Wednesday, March 12, 2008

China Town Treasures

I remember taking my daughter and niece to Chinatown in New York one spring. We drove to New Jersey from Northern Virginia and then took a train to Chinatown. We spent hours walking city block after city block admiring the colorful purses, shirts, watches and other moderately priced wares displayed on packed stands on the sidewalks. The girls then only 12 and 13 years old, had their own money – saved for this very day. They couldn’t wait to spend every dime. At the conclusion of the day each had 4 to 5 large black plastic bags filled with their goodies. We had walked no less than 5 hours up and down the streets of Chinatown that day, til our feet ached. The girls were thoroughly satisfied as we rode the train back to Jersey that evening and fell asleep clutching their bags in their hands.

Though Yangsook Choi’s book Gai See: What You See in Chinatown setting is a marketplace in China, it reminded me of our trip that spring to New York. Gai See, a Cantonese word meaning “street market” recalls a young boys trip there each season with his family, and all the remarkable objects and treasures he finds. There are wonderful treats found that begin on a warm breezy springtime morning. Other pleasures are discovered including those to celebrate New Years. Gai See by award-winning author Roseanne Thong and celebrated illustrator Yangsook Choi offers a delightful tour of Chinatown and a peek at Chinese culture.

Adjoa Burrowes

Posted in March, 2008