Zaoshang hao (Good morning)!
So the past few days we had a short break from school for the Dragon boat festival (12th June) to commemorate the suicide and failed rescue attempt of the famous politician/ poet Qu Yuan. Besides eatting zongzi given to use by Anastasia(sticky rice with various types of fillings wrapped in a bamboo or banana leaf and steamed) we decided a trip to Guangzhou was in order. So after a 10 hour train journey (it was supposed to be 8 hours but the train got delayed) we arrived to terrential downpour. After cleaning up from the journey at the hotel we went exploring, first to buy a box of Modern Masters and then on to explore the rest of the city. It is really quite a beautiful modernish city and very clean for a chinese city.
There is a large variety of foods available in Guangzhou besides the regional cantonese food, it's a pity that we only had two days to really explore and Guangzhou would be quite the culinary adventure but in our two days we had, Chinese Hotpot, German, Japanese and Pizza (needed a cheese fix). Guangzhou is also the city of snacks, in some areas you can't walk 10m without someone selling some sort of food. Just never when we were feeling hungry! If we come back to China again or have a few spare days at the end of the contract (we should be so lucky) I'd quite happily go back to Guangzhou just to try all the food there! Guangzhou is the type of place to go if you want to visit China without going into "real China" and risking having all local dishes be spicy and don't want to go the Beijing or Shanghai.
So what did we do there besides eat I hear you ask. Well... Nan yue tomb- the tomb if the last Nan yue king (generally the south eastern part of china- Guangdong, Guangxi, fujian area) you actually get to go into the tomb and experience how it was laid out, he was buried with 4 concubines, 1 eunuch, 2 guards, 1 musician, and 7 cooks and servants. There's also a museum attached exhibiting all the grave goods which is definately worth a visit.
YueXiu park, not far from the train station its a very peaceful and beautiful place and has part of the old city wall running through it and a museum at the top of the hill in the centre.
Chen Clan academy, this is an ancestral hall/ school building for anyone with the surname Chen. The guide book described the architecture as "Gaudy" and it certainly is if you look to the roof. EVERYTHING and I mean EVERTHING is carved and a lot of it is also painted in bright colours. It has some interesting and impressive displays of what it deemed "folkcrafts" so there was tile painting, woodcarvings, porcelain sculptures, Ivory, Jade and nut carvings. There was also some displays of the typical layouts of a traditional chinese home. I still don't think those pottery pillows looked comfortable, even if the main idea was to provide the sleeper with relief from the heat.
We also visited Lirong Si- a buddhist temple-the Jade market and walked around Shamian Island for a look at the colonial architecture. There was lots more to do but with such a limited amount of time there and with the miserable weather we didn't really get much of a chance to see or do anything else.
Next trip will be after the contract ends now. We have given the last of our lessons, just a week of exams and a week of hanging around at beck and call until it's over. Next stop Xi'an!