A Travellerspoint blog

April 2017

Quick trip to Shenzhen

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I had another short weekend, so I left as early as possible on Saturday morning. It took five hours at least, just to get to the metro station in Shenzhen. Wow. I was told by a crazy Chinese person who I thought had common sense, that it was three hours. No way not even close.

I was pleasantly surprised that the bus station I ended up at in Shenzhen was only one metro stop away from my hostel. Especially because the woman at the Luoding bus station wouldn't just sell me any ticket, I had to know what neighborhood I wanted to go to. I didn't know the word for "any" so I just kept making wild gestures that I hoped conveyed the message. Finally someone came over and told her what any meant. I got a random ticket to Shenzhen.

After arriving at the YHA hostel in the OCT Loft arts district, I was assigned a top bunk. I asked if there was a bottom bunk and she said no. I went to my room and it stunk like wet clothing that had been festering in a pile for weeks. I went back down and she told me to open the door to air the room out. I told her that wouldn't fix it and brought a woman with me to prove how bad it stunk. She came back down and presumably told her the truth about the smell. Finally they moved me up to the fourth floor, where there was, you guessed it, TWO lower bunks available. I was irritated, to say the least.

I went back down and on my way out, I noticed a sign with the official rates of the hotel, 10 yuan less than what I paid on the official website. Still mad I demanded my 10 yuan back. I didn't care about anything at this point. She gave it back to me, surprisingly. I was not impressed with this hostel at all, but that 10 yuan made it a little more palatable.

I found the main warehouse gallery which now houses modern art, and watched a few short art films. That was about it.
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The rest of the district is just small boutiques and of course a Starbucks.
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I found a brew pub called Peko not too far away, so I decided to get some exercise and walked down there. It was easy to find because someone nice had posted very detailed directions on Tripadvisor. It was in a really cool little alley off of another alley, so it would've been tough to find on my own.
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I ordered a beer flight and some barbecue skewers from the place next door.
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I thought the owner was weird, he was yelling at his Chinese wife and also his son, who was happy and playing with a dump truck or something, harmlessly. His wife didn't feel like talking English to me and she called her husband the owner over, to talk to me. He grumbled and made me carry my own beers out to the table. Ugh. The beer was good, but I wouldn't go back there.
The barbecue was awesome, so if I ever did, I'd content myself with the Tsingtao instead of buying from that guy again.
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I speed walked home, singing Counting Crows tunes (yeah I still haven't changed my library since Canada). There's nothing else on there. I'm dumb.

The woman I was sharing a room with kept her lamp on until midnight. I even had to tell her to turn the big light off in the room, because I guess it wasn't obvious that I was trying to sleep? Weird. I had my revenge though, when I woke up at 7 a.m., ready to tackle the day. I had planned to get a fancy hotel restaurant brunch buffet but then suddenly got lazy and walked down the street until I saw Wal-Mart. Honestly, how depressing is that. -And I got a box of Wal-Mart noodles and sat down in this park beside the art gallery I wanted to go to. It didn't open unti 9:30 so I had some time to kill.
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The design gallery beside it was closed. Of course.
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So then, I took the metro down to the Shenzhen Museum. I was confused because my Lonely Planet map had pointed me in a different direction than the written directions did. Some sort of Russian/Arab guy came to offer me unsolicited "help" and made me only more confused. Finally I found a security guard who sent me the right way. The written directions were correct.

The museum has a huge exhibit which must be funded by the banks, because it's the very detailed story of how Shenzhen became a Special Economic Zone in the 80s and all about all the things the factories made here and all of the different trade shows. I enjoyed this fancy car with a Chinese politician standing in front of it. I'm not sure who it was. Maybe Deng Xiaopeng?
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There was also a really lovely exhibit from Tibet, which was thinly veiled as an attempt to culturally assimilate that region into China.
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Aside from those things, there's a massive collection of taxidermied animals. I'm not sure we need these in this day and age. You can search out any videos of any animal on the internet, so... I'm not sure what the point of these dead things on display proves.

After that, I went back to the bus station and the ticket woman impatiently waved me over to the special desk, because she didn't understand my "Luoding". I refused and then she tried harder to understand and I got my ticket the non-handicapped way. I quickly picked up some more dim sum for the road and then drifted in and out of consciousness all the way home.

Posted by baixing 04:52 Archived in China Tagged shenzhen Comments (0)

Disappointing beach

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I had a short weekend, because I was invited to attend the opening of the culture festival on Friday night. The beach at Yangjiang wasn't too far away, so I took the first bus out there at 8:20 a.m. The entire time we were driving, this old woman with a terrible cough sat beside me and would not lean back in her chair, as if she was avoiding me. Racist jerk.
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I didn't actually make it to the beach until about noon.
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But the good part was, I could walk to my hotel from the bus station and it was a nice day. The walk was pretty long, but it was nice to enjoy the beach on a cloudy day, when no one was there. The hotel I booked was all the way down at the end of the beached. I marched directly there.
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Once inside, there was a distinct smell of wet dog but a nice view, so I didn't complain.
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Nobody had attempted to improve the smell at all. I opened the two tiny windows and turned the fan to high. I was in desperate need of a shower, so I cleaned up and then headed out.

The beach here had too many rules and I never quite figured them out. I know this: you will get whistled at by a very smelly man, if you try to walk the entire length of the beach. If you cross the rope he is defending, he will yell at you and follow you until he gives up. Then, if you cross the next rope, down the beach, there is another smelly man who will not let you cross it again, and leave for some reason. This was all very confusing because there were a lot of people walking around not getting whistled and yelled at who were doing the same thing as I was. It was quite unpleasant. I managed to make my way down to the other end of the beach, out the other side and continued on towards Ma Wei island.

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The beach was clean and soft, but I wanted to go for a walk. I saw on China Travel Guide, there was some sort of an island "20 minutes" away on foot. Um, no it was more like an hour, and I had to navigate a dirt road full of debris, such as broken windows and hazardous waste spilling from paint cans and other unknown vessels.

Me Wei (Horse tail) island, was packed with at least three tour buses, which had passed me on the way there. There were a lot of abandoned restaurants there, which was highly disappointing, because I was feeling ravenous at that point. Garbage was strewn all over the beach, and I wasn't as impressed by the sunset as other people seemed to be. It was interrupted by large fishing trawlers making a racket anyway.

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I strolled on back down the road I had came on, and found a large restaurant that seemed to be open. It was built right on top of the water and had one of those aquariums, so I thought the fish would be fresh.
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There were some local people fishing off of the edge of the dock there, and one of them spoke English. He said this place's food was "OK", but there was nowhere else to go, so I waited until they opened. When the chef arrived, I ordered some clams. He brought them to my table with pepper sauce and it was quite good.

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However, at least 10 or 12 of the clams didn't open and the very last one (after I had eaten the rest of them) was all black inside. I was horrified. They tried to charge me 56 yuan for this terrrible dish, but I left 20 and wrote BAD on the check. After that, I probably contracted another parasite to add to my collection. Who knows what'll be wrong with me in the morning.

I walked back to town and unfortunately I was only wearing flip flops. I hadn't anticipated this long walk, and my feet were killing by the time I got back. I fell asleep quite early after watching some fireworks on the beach from my window.

I got up too early and felt dehydrated. I drank a lot of tea and then pooped out all of the clams, hopefully.

I decided to get brunch and go home at 3 p.m. The last bus of the day, instead of leaving in the morning on Monday. I went down to the beach with my journal and towel for a few hours, observing the peaceful fishermen. That was very nice and relaxing.

Brunch was soup with some fresh seafood thrown ontop, along with some seafood dim sum dumplings. Here were some of my choices:
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Posted by baixing 04:29 Archived in China Tagged yangjiang Comments (0)

Back to the city

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In the morning I hopped on a little crappy mini bus and went to the metropolis of Meizhou.
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I was on the hunt for "coiled dragon" houses, the traditional architectural style of the Hakka people. I found them, but I have to say it was a little underwhelming. In Nankou village, there was supposed to be a big one, open to the public, but it was all locked up. In the other buildings, people actually still lived there, so I felt a little strange just walking up to their homes and taking pictures.

Rice fields for Jeremy
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Some traditional Hakka homes
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I walked back to town and ate a huge plate of fried noodles. I can actually pronounce it in Chinese now. CHAO MIAN. You know, like "chow main" in North America. Yep. Amazing. The bus was packed on the way back and was not a good time. I managed to find the #6 bus to the Hakka museum once we got back to town. The only thing a little bit interesting was this model of the coiled dragon home. It was quite obviously built for protection, because the Hakka people were a persecuted minority when the Han people came down from the north.

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The women at the info booth were kind, and even gave me a free bag from the museum. They tried their best to help me get to my next destination, which was "Meizhou Old Street", but they ultimately failed. I walked around for a good hour before I found it and it was also underwhelming.
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On my way back, I picked up a HUGE bag of dim sum and enjoyed it as I tried to find my way home. All the trains were full, so two college students helped me get to the bus station and buy a ticket for the overnight bus to Guangzhou. That was a pretty good idea. Except for waiting for three hours in front of Tianhe station until it opened. I managed to stay awake, and then caught the first bus home.

Posted by baixing 00:35 Comments (0)

Some wonderful help in Chayang

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Once back in Dabu, I took another bus to Chayang. It was also longer than expected and I found myself drifting in and out of consciousness in the warm sun bath I enjoyed coming in from the window on my left. The undulating hills were also a little bit hypnotic. It was a nice bus ride.

When we finally got there, a teenager stopped me and asked if she could help me. She wanted to know what I wanted to see. I showed her my guidebook and she took me to all the places in the book. There was an ancient archway in front of her high school, which commemorated when someone passed the imperial examination about 400 years ago.
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There was also an old mansion a rich businessman built.
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And an old soviet department store, which has been upgraded, and no longer displays communist slogans.
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I had a picture of some goats for Shylo and my bus friend, but they have disappeared. I don't trust my SD card in my camera anymore. I will switch back to the other one when I get home.

My bus friend helped me find a place to stay, because there were no more buses going to Meizhou that night.

I spent the afternoon wandering around the old town and eating special bamboo shoot dumplings.
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Posted by baixing 00:26 Comments (0)

I lost all the photos of Baihou :(

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I wanted to go with Jessica to this jimjilbang she found in Guangzhou, but suddenly she changed her mind about which day we were going, and it messed up all of my plans, so I went on my own to Dabu, where there were some old Hakka villages.

I took the bus early in the morning to Guangzhou, and tried to get out of there as fast as possible, but it was total chaos. That was everyone else's plan as well. I had to go across the city to the correct bus station, which was a complete nightmare. Everywhere I wanted to go was fenced off and impossible for me to navigate. Eventually, I just started yelling WO BU DONG and pointing at where I wanted to go. I could see my gate, but had no idea how to get there. Finally, the guard took pity on me. I'm sure I wasn't the first one to do that. He let me through the "out only" gate. That simply never existed on a normal day, and I went to get on my bus.

Prior to this, I had been waiting four hours for my bus, presumably because they had already all sold out. So, after sitting around stuffing my face with overpriced mapo tofu, I was not in the mood for these crowd control measures that made no sense.

The bus ride was way longer than I anticipated, but still it wasn't that late when we arrived. I walked around trying to find a cheap place and eventually I did, at 11:30 p.m. At 10, I had found an OK place, but I thought it was early, so I kept looking. I didn't find any cheaper places, so on principle, I had to keep looking because by then, I had already forgot where the first place was. Ugh. It ended up working out for the best anyway. I found a little guest house with fresh blankets (non-moldy smelling sheets are a rarity around here). I took a shower and tried to wake up early for my adventures in the countryside in the morning.

It was hard to get out of bed, but I did it, and took the bus to Baihou, a little village with western influenced mansions amidst rice fields. I wandered around, getting lost amongst the greenery. Eventually, I found my way back, and a nice minibus driver picked me up to bring me back to Dabu.

My photos inexplicably disappeared, so I stole some of these photos from China Daily.

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Posted by baixing 00:10 Comments (0)

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