South China Diary
text and images by Cynthia Harvey
SOUTH CHINA DIARY - PART 1
Why China? 3,000 years of history and culture, that's why! Why the South West? Well, it's there that most of China's Minority people live and continue to make the amazing textiles that they have done for a very long time.
The South West of China is where Joseph Rock, the American botanist, roamed the foothills of the Himalaya around Lijiang in the 1920s discovering many of the plants we are now very familiar with in our own gardens. He called it "Shangri-La".
I was very wary of doing a guided tour, having been an independent traveller for so many years. However, I'd met Gabriella Verstraeten some years before and liked her. So, I took the plunge and booked "The South China Textile Tour" with InterAsia Travel for March, 2008. This is the diary of my trip.
Textiles in the Yunan Nationalities Museum. (20/3/2008)
Sunday, March 16 (Kojonup to Perth)
I woke at 07h00, had breakfast, and left Kojonup at 08h30.
I had a second breakfast at Riverside Lodge near Bannister at 10h30 and got to Perth at 11h00. I left my quilt "Threnody" and a book at Wendy Lugg's at Bull's Creek and then drove down to Mari in Hamilton Hill and gave her the two books I had for her. Athol Fugard's "Journey to Mecca" and Pauline Smith's "The Beadle".
Then down the hill to Patrick and Brenda to leave two books on Psychology for Matthew when he returns from Sweden and the Lyall Thomas book on "Lawrence of Arabia" for Patrick.
Then to Lane Bookshop in Claremont to buy two books they had in for me - Kate Llewellyn's "The Dressmaker's Daughter" and John Keay's "The Spice Trade".
To the Boatshed to buy some of their great bread and cheese and apple juice and sushi for supper and so, finally, all errands done, to "Rosemoore", my B&B in Mosman Park, to unpack, have lunch and watch the Australian Grand Prix on television.
I am in the middle room and in the afternoon I drove round to see Jenny and Paul. Sushi and a glass of wine for supper, TV news and bed.
Monday, March 17 (Perth)
A lovely morning and I breakfasted with Gillian on the verandah and then drove to Fremantle to the Duty Free Shop. No new Nicho 7 camera and no "Ystatis" perfume - they'd sold them! I was not pleased as I'd ordered them well in advance. So I glad I'd put my old and trusty Chinon camera in my bag just before I left home. I bought some film and a carton of cigarettes instead.
Then to Myers to buy some warm black leggings and a white silk sheet from Mountain Design. I had a coffee and then moved the car to High Street and Bill's Secondhand Bookshop, as he had two Freya Stark books for me, a Karin Frail on Ozzie quilters (which I think I already have), and then across the road to Kartique for a pair of silver earrings and lots of hugs from Eileen. Finally down to the Museum to tell Patrick about the camera. He is poorly again - his foot has broken once again - may be osteoporosis. Then back to "Rosemoore" for lunch and a rest.
I got up later to drive to the Gladfly Gallery in Dalkeith to see "Warmun Women" exhibition but they were closed - so I went to see Fairlie instead, then to Helen and Jeff and finally Rosie, to say goodbye.
I couldn't remember whether Thomas had said 18h15 or 18h45, so I went to Elizabeth's and bought an old copy of "Heart of the Hunter" by Lawrence van der Post - then across the road to the Dome and Thomas arrived, a little late.
We had coffee and nougart and he talked about his separation and the two little girls. His wife is having an affair with her yoga teacher. They'd been together since they were 18 - not an unusual story of course. I suggested we go back to "Rosemoore" for supper - bread and cheese and olives and grapes and wine - we sat on the verandah and talked and talked. A warm hug, a kiss on my forehead and left at midnight.
He is a grogeous young man and I wish, I wish I was 30 years younger! I was asleep instantly.