More from the finished scrapbook:
Despite morning sickness, I always enjoyed the breakfast at the White Swan– even if I had to lie down afterwards (Not from the excellent food, from the morning sickness). We passed the empty concierge desk, took a mirrored elevator down to the lowest floor that smelled of furniture wax and exotic wood. The birds in the atrium cages sang, we passed over the carp ponds on fancy bridges, and were greeted by a small army of beautifully dressed waitresses. After checking our room passes, they would seat us near the windows, bring me my coffee, and we would be off to choose breakfast: Hmmm, Dim Sum? Oatmeal? Cereal? French toast? French bread? Pastries? Cheese? Salmon? Fruit? (I liked the dragon fruit, it looked like white and black kiwi) I could not handle the milk, it tasted re-constituted and cooked, in retrospect, it may have been contaminated with plasticsizer, so it is just as well that I didn’t drink it.
I loved to watch the boats on the Pearl River, especially the one that looked like the houseboat in “Ping” that fished out floating bits of styrofoam each day.
I asked the waitresses about the people I saw swimming in the river, thinking that they were preparing for a triathlon. “The Poor swim here, though the government discourages this sport.” was the answer.
One day I was a little later leaving breakfast than usual, so the shop selling fancy carved blanket chests was open. I asked the girl who was dusting what was the best way to clean and polish a wooden carving. She replied that she always sold the chests before she had to clean them and didn’t know how, but that if she owned one, she would put a plastic top on it to keep it clean. “We like our houses to be elegant, but we all work too, and need to be practical.“
Since I inherited Great-Grandma Clark’s chest in the first place because Grandma Clark was tired of dusting it, and Grandpa didn’t want to put a plastic cover on it, I thought the shop girl’s advice was hysterical!