While I was in the city, I took a bit of time and went to visit my grandmother who lives on the upper west side. She recently turned 89, but despite here age manages to continue living alone and very independently. When I was much younger, my grandmother would often speak of China and how China was destined to take over the world. She visited the recently opened nation in 1986, and the trip left a great impression on her. When I took a liking to the PRC, she quickly joined on to my cause and has remained a great supporter of my sometimes rampant interest.
Shortly after arriving at her apartment, she asked me if I was still planning on getting back over to China at any point. After leaving the room for a moment, she returned with a red folder containing a big set of old passports, all of which she had used at one point or another. It was interesting to look through these relics, seeing each proceeding photo of the woman some 10 years older than the last. My grandmother traveled extensively, visiting much of Africa, India and China. Looking through these expired passports, I was able to find the one that she had used to enter china. I asked here what the experience was like.
I opened the book and found that it did not contain anything in the way of a Visa, but did have a large number of entry and exit stamps from China and Hong Kong, placed in not particular order. The most prominent of these stamps is from the Nanjing airport. It is interesting that the passport received this stamp not once, but three times. Perhaps my favorite bit about these two pages is that the dates stamped by the customs official is quite different on each stamp. The Nanjing officials stamped ‘ January 1996’. Another stamp shows the trip as having occurred during 1990. I pointed this out to my grandmother, asking her if she had visited a second time.
“No, just 1986. I don’t think the date mattered to them. They weren’t planning on stamping my passport in the first place”.
The final picture is of my grandmothers itinerary for her trip. Check out the interesting spelling of Guilin, as well as my grandmother use of ‘Joe’ as a substitute pronunciation guide for Hangzhou. Good stuff from the archives of the elderly.