February 13th, 2010 – by: spocklogic
Outside Beijing - Yishen Yuan
There were two reasons I went to China. One I mentioned in the previous entry, to meet my friend Ray. The other reason was to spend Chinese new year with the family of my long time friend, Gang. He and I were gratuate students at Boston College and shared the same advisor, although I had gone to Virginia for my PhD work before he came to Boston College. I met him at the International Concerence on Luminescence in 1993, and we became instant friends. We saw each other many times over the years as our careers progressed, although in different places, and talked often on the telephone about physics and life. Anyway, his father was not in good health and he was going to visit his family. He invited me to come and I took the opportunity to meet his family and offer support for my friend if he needed it, as I had just lost my mother in 2007.
Family photo (New Year Pose)
On Saturday, we went outside Beijing
to Yi Sheng Yuan, Eastern Garden International Conference Center, but more like a resort or entertainment complex. There is a restaurant, bowling, basketball courts, ping pong, shuffleboard, massage places, shops and all sorts of things in what can be best described an entertainment mall of sorts. I am not sure what I was expecting, but this was quite surprising, and pleasantly so. I won't make too big a story here, but we had a very nice Chinese new year dinner together and I was welcomed to share this special evening with the family. I felt really honored to be accepted so warmly and to be a part of the family celebration. It is normally a family affair, and something rare to have such an evening in China for a person like me from America.
I was very happy to be with my friend and his family that evening. There was a personal fireworks for the family outside at midnight, which was fun for us all. I had a bit much to drink that night and was not particularly active the next day. In my defense I prefer beer, and said so, but they insisted I drink the hard stuff. Too much of the Gan Bei! I joined the family for breakfast Sunday morning, but went back to my room and slept until late afternoon. My friend Gang called me to tell me about dinner and said, "Where have you been? Are you coming to dinner? We will meeting in the same restaurant, ok see you there." I think he was maybe joking with me, but I needed the time to collect myself and rest up. I was ok now, took a shower, joined the family for dinner and we had fun playing around in the entertainment mall afterward.
Gang's father had great energy that night
I should have taken more photos of this place - really quite a complex. Something I can recommend for good fun away from the city. Unfortunately this ends on a sad note, and after I left Beijing, my friend returned to the USA a few days later, only to have to return shortly thereafter as his father passed away. It makes this trip somewhat more meaningful in that way to have spent that special time, and what would be the last Spring Festival for the family with the Father. I felt a bit sad about this, but it's great the family had that time to celebrate together that last time.