I will be travelling on my “once in a lifetime” pilgrimage to visit my dad’s Kaiping & mom’s Enping ancestral villages in about 6 weeks time. I’m flying into Shenzhen airport...does anyone know if there is a phone store at the airport where I can get a SIM card installed and it’s approximate location. Which is the best SIM card phone company to use. I will be getting Express VPN installed in advance here in America a week before departure.
At the airport, I’m assuming there will be a money exchange store to change dollars to yuan.
When Henry Tom helped located our Chan village 2 years ago, our newly discovered cousins said they prayed for my grandfather (Grandpa Chan) as they thought he had been kidnapped or murdered, not knowing that he had migrated to East Africa and in turn, of our subsequent nomadic travels to Britain, Canada and America
I will be travelling on my “once in a lifetime” pilgrimage to visit my dad’s Kaiping & mom’s Enping ancestral villages in about 6 weeks time. I’m flying into Shenzhen airport...does anyone know if there is a phone store at the airport where I can get a SIM card installed and it’s approximate location...
Check ur phone support which network band 1st !!! Some American phone can't supports China Mobile(China Unicom is nearby ...) Chinese carriers needs id registry according to 实名制 policy which is PiTA to visitor. Only those 自有营业厅 can do such job for foreign passport holder which located at a neighbor town called "福永" around airport. iservice.10010.com/e4/query/service/search_hall-iframe.html | www.10086.cn/support/gd/ (right bottom corner) 实体营业厅
Thanks for the feedback. I have already visited Verizon here locally and they have confirmed my iPhone 6 is not “ locked” and will worked in Guangdong province.
I have already tested removal of the existing SIM card. It’s a little tricky getting the cover off but it was OK. I was planning on getting VPN preinstalled (about US $30/ month), so all I would need is a SIM card (I understand about $10-$15), which I hoped would be at a China Mobile or China Unicom phone counter at Shenzhen airport...so much for that idea.
Since I am Chinese illiterate (cannot read, write or speak Cantonese...well speak a very little, just enough to be dangerous), this will be an interesting adventure to find one of those phone companies. I will be arriving in Shenzhen around 11:30am Sunday Oct 27, 2019 (32 hours from airport to airport) so maybe I should go to the hotel first and ask them for the nearest China Mobile or China Unicom. Hopefully these phone companies are open Sunday.
I saw you attached video...I hope I do not get lost too...better keep the hotel address in my pocket!
Thanks for the link. Google Translate to the rescue! Of the three companies listed, my iPhone 6 model A1552 has the best compatibility with China Unicom.
I hear that upon arrival, you can look around Shenzhen airport or just outside and find a shop that sells SIM cards from China Unicom etc. Would these stores be a reliable source or is it better to find a specific China Unicom store?
My Grandpa Chan had a thriving furniture business in Calcutta. Times were good but then trouble started. Some customers simply did not pay or ran away to the adjacent state or province with the furniture to escape making payments. Eventually, after many customers failed to make payments, he went bankrupt. He had to leave everything behind and fled with the family in the middle of the night back to Guangdong. They stayed near my Grandmother Tang (mom’s mom) village Chuk Chun (Zhucun), where Shenzhen is now located.
With the devastating business loss, they were so poor, all they could afford to eat was the fat from the pig’s belly. They would cook it until most of the fat cooked out. This pig fat was then put on rice and sprinkled with soy sauce. They could not afford vegetables. So basically, they ate pig fat and rice. Despite this hardship, mom said it had a good flavor.
To earn their keep, Grandma Chan had to clean house for a European family. The kids had to pitch in too. My mom who was only about 6 or 7 years old, had to babysit for her aunt who toiled in the fields. Her aunt’s baby would be strapped onto my mom's back and she had to carry the baby outside all day while she followed her aunt who worked in the fields. Sometimes, she would sit under a tree with the baby. If the baby cried, then her aunt would come out of the field and nurse the baby or change it. Mom said this was very hard work for a 6 or 7 year old. With the village located near Shenzhen which is about the same latitude as Cuba, the summers were very hot, much like here in Louisiana (around 37 C to 40 C).
Meanwhile, her 12 - 13 year old brother’s job (my Uncle Peter) was to take care of the water buffalo. He would ride the water buffalo to and from work each day. The work was in the vegetable fields or the rice paddies. I asked mom how much work could there possibly be for the buffalo, since you might only plough the fields a couple of times per year. She was not sure but she said he was gone most of the day…I suspect he was not working too hard
Wow wow wow... what a trip of a lifetime. Thank you Henry Tom! Thank you Philip Tan! Henry is still with his workshop group in Guangdong and I was hoping our paths would cross but unfortunately we were at different cities on the one free day I had. Henry provided the maps that led to my four villages (moms CHEN, grandma TANG, my aunts husbands LAO and dads SHUIBIANCUN). Philip provide the genealogy charts and Chinese characters for completing my Chen charts from Huangdi to me.
At Shenzhen, using impossibly scant information I.e., one male name and a small kidney shape island on a narrow river that ran through Shenzhen (Henry’s location was 10 miles away in another part of Shenzhen. I tried for close to one year to match nearby buildings, details etc but to no avail). My only clue was the kidney shaped island and I finally pinpointed a possible village on Google Earth and so we went there by taxi and to my amazement, it was the correct location for our Tang ancestral village. The once fishing village has been torn down and replaced with multi-story apartments. The village leader took us to meet a 100 year old villager who remembered my grandma Tang, my granduncle Tang visiting in 1985 (even correcting his date of birth on my chart because he said my granduncle was 7 years younger than him). He remembered my two uncles -one being the buffalo rider in the above post).
We met a couple of brothers who were our cousins. One had an uncanny resemblance to my granduncle. When we returned for a second visit a few days later, we were introduced to an older lady. She was 88 years old and to our amazement, she was my moms cousin (my grandma Tang’s sisters daughter). What a surprise to find someone almost the same age as my mom alive. She was so happy to meet us. She remembered playing with my mom when they were kids. The last time she and mom have seen each other was about 80 years ago! Cool or what!
Graham, Yes, So far I have written 3 books for my descendents titled “Tham-Chen Family History - Recollections of Kwei Ying Tham”, “Africa- Childhood Memories”, “The Search for Our Ancestral Villages”. I am working on the 4th called “Genealogy - Tham and Chan Lineage”. All of this hard work has been a labor of love, so that future generations will know where we came from, otherwise if my mom had passed on before I had recorded her memories, all would have been lost forever, including the names of our ancestral villages.
For those of you who still have elderly parents or relatives, I would urge you to video or audio record their memories, then whenever you have time, you can transcribe the information into a document for your future generations, complete with photos. It is very time consuming, especially with everyone being busy with our everyday lives but in the end it is very satisfying and well worth the effort.
After my outstanding genealogy trip last month to Shenzhen Kaiping and Enping, in which I took some 2000 photos and about 12 hours of DVD quality video, I imagine I could fill a couple of additional books with just photos chronicling the amazing search for our ancestral villages.
For the videos, it would take an awful lot of time to edit them into several long videos, so plan is to copy them onto USB Flash Drives and send them to my family in Canada and Britain.The videos are in chronological order and DVD quality, so it is almost like they were on the trip with me.
If you are interested in seeing what my Chan ancestral village looks like, go to the category "News Links", then click on the "Amazing Video (Lianjiangli Village-Married Daughters Return)", then view the Youku video link. The village was started in 1380 by the 7th descendent of Chen Mo.
With regard to my Chen zupu, it does not cover Taishan, only Enping. I'm not sure which Chen/Chan villages it covers in Enping as I cannot read or write Chinese
CHEN Mo and four additional descendent generations of his stayed at Chongpancun, Taishan. Then one Chen Di moved to Tanbixicun, Kaiping. After two generations, Dao Zhen moved to start Lianjiangli, Enping in 1380 AD. Here is the link for the map of the villages and Chen generations at their locations.
We tried to find Chongpancun in my trip last November but were told it is only a "county" or "area" not a village. We could not research farther as we ran out of time. However, I believe Henry Tom has visited Chen Mo's village or temple. We did find Tanbixicun which is a very interesting old village. We also spent time at our ancestral village Lianjiangli, which is a twin village with no separation between it and the very old part of it called Huangbutou.
On the map, Shuibiancun is my dad's ancestral village but neither he nor my Grandpa THAM's names could be found in the zupu. My Grandpa Tham left the village for India around perhaps 1904- 1910 (not sure of exact year). Meanwhile, my mom's dad Grandpa Chan left for India in 1900. In India, they were neighbors and became good friends.
We are also not quite sure of my Great Grandpa Tham's name, so it is likely there was no one left to make sure their names were added to the zupu. We think when my dad's sister got married, she took Grandma Tham (wife#1) with her to her new husband's village, thus breaking the link. When we visited, there was no one in the village old enough to remember my dad (born 1920) or Grandpa Tham. The Tham Administrative office kept close guard of the zupu and refused to allow us to buy it. Perhaps they did not believe I was a Tham.
My mom is quite adamant that Shuibiancun (Sui Pin Chin in Cantonese) was the correct village which my dad told her. I do not doubt my mom's memory, as it remains very sharp despite her being almost 92 years old. Her stories of her parents, family and our nomadic world travels on this site are still very vivid and clear. She has told us these stories many times over the past decades and they are always consistent, so we know they are accurate.
Bin Tong Cun is the LAO ancestral village which we also visited. It is home to my uncle LAO Laing who owned the gold mine in Africa. His wife is my Mom's elder sister.
When you visited the Chen Mo ancestral hall in Chongpancun village, Taishan in November 2018, was it at the same location on the map above? We tried to find it last November by car.. We got nearby, then stopped and asked some workmen for directions to Chongpancun but they said there was no village anymore and that Chongpancun was a district or area. If you have a better detailed map, it would be useful for other Chen members or for a future trip I hope I can go on.
Yes, the map has the correct location for Chongpancun.
Isn't this one of the maps I had previously sent to you ?
When you get ready to go to China again, please let me know and I will locate the village on a Chinese map - so all the names of places & roads are in Chinese for your driver and I will also provide a very large scale map of the village.
Thanks for the response. Yes, this was the map you provided. We did find all the other villages on the map without any problems.
When we got near Chongpancun, instead of a ‘“Wild West” stand-off in a Cowboy movie, we were in the middle of a “Wild East” stand-off. We were on a narrow road, wide enough for slightly over one car width and stopped to ask directions from some construction workers pouring concrete. These were the guys that said Chongpancun was a district and not a village. While talking to them, a car from the opposite direction trying to drive through stopped on the road in front of us, thus blocking our path forward and the driver refused to budge, claiming he was there first. Meanwhile the concrete truck at this construction site, having unloaded his concrete was in a hurry to get back to reload. So we were sandwiched in between. Everyone refused to budge. Finally, we decided wisely to let the other two “fight it out” and carefully squeezed backward into the construction area. The car from the opposite direction insisted he was there first in (actuality we were there first). They hollered back and forth for 5 minutes. The much larger concrete truck moved forward so there was no way he was backing off. Finally, the car driver got to his senses and drove his car backwards ( I do not know how far back he had to go). So ended the “Wild East” stand-off without any gun fire or fatalities!! With us already being on a tight schedule, we decided to turnaround and head to the next village, rather than spend time hunting for Chongpancun. Such excitement!
So Henry, any additional map details for my next trip would be greatly appreciated...we must have been very close...not sure why the construction workers gave us incorrect information.
These photos show the empty lot where my grandpa Chan’s family house once stood in my ancestral village Lianjiangli. My grandpa Chan migrated to India in 1900. My cousins said the weather took its toll and it deteriorated with age. Eventually the roof collapsed and the house was torn down. We were honored to find out that the roof tiles were used on the roof of the village temple when the temple was rebuilt.
The first photo shows the empty lot of my ancestral home. In the second photo, my cousins and I are hunting for artifacts for me to take back for my mom.
Amazingly, after 119 years, my cousins said the lot still belongs to my family and we can come back anytime and build on it. The only problem is that access is via two narrow alleyways. Alternately, we could helicopter drop a trailer home from above, but I’m sure the village planning committee would NOT be impressed and we would totally destroy the aesthetic beauty of this village.
My mom said she only visited our village once when grandpa Chan took her there at 5 years of age, which would be around 1933, yet she said her mom would take the children home to China every 2 or 3 years. Apparently, grandma Chan took the kids to her Tang family village Zhucun, rather than to grandpa Chan’s Lianjiangli. I asked why? Apparently, grandma Chan said Lianjiangli was too far away and she had difficulty speaking the Chan family dialect. My earlier post “How I met your mother” from last year and this story now make sense...lol