We continued on into an industrial area of Zhongshan when I noticed palms along the waterways as I had along the highway. Something beeped again at the front of the bus, but neither the driver nor our guide appeared to care. I almost laughed aloud while I observed one of the men lean into the aisle to watch the road. I couldn’t help thinking this was to make sure Mr. Li paid attention to his driving.
At a lull in the loud conversation in Cantonese, Carolyn called out to Russ from the back of the bus. Did he know what the large framed squares and rectangles of water were? Since he sat closer to the front, he raised his voice and addressed Helen, who gave a cryptic answer: fish farms. It’s difficult to tell the approximate sizes as we were not close, and looked downwards from a moving bus. My wild guesstimate is 30 by 30 or 40 feet. A tall apparatus poked out of the center of the sectioned areas and I wondered if might be some sort of filtration system.
Zhongshan Quick Facts
- Palm trees along highway and waterway seemed strange
- Squares / rectangles of waterways framed by grassy strips are fish farms (fish ponds)
- Fish farm water looked clean like a lake or river, but muddy / no rocky bottom
- These are privately run, but government owned
- Shacks here and there not for humans habitation, but for tools and supplies for fish farms
- Usually two, sometimes three rice crops a year
- More about fish farming here
The French bus passed us travelling in the opposite direction. The driver pulled a wide left turn off the highway into a construction site with pipes and newly planted trees. There wasn’t much room to turn around. At last, quiet reigned and we caught up to the French bus again. Two or three kilometers later, we reached town and managed to find our hotel as we trailed the French bus.
After lunch Sue, Lorena and her husband went shopping for a half-hour until 2:00 p.m. at outside vendors. The rest of us stood around and chatted. Helen checked on us and announced she was going to the washroom. I followed because I had no idea where to find the Happy House. She walked into the men’s washroom—not an unusual mistake—rolled her eyes and changed direction with a loud laugh. Afterwards, since there was no paper and the hand dryer didn’t work, she offered me toilet paper from her purse. I said I carried my own, but she insisted. I told her I was prepared to dance and shake my hands to dry them if necessary. This is the second time we exchanged words.
The driver and our guide continued to carry on a loud, spirited discussion. They weren’t quiet for a second. Helen kept playing with her hair, smoothing it and running her fingers through. Neither let up on whatever they were yakking about. He laughed. She continued to push at him with her voice. His knees bounced up and down. I wished he concentrated on his driving. At one point he lowered his voice, knee still bouncing and stared at her in the rear-view mirror. She kept nattering for the one and a half-hour bus ride to the hotel. Our English Group Eight kept moving deeper and deeper into the back of the bus. Sue inserted ear-plugs. Someone clapped their hands but it had no effect on the driver and guide.
Helen moved from sitting behind the driver to the seat opposite him. Why? At least they gave sideways glances at each other instead of talking into the rear-view mirror. I wished Mr. Li kept his eyes on the road instead.
Lily, our previous guide, had told us that Chinese people were not quiet. I thought I noticed a slight blush when she shared this information.
Helen and Mr. Li finally began a more animated conversation compared to what had sounded like murderous arguing. They smiled and sounded happier and were more relaxed, more companionable rather than combatant. Mr. Li smiled more, his voice lowered and his face became more enlivened.
Sue snoozed and I scribbled in my notebook. She had been disappointed only 30 minutes of shopping had been allowed. She managed to buy another T-shirt and was upset shopping around our next hotel may be department stores and not street vendors with whom one might negotiate a better price.
Finally, we arrived at our hotel in Zhongshan around 3:45 p.m.
Others areas in the lobby”
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Next on April 24th – Zhongshan continued
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