip to Europe may have to be delayed. I fear that the virus is something that we will be living with for years to come.

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  3. Happy New Year, Rosemary! Let's hope that 2022 is better for everyone!

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  4. Happy New Year, Rosemary, and what an interesting post. My parents went to China in the 1980s, and I remember their pictures of much of which you show. Times certainly have changed, in many ways. That was an excellent idea to test yourselves before meeting up with the family. I feel we should implement this ourselves as we are seeing our little grandsons every week or so since they came to Brisbane and already I have caught a Gastro bug from them! The lateral flow tests have run out of stock in our shops, but more supplies are said to be coming. In Qld we have gone from 2 years relatively Covid free to daily new cases over 3,000 since opening borders just prior to Christmas. We are all in shock. Wishing you better, brighter and very healthy times in 2022.

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    1. Happy New Year to you too Patricia - lateral flow tests are in high demand here too, but I think that some people are stock piling them. Because we do not mix with people generally we are not too concerned about using them, but meeting up with so many relatives from different parts of the country it was the sensible thing to do. Although we have had our booster it is now over 3 months ago and the extra immunity it provided is apparently now on the wane. It looks as if another shot will be coming our way soon.

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  5. I'm so glad you enjoyed Christmas with your grandchildren. For us, it was the same, and so very much better than last year's isolation.
    Your images of China from the 1980s are an interesting look into recent history. Much has changed. I'll look for the documentary on The Last Igloo.
    Happy New Year, Rosemary!

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    1. Happy New Year to you Lorrie - I will never ever forget what we witnessed in China. I once did a blog about our trip, and immediately I heard from the editor of a paper in one of the remote cities that we visited in China. He said that he had completely forgotten just what his home had looked like and how the people had dressed until he saw my photos. He asked me if he could put my post in his paper, and I agreed that he could.

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  6. Big Ben knew what it was doing, in welcoming the world into 2022. Fixing Big Ben cost sooo much money and took such a long time, it HAS to be the start of a better future. Spouse and I will have a New Year lunch tomorrow with the gorgeous grandchildren :)

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    1. Happy New Year Hels - enjoy your lunch with your gorgeous grandchildren - grandchildren are the very best.

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  7. HAPPY NEW YEAR Rosemary!
    Love from Titti

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    1. šŸ’šGreetings for 2022 to you too Titti and thank you.

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  8. Hello Rosemary, Happy New Year to you and your family! Times have gotten so complex, but we can hope that some good will come out of this year. You were lucky to travel to China in that tourist-free era. I hope that 20 children that age had more than one person to look after them! I may get to see that documentary sometime in the future, but I know the feeling you discuss of time and tradition, as well as the physical world as it is, all slipping helplessly through our fingers.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - thank you for your thoughtful comment - I think that we are on the same wave length.
      The group of toddlers had one other minder in control at the other end of the string. The children were very obedient.

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  9. Dear Rosemary,
    Thank you for this beautiful post. I am surprised that you were able to take so many photos of China in the early days. I can relate to so many of the conditions as I grew up in Communist East Germany. Covid is ugly enough but Iron Rule is unacceptable.
    More and more of my friends are traveling. I see a little window and have hope that all of us can enjoy a New Year happy and healthy.

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    1. Dear Gina - I think that you had a very fortunate escape - we also visited several countries behind the iron curtain years ago. On some level I can relate to how it must have been, but, not entirely, because, I of course, always went back home and was free to do so.

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  10. What a fascinating post dear friend - seeing those great old photos really stir memories of what China was when isolated compared to today - a country we have now come to fear in many new ways. Adoption of Chinese baby/toddler girls seems to have disappeared here now, for the better hopefully! I have friends with lovely daughters they went to China to adopt - quite a long, expensive and difficult adoption process back in the '90's.
    So glad all your family tested negative and you could be together for Christmas. We are seeing so many new cases here now, some in vaccinated people which is scary! Like you, our booster was in Oct. and we wonder if there will be another available soon. Sadly, we think it will mean annual jab/jabs for a long time. Still hoping we can get home in June of THIS year!

    Bob joins me in sending you and J very wishes for a better year ahead - good health and much happiness, even if we have to find new ways to be happy!!!
    Hugs - Mary xx

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    1. The tests we all took gave us that extra feeling of comfort knowing that we were all negative. I think that you are right, unless further scientific progress can be made, it looks as if it could be jab/jabs forever at this rate.

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  11. Another interesting post Rosemary. Happy New Year to you and your family.

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    1. Hope the New Year goes well for you William.

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  13. Happy New Year, dear Rosemary! How lovely that you could have a proper family Christmas but what an interesting segue to a Chinese reminiscence! You were indeed fortunate to travel during the curious window into the country's frozen past before it swiftly changed.

    And speaking of windows, your village's festive windows are very sweet.

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    1. Happy New Year to you too dear friend.
      I feel very fortunate to have seen and witnessed a way of life that has now completely disappeared.

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  14. Best wishes for a better year ahead. I did see that film last year. Winter, so far, has flown by, probably due to not having one yet. (warmest December on record apparently) Like the illuminated windows. I always used to be disappointed by my holiday photos as only a very few captured what I experienced in reality until in recent years camera technology caught up to give more vivid 3D images. Old photographs do aid all the memories of past trips but it is the memories themselves that capture the full vivid picture from those days I find. Do not know if that is what makes nostalgia special but the best film I watched this Christmas was One Million Years BC. The 1960s fur bikini classic. Despite advances in film technology since then and having watched it several times over the decades I still really enjoyed it. (for the plot and script. Never bettered despite modern remakes.)

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    1. Hope springs eternal for the year ahead.
      I too saw the documentary last year, but enjoyed being reacquainted with it aain.
      You are right about the photos - their quality is poor, but even so, the memories they hold for me are very clear.

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    2. Your photos are always excellent, as usual. I was thinking more about the old style camera's ability to capture landscapes abroad where even the most spectacular waterfall or mountain range looked small and flat when you received the photos back compared to today's vivid colours and ability to zoom in. With close up images of people, like yours, there's not much difference at all. I still have hundreds of photos from European landscape trips taken decades ago and only a few fully capture the reality I was seeing in front of me at that time. I was usually very disappointed getting them back is what I was thinking of in the previous comment. Now people have a much better chance of capturing good images that match the grand scale reality in front of them.

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    3. Capturing a landscape really well was, as you say, virtually impossible. I remember too being so disappointed when I received the prints back after processing.

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  15. Interesting reading about China then , compared to what it is now . Glad to know all is well with you , knowing that Omicron is spreading like fire on dry grass worldwide. Wishing you all the best in the New Year.

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    1. It is difficult to predict just how things will pan out for us all in the future, but I believe our future depends on the skills of our scientists.

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