With my upcoming return to China–the first time I’ll be there in almost 18 years–I’ve been feeling a bit sentimental about the old days even though they weren’t always that easy.
I recently flipped through old photos from Hidden River, the small city in Hubei province where I got married 20 years ago and spent a number of Chinese New Years.
Here are my dad and my in-laws’ family friend who could speak fluent English. They’re at the Hidden River Pharmaceutical plant.
Some other photos of the city I’ve posted before. There are so few cars (all state-owned back then) that people walked in the middle of the street.
When my parents visited for my wedding banquet, my (former) in-laws booked them rooms at the Hidden River Palace Hotel.
My family actually stayed out back in the bungalows, which were new that year and by far the nicest accommodations in the city. They kind of reminded me of villa houses in Hong Kong.
For my wedding banquet, I’ve posted some of these photos before but thought I’d show them again to show what the city was like back then. A year and a half before this photo was taken, my in-laws lived in the red brick building in the background.
Once we arrived at the wedding banquet venue, my former brother-in-law set off hundreds of red firecrackers to usher in good fortune. It didn’t work, but was a nice gesture. Check out all the bicycles. This was before people could own cars.
Inside the restaurant, I met 200 strangers. But my family from Chicago was there, too, so it was fun. And very laid-back. This is a photo of the special dishes my family received. The rest of the guests weren’t served these cool dumplings.
I haven’t been to Hidden River in 18 years, but am sure it’s probably unrecognizable now. There was one Hong Kong clothing store back then but that was it when it came to anything that was familiar to me. I suspect that’s nowhere near the case now.