Magun's Compass - Online Home of Nomadic Gatherings Travel Notes Nomadic Gatherings: Travels in Asia and Australia Nomadic Gatherings Michel Guntern (Author) 5. China Travel - Family Sun in Tianjin

Family Sun lived on the fourth floor of a concrete block.

He greeted his neighbours with his foreign pet close at heel, they looked up and smiled at me.

Sun Xyzia was already home when we arrived, and she introduced me to her mother and sister. I was offered the best chair in the room while Sun Xyzia poured tea, pulled a protecting cloth away from the television screen, and switched-on the set.

The doctor brought in a folding table.

Space was at a premium; the chairs folded away neatly too. There was a double bed under the window, and two comfortable armchairs along one wall. The bookshelf contained English study books, and one in French; the mother's other string to her bow.

Video-tapes from Hong Kong were stacked to the side of the books. Sun Xyzia's new blue bicycle gleamed from the other side of the room. There was no carpet.

Five little bowls were set out with chopsticks across the rim.

The food followed shortly: bowls of prawn crackers, mixed peppers, fried eggs, mushrooms and something that looked like seaweed, stuffed dumplings, and 'lung' (whatever it was, it was supposed to be good for the health). A bowl of cut pears and cherries was positioned in the centre.

"How do you learn to use chopsticks so quickly" the mother asked me in French.

I told her that it was out of necessity; otherwise I would have gone hungry.

Sun Xyzia's sister had graduated in acupuncture and her mother was a surgeon. Sun Xyzia was not involved in medicine, but studied in Japan. She was trying to get her sister to Japan, and she herself, eventually wanted to go to the United States.

Dr. Sun gave me his Beijing card.

"This time I have not time, but next time I will take you around some of China myself."

I promised I'd give him a call.

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