A Travellerspoint blog

November 2016

Kicked out of god's house

Mohamed joined us for a jaunt to the Guangzhou museum of art, which he complained about because there weren't any "old artifacts". Yeah dude, it's an art gallery that's why.

The building was huge but most of the rooms were closed, so it didn't take too long to see the whole thing.

After the museum, we went our separate ways. I wanted to see some temples, Mohamed had a party to go to and Melody just wanted to go home.

The temples were peaceful and nice, originally built in the fifth century. From there, I went to the mosque, which was the first one built in China, but they wouldn't let me in because I had shorts on. So, I went to the cathedral, which had the same rules, but they handed me a skirt, which felt really grody, so I just handed it right back and left, a little disappointed. I really don't believe that god cares whether I'm covering my knees or not in a place of worship. From this I gather that buddha is more compassionate than the god of the jews. Just more reasons to be an atheist, blah.

Melody's mom made us some awesome mushrooms for dinner, which were gathered from the side of a mountain and very nutritious, she said.

I went to bed really early so I could wake up at 5:30 and catch my bus home.

Temple of the six banyan trees

Temple of the six banyan trees


Old street in Guangzhou

Old street in Guangzhou


another temple

another temple


Cathedral

Cathedral

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

Slimey Mohamed

I took the bus after class again on Friday afternoon and arrived in Guangzhou a little bit early to meet my host Melody.

I went to her metro station and I had a few hours to kill, so conveniently, there was a glasses store and a passport photo shop right next to it. So, I went glasses shopping and got my passport photo taken. I'm gonna need it for my trip to Laos in January. I got some new purple glasses and eight visa photos. Ready to go for maybe another year or two of crazy Chinese bureaucracy. You always need a visa photo for everything.

Melody had one of her couchsurfers meet me at the station, his name was Rune and he was Mongolian. He told me his favourite book was Into the Wild and he's traveling like his hero, without any money. I could feel him egging me on and hinting that he needs money. I wasn't about to pitch in for this experiment.

Melody's mom makes dinner every night for her father and his father's workers. They do construction work and all eat together at the end of the day. Rune and I chowed down. He was really hungry.

After that we went to the weekly couchsurfing meetup near the opera house. That night there was a light festival, so it was packed. We met some nice people and a couple of annoying ones, who we talked about all the way home.

In the morning Melody and I went to the Guangzhou museum and the Guangzhou art gallery, which are next to each other in Yuexiu park. Rune had to go to a "meeting" and I speculated in my own mind at what that actually meant.

Anywho, the museums were cool, and I found out that I had visited all four of China's best ancient towers. Without even trying! Imagine that.

It rained a little bit on us on the way home and we took a nap. Later that evening an Egyptian guy showed up. Wouldn't you know it, it's the one who was looking for "friends with benefits" on the couchsurfing chat group... Mohamed. I was not impressed. We had gotten into a fight online three months ago and the rest of the couchsurfing people attacked him for it too. The thread was eventually deleted so I had no proof that this actually happened. I explained the situation to Melody and she was also surprised. I didn't say anything to Mohamed, so he treated me like anyone. Asking me to find him a job after meeting me for five seconds, and telling me that I have to learn more Chinese, while bragging about his proficiency at German.

We all ate her mom's amazing dinner and went to bed.

Melody and me at the museum

Melody and me at the museum

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

Locked out

My Sunday was spent island hopping from Whampoa Military Academy to the Guangdong Museum of art on Ersha island. The military school was a little underwhelming, even though the museum was quite informative. The rooms were all closed, so there was nothing to see except the rebuilt school, which was destroyed 60 years ago.

I had no change for the ferry, so I sprung for some hawthorn candy, which I munched on while on my way to the gallery.

I didn't expect much but the museum was actually really great. There were some old clothing embroidered delicately by hand from the early 20th century. There was also a really nice exhibit on Chinese train travel through the years, something I'm already missing this year.

At about 4 p.m. I was getting tired again, so I headed back to Pietro's. He had gone to Tianjin on business, and I had no idea if Pear would be home. Of course she wasn't, and I waited for at least an hour and then gave up. I went back to the front of the community to find wifi at the restaurant. I managed to connect with Pietro through Skype and he said Pear would get home at 8:30 p.m. I ordered some tofu and pork and snacked on it until the battery in my iPod wore down. When that happened, I walked back and Pear was there, finally. I fell asleep quickly and made my way home in the morning.

Whampoa Military Academy

Whampoa Military Academy


Whampoa Military Academy

Whampoa Military Academy


The ferry to Whampoa

The ferry to Whampoa


Guangdong Museum of Art

Guangdong Museum of Art


Guangdong Museum of Art

Guangdong Museum of Art


Waiting and eating tofu

Waiting and eating tofu

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

The ol' bait and switch

I took the bus straight after class and found myself at Tianhe station just in time for dinner a my host Pietro's house. He met me with his girlfriend Pear and their dog Sleepy outside their massive gated community. I brought some expensive wine but it tasted just as good as the cheap stuff. Pietro made pumpkin soup and stew while Pear made cilantro rice.

In the morning I left a little later than I planned because Pietro prepared a nice breakfast of home made bread and yogurt.

I went to Dongshan, a historic part of town with a few buildings from the early 20th century.

That was nice, but I had to go back to the opera house for what I thought was a Shakespeare play. I picked up some sushi and a snack for my lunch in the park. I went to the theatre at 2 p.m. and sat down. All there was was a screen with ads for pre-recorded performances from London. I started to clue in that it was not going to be a performance, it was only a movie.

I asked for a refund and a manager marched me down to the ticket office. I told him there was no indication on the website that all these plays for 160 yuan were actually only movies. He realized the English website was inaccurate and apologized. So I got my money back and went back downtown to the tomb of King Nanyue. It had a ton of beautiful jade treasures which construction workers found in the gravesite of this insanely extravagant ancient leader.

After that, I was really tired, so I went back to Pietro's house where they already had dinner waiting for me. Pear had made some awesome Chinese food. On the way home my sandal fell apart! I had them for one year and was very emotional about it. My previous pair of Chacos lasted a lot longer than that. Later they replaced them for free, but they wouldn't send them to China so I have to wait for them.

Dongshan

Dongshan


Dongshan

Dongshan


Dongshan

Dongshan


Dongshan

Dongshan


My picnic in the park

My picnic in the park


Guangzhou Opera House

Guangzhou Opera House


Guangzhou Opera House

Guangzhou Opera House


Guangzhou Opera House

Guangzhou Opera House


King Nanyue's tomb

King Nanyue's tomb


King Nanyue's tomb

King Nanyue's tomb


King Nanyue's tomb

King Nanyue's tomb

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

Sun yat sen's house and Chen family hall

I headed off to the South Island to see sun yat sen's office and house. He lived here when he was appointed to change the government from imperial to a republic in the 1920s. I always like to pretend I'm living in that time when I visit these places so that was fun.

I walked back along the river and past miles of wedding dress stores. Titor told me that most Chinese women only rent their dress so they can get the most extravagant one.

I tried to find the lingnan art gallery but it was closed, I'm not sure if it was forever or not, but it seemed to have been a recent decision.

With a few more hours of energy left I went to the Chen Ancestral Hall to the north. I bought some way overpriced fruit and had a picnic inside. My toe was aching so I rested at a convenient picnic table for a while. A Chinese family started talking to me about teaching their kids. Sorry I don't live here lady!

This place was utterly destroyed in the 1980s but since then it had been built right back up. Now it's colourful and very beautiful. I can only imagine how nice it would feel to arrive here after a long journey and rest. This was a special hotel reserved only for people from the Chen family clan.

I was so tired after that so I went back to Sunny and Titor's house. We waited for sunny to finish work and then had some dim sum and went to bed.

So lifelike!

So lifelike!


Sun yat sen's room

Sun yat sen's room


Sun yat sen's mansion

Sun yat sen's mansion


Sun yat sen's mansion

Sun yat sen's mansion


Sun yat sen's mansion

Sun yat sen's mansion


Chen clan ancestral hall

Chen clan ancestral hall


Still working on it

Still working on it


Chen clan ancestral hall

Chen clan ancestral hall

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

Guangdong museum

I caught the bus at 8 in the morning but I probably should have gone earlier. By the time I got to the museum it was noon. I spent the whole day there and my toe wasn't hurting too bad. I liked the dragon boat display and the exhibits built into a fake mountainside. There was also a magical marine wildlife display, with perhaps real dolphins and sharks hanging from the ceiling. The museum is shaped like a lacquer box but I didn't see too many actual lacquer boxes inside...

When the museum closed I met Titor at his work and then almost immediately went home to bed.

Guangdong museum

Guangdong museum


Dragon boats

Dragon boats


Diaolou display

Diaolou display

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)