We’d had enough of Goat Park and were antsy to leave, Helen our guide asked me to take a picture of her on my iPad. I had no idea why. At the corner of the park where we were supposed to meet, a man fresh-squeezed and sold bottled orange juice. Next to him a girl toasted acorns in a wok for about two minutes. Helen said they were acorns but I wonder if they weren’t chestnuts. This spot she chose for her photograph.
Then she asked me to email her the photo. I wasn’t setup for e-mail I explained. “Never mind,” she said her face pinched and chin dropped. Why hadn’t she given me her cell to take the picture, and why take one at all?
Guangzhou Quick Facts
- Known for silk, jade, porcelain, ceramics
- Arts and crafts museum (in Chen_Clan_Ancestral_Hall)
- Paper cuts
- Old furniture
- Mostly Buddhist, with some Taoism and Catholic beliefs
- Opened city to the world with Canton Tree Fair (also the-canton-fair)
- Chen Family Dynasty gave donation to Chen-Clan-Academy
- Chen Family gave money (1920s) for Chen Family Temple
- Rice: 2 crops / year
- Wheat: 1 winter crop (winter wheat)
- Sun Yatsen first president of China after 1911 Revolution
- Died 1925 of liver cancer
- Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall completed temple built in his name in 1931
The next attraction on our agenda was the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall. Helen and the bus driver talked and talked and talked. Somehow it sounded like a family argument. Mr. Li, some 20+ years younger chewed his lip more than once and kept his peace.
Carolyn and Jim moved from the front seat to the back of our full-sized bus because Helen and the driver were so loud. Lorena asked me if I thought it okay to tell them to keep it down. I had no idea, but I said I’d be hesitant as this was their country and we were the foreigners.
At the temple, we toured mostly the outside. This is a tourist trap. The same magnets, jade, embroidery, paintings, doohickeys and doo-dads were plentiful and on display. One of our ladies bought something expensive and it appeared the tour guide was given a gift. Maybe yes or maybe no.
A young woman, twenty-five or more (maybe less) insinuated herself into our group. She kept bumping into a number of us and me several times. The others in our group succeeded at ignoring her, but she made me uncomfortable because I don’t like anyone so close in my space. After she followed us into a couple of store, I whispered in Lorena’s ear if she thought the girl a pick-pocket and like magic, the girl vanished.
Lunch (13 courses Cantonese dim sum)
- Beef with tomatoes (not enough beef to go around the table)
- Sweet and sour chicken
- Celery / carrots / peanuts and pork
- Fried rice with fried egg and green onions
- Spring rolls (tasty but greasy)
- Fried pork dumplings (looked raw / without taste)
- Corn coup
- Egg and chili pancake thing
- Mushrooms in sauce and a green vegetable I couldn’t identify
- Sprouts with green peppers, onions and slivered carrots
- Potatoes in kind of dough and dipped in sesame
- Pineapple half-slices (white in color…hmm)
- Fried cakes with caramel (cardboard texture)
The room we ate in had room for only four round tables. Ours had eight chairs and I assume each of the other tables did as well. We shared the room with the French group and always knew when they had arrived. Their guide always called out, ‘Un. Deux. Trois.’ He pointed to the tables as if they were children. Soon, the noise became deafening in the box of a room and I couldn’t wait for the end of lunch.
On the bus again, the discussion at the front went on and on. Helen reached over the aisle for her purse at the something beeping, took a quick glance at us, her passengers, and continued her conversation with the driver.
Next time on April 17th: Guangzhou, Day 1, Part 3 and to Zhongshan
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