I hope everyone back home is doing well! Joe’s father, Tony, arrived in Shanghai a day late after an ice storm delayed flights in MSP and various Canadian airports.

There’s been tons of great food at every meal. Highlights from Shanghai include: peppers and chicken stomachs and diced lotus roots. We’ve also had some traditional Uigur food (muslim Chinese ethnic minority) and our fair share of street food: Chicken Kabobs, jiaozi (steamed dumplings), and jien bing (a traditional flatbread from Ganyu, see below). One of the more memorable dishes was a cold tofu and egg dish called Pidandofu.

This morning we arrived in Ganyu, the hometown of Joe’s fiance Du Xue. Craig and I met her for the first time today, but as she doesn’t speak much English, we didn’t have a whole lot to say past the standard greetings. Her family was kind enough to arrange a van to pick us all up from the nearby airport and get us to the hotel.

Du Xue’s father took the lot of us out to a massive lunch today, in a generous display of his hospitality. He also complimented me on my proper use of chopsticks…so that was legit.

We walked around the town a bit so Joe and Du Xue could purchase the final necessities for their nuptials. One boquet and a shirt and tie later, they were all set. They’ve already been legally married in China for several months now, and lived together for longer, which I suppose helps explain their fairly relaxed attitude towards finalizing the last little details.

Although it happened to a lesser extent in Shanghai, people are very unabashed at staring at westerners in Ganyu. Many younger people just giggle and say “hello,” but most people will stop in their tracks and stare openly. I had a woman at the market today come up to me and say “foreigner.” I’m not entirely sure about the sentiment behind that, but I think most of it is just plain curiousity. Right at this moment, Joe has a small entourage of Chinese teenagers animatedly talking with him.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for now…the wedding ceremony is tomorrow morning (aparently it’s bad luck if the ceremony goes past noon), and we’ll have an additional two more days in Ganyu after that. The internet cafe is right across the  street from our hotel, so you’ll probably be hearing from me again in a day or so.