Sunday we went to visit Yue Li's grandmother, on her mother's side. She lived with her daughter and husband and helped care for Yue Li until she Yue Li was two, then moved in with her son and his wife to help with their children.
|Yue Li's father and Little Star. We've arrived at Grandma's.|
Two months ago, Yue Li's grandma moved to this small retirement home in the country. An "eighty yuan taxi ride" (how Sky and Yue Li speak of distances in Chongqing), or an hour's drive from our apartment, we first passed through a small mountain village packed with weekend tourists from the city, then drove another five kilometers, part way on a dirt road, to this home of twenty rooms, two residents to each room.
I need to point out the dog. She belongs to Yue Li's dad. She goes everywhere with him. On the bus, in the taxi's, through town, on vacation, to the doctor's, and so on. He never has to call her, she's just always there.
|From L to R: Yue Li and Xing Xing, Yue Li's step-mom, Yue Li's dad, me, Yue Li's Grandma, the dog.|
We stayed a couple of hours and then caught a ride with this guy into the city. He was on his way to pick up groceries for the retirement home and didn't mind some extra cash from us. I was really grateful I didn't have to walk the five kilometers back into the mountain town then take a bus. It was hot and muggy that day.
He let us off in Nan Ping where Yue Li's newest shop is. We're all going to get some lunch and check it out before we split up. Note the dog making sure everyone gets out.
She a little herder and scout rolled into one. She forays out in front of everyone then comes back to weave in and out of our feet, never once tripping anyone up. If one of us lags behind, she trots behind that person until they catch up and we're in a nice little group again. Then off she goes to scout the territory ahead. And she's a poodle, not a heeler.
Opening up the shop, which is located underground, like so many of the shops are here.
Xing Xing was the only one of us besides Yue Li who had been to the new shop. With great formality, Little Star introduced us to the shop by taking our hands and individually lead Grandpa, then grandma, then me into the shop.
The dog waited for everyone to leave the shop before she began her "rounding up" to get us in our tight little huddle again.
Chinese fast food. The place is huge and packed. Here everyone is in line to order.
My Deal Meal. Mushrooms in gravy, rice, soup, and pickled somethings. Oh, and unidentified black food that I took a pass on.
Yue Li's meal. Spicy vegetables and chicken.
This was a small stack for the bus boy. On his previous run, five minutes earlier, the trays were piled up to his chin.
Free refills of rice and soup.
The dog takes a break from her herding duties.
After we ate, Yue li went to her shop to work, and Xing Xing, whose pre-school had shut down for the week because of two kids coming down with hand, foot and mouth disease, went home with grandma and grandpa. I went home to recuperate. Big day.