A Travellerspoint blog

Guanlan Printmaking Base

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The next day turned out a lot better. I found the "print making base" which has a really great historical village that is artfully restored. It kept the original feel of the Hakka construction with tasteful modern upgrades. I was really happy I had come, but I was too early to see much art, so I walked down the road to this enormous print art museum.


The China Print Museum was an architectural wonder in the middle of nowhere, north of Shenzhen. I was really astounded at such beautiful design out in the suburbs of Guangdong. And only about three other people were also visiting that morning. I had the whole glorious place to myself! I soaked up the international printed pieces, which had some surprisingly political themes. I just couldn't believe this place existed, it was such a nice way to spend the day. I hadn't seen any worthwhile art in a long time, so I stayed there for a while.


On my way back, it started pouring and everything I owned got wet. Including my fairly new passport, which I would have to replace in the near future because the Chinese consulate would refuse to put a new visa in there. I eventually found the bus back to Shenzhen and it wasn't long until I was back in the city. A cute older couple from Hong Kong told me all about their golf club that they love right down the street from the printmaking base. They had never been to it or heard of it or the giant museum, just a couple minutes down the road from their fancy golf club cottage that they frequent on holidays about once a month for more than thirty years...hmm...

I took the subway all the way to the ferry port in Shekou, my next destination was Zhuhai. I was whisked off without delay in a very organized manner onto the speedy ferry boat that plunked me down in Zhuhai in exactly one hour. The whole process was like heaven, truly. No giant lines, no sweaty Asians pushing me around. Wide open, cool spaces. It was such a relief. I was really glad I didn't take yet another bus to get there. The ferry is really the best way to get to Zhuhai.


My next mission was to get to an old garden by 5:30 p.m., when they closed the gates. Bus #3 got me most of the way there, but then I had to speedwalk 1.5 km more. I got there right at 5 p.m., quickly got the feel of the place, then left for the bus station in an attempt to make the last bus home.


I didn't know what time it might be at, but it turned out I was too late for it anyway. It was not to be. The next bus home was tomorrow, so I went looking for a place to stay. I found a guy from Colorado who was nice enough to wander around and also eat dinner with me. Eventually we found a quiet, cheap place for me to stay at not far from the bus station. We wandered around some more and I found a suitcase that I needed for my next trip to Beijing. I was moving house again. Three bags with all my belongings, taking it all the way up north on the slow train!

Posted by baixing 11:42 Archived in China Tagged ferry shenzhen zhuhai guanlan Comments (0)

Dapeng fortress

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I slept as long as possible and then I went to see Dapeng Fortress. It was thronged with people and children, so I had an expensive lotus salad at a place that let me sit where I wanted. Another French cafe wouldn't let me sit on the comfortable chairs because "It was for four people". Are you kidding me? I'd rather go somewhere else than sit on your crappy plastic chairs because you are waiting for a group that will never come. How terrible. Anyway, the lotus was nice and my watermelon juice was way smaller than promised but it was nice to get out of the sun for a while.


I walked around sweating for a while, but it was too busy. So I left for the complete other side of town to try and find Guanlan Printmaking Base. Two very kind young women helped me find the bus which I must've rode for 2-3 hours. We even had the police pull us over once, and when we all got off, the ticket lady saved my seat for when we got back on. That was nice, but I realized maybe she thought I was pregnant? Oh damn, did I really get that fat this year? Then, when I got to my stop, another woman tried to help me find my second bus. She couldn't, but dug through her purse for two minutes in order to give me a flyer for a weight loss diet shake.

"You beautiful!" she exclaimed as she handed it to me. Oh damn, I guess I AM that fat this year. Guh....

I found my second bus and the driver took me to a hotel which was really nice for 168 yuan. I bought a couple papayas and yogurt to cry myself to sleep over (kidding!) but I did definitely feel less bloated after that dinner for sure :P

Posted by baixing 10:25 Archived in China Tagged shenzhen dapeng guanlan Comments (0)

Crazy local men are always tricking me

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Friday after lunch I headed to Guangzhou to hop on a fast train to Shaoguan. I had been putting off this trip to Wuzhishan (Nanling National Park) for a while, because I was sure it would fail and turn into an absolute gong show. And I was right.

I arrived in Shaoguan at around 10:30 p.m. and took a moto taxi to my hostel. First mistake. He nodded when I showed him the address, but as we went along, it was clear he had no idea where he was going. I jumped off at a stoplight and walked the rest of the way.

I found the corner where the hostel supposedly was, but of course it wasn't there. I asked a nice shop owner to help and he was very kind about it. He waited with me for the hostel owners to show up.

When they did, all smiling and happy to see me, they brought me up to the tiny apartment which they had turned into a hostel. This place was hiding in a terrible apartment complex, impossible to find from the street. Anyway, they were friendly and promised to take me to the bus station in the morning.

I got about four hours of sleep on the rock hard bunk bed and waited for the owner to show up at 6 a.m. like he promised. He never did, so I just went by myself. The bus was easy to find and after two hours of snoozing, I found myself in Wuzhishan, at the foot of a huge forested mountain. I was not in a rush to get to the top, but decided I'd ask a taxi driver where to have lunch and sleep.

Second mistake: (Mistakes usually involve overly friendly local men by the way) He said it would cost 40 yuan to go to the restaurant. He didn't say I'd have to pay 100 yuan more for the park ticket, because the restaurant was in the park. On top of that, the hotel was 150 yuan. I'd rather go to one of the places down the mountain and go into the park the next day. But how do you explain that to some jerk taxi driver when he's already got you in his car? If I stayed down the mountain, my ticket would be good for two days, because they have some sort of special stamp that will make your ticket last longer. I didn't like all these extra costs adding up so I got suspicious and indignant. I wanted to jump out of the car, but I felt trapped.

He brought me into the park and to a small shitty "restaurant" and "hotel" that had no other guests and a small pot of rice boiling on a charcoal stove on the ground. I was really angry and decided to walk back to the last parking lot I saw and try to get out. He grabbed me by the wrist and I used my self defence knowledge to break out of his grip. Then he grabbed my bag tightly and I couldn't get out of that one. I screamed and almost started crying yelling "DON'T LIKE" at him over and over. He finally let me go and I started to walk all the way back down.

The crazy guy got in his car and kept driving past me back and forth, at least three times, as I walked amongst the glorious pine trees, back down the mountain. I found a kind shop keeper who spoke English and he told me there was a park bus included in my ticket! Well that changes everything. The Lonely Planet said I'd have to hire a driver for everything! That's how I got into this mess with the taxi driver in the first place. The shopkeeper said I could take the bus back for free. So, I waited for it. To my non-surprise, guess who showed up at the souvenir shop while I was waiting! Crazy taxi guy. This time I had someone to defend me and I went outside to wait for the bus, while the nice shopkeeper explained the situation.

This is his car:

This is his tour guide ID:

The bus came, but I took it the wrong way, and we went around the whole mountain to the entrance again. It was peaceful as long as no other Chinese people got on. That was enjoyable, but I never did any hiking like I wanted to. There was no mention of this park bus in the Lonely Planet or any website I saw before I got there. This whole unpleasantness could have been avoided if I knew about that bus.

I sulked around the little town for a while and found a small restaurant that had a big group waiting for lunch. They made me some pork and spicy peppers with rice. I was happy again, but fed up with this place, so I got back on the next bus to Shaoguan. There was a train leaving for Shenzhen, via Guangzhou, so I decided to do that.

I sat down on the train beside a nice guy who told me he could find a hostel for me when we got to Shenzhen. Third mistake. In reality, he had no idea where the hostel was, and tried to get me to stay at on of these "safe" expensive places. Every time someone in the street yelled BINGUAN at me, he told me it wasn't safe and we kept walking in circles until finally I told him to go away.

When he finally left, I couldn't find any of those ladies yelling BINGUAN anymore! So, I walked for another hour to the hostel in the Lonely Planet. It had turned into a nightclub, so I wandered around some more, and got turned down many times, because many cheap hotels down't accept foreigners. We are expected to stay in the fancy luxurious ones. Geez. Finally, at 2 a.m., I found a tiny place that welcomed foreigners.

Posted by baixing 08:28 Archived in China Tagged shenzhen wuzhishan nanling Comments (0)

My home in Luoding

I didn't take any photos of my classroom or home all year so here is the view from my classroom window. It was a really nice classroom, I thought, although it was on the sixth floor and there was no elevator.


And here is a video of my five minute commute between home and school.

Posted by baixing 08:23 Archived in China Tagged college luoding polytechnic Comments (0)

Day trip to the countryside

sunny 31 °C
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One of my students, Wendy wanted to go to the countryside this long weekend. Her friend Sheena lives on a small farm, and we'd only have to travel about 45 minutes, so I could go even though I didn't have my passport. It's currently in Beijing, getting my new work visa stamped into it.

We took the bus at 7:40 a.m. and Sheena met our bus on the side of the road, we took it until a small town, which had an unkempt temple.
Wendy, Sheena and her sister burnt some incense and we walked back down the stairs in the scorching heat.

Next, we hired an Uber (Didi in Chinese "little brother" how cute) to take us to the childhood home of an important general who fought back during the Japanese invasion in Shanghai in 1932. The driver waited for us while we walked around the grounds in slow motion. It was so hot, moving quickly was not an option.

Our driver brought us to another temple, which was gearing up for the dragon boat festival. 20,000 people were expectd to attend, but I got kicked out again, because I was wearing shorts.

There were some nice rice fields nearby, so I took more photos for Jeremy. Some of them are already almost ready to harvest.

We ran to the bus which stopped just as we made it back to the road. I fell asleep sitting straight up, and even had a couple bizarre dreams on the short bus ride back to Sheena's house. The heat was so stifling I couldn't stay awake.

Once we got back, Sheena's mom had lunch ready for us, of fried fish, pork and green beans. Delicious.


I slept for three more hours and Wendy slept for two. She was feeling sick, so we went back home early. I was invited to stay overnight, but when I told them I didn't have any clothes, they just laughed and told me to go home. We came to this conclusion after a very long discussion. I'm supposed to go back again in a week or two, we'll see if that transpires or not.

Waiting for the bus back home on the side of the road, I was swarmed by midges, which Wendy told me lived in the cow poop that I happened to be standing on. Oh... OK, thanks for the heads up. I noticed my left cheek and legs were covered in the bites, that I had acquired after only 10 minutes of waiting there with bare legs. Sigh! They burned so severely I wanted to die. The next couple days I spent filling myself with antihistamines again. Reminding me of the horrible midges in the southern interior of Brazil and on the coast of Cambodia.

Posted by baixing 06:11 Archived in China Tagged village luojing Comments (0)

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.

The rest of the district is just small boutiques and of course a Starbucks.

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.

I ordered a beer flight and some barbecue skewers from the place next door.

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.

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.

The design gallery beside it was closed. Of course.

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?

There was also a really lovely exhibit from Tibet, which was thinly veiled as an attempt to culturally assimilate that region into China.
DSC01804.jpg DSC01806.jpg

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.

I didn't actually make it to the beach until about noon.
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.

Once inside, there was a distinct smell of wet dog but a nice view, so I didn't complain.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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:

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.

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

Some traditional Hakka homes
DSC01764.jpg DSC01767.jpgDSC01768.jpgDSC01769.jpgDSC01770.jpgDSC01771.jpgDSC01772.jpgDSC01774.jpg

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.


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.

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.

There was also an old mansion a rich businessman built.

And an old soviet department store, which has been upgraded, and no longer displays communist slogans.

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.

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.


Posted by baixing 00:10 Comments (0)

Some "bagua" villages around Zhaoqing

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I went back to Zhaoqing after getting rained out last weekend. It was pretty cold and I booked a cheap hotel on booking.com, but it was a little hard to find. I showed the address to someone at an apartment building where I thought the hotel was. He kindly got his son to look up the actual address, and quickly showed me the way.

Again, they didn't find my booking. I thought booking.com was the most commonly used site around, guess not. Also, they didn't take debit cards, so I had to wander around looking for a bank before they would let me take a shower. Finally I paid and everything, ate whatever peanuts were left in my bag and then tried to take a shower. Wouldn't you know it? No hot water. I went down to the lobby in a towel and she told me to take a shower in another random room. Ugh. So annoying. I know I went with the cheap hotel, but really? Anyway, I didn't sleep well because there were mosquitoes coming in from the windows that didn't have any screens on them. Sigh.

It was easy to get to the first village about 20 km from town, once I had the correct directions, that I received last week from my waitress. I took bus 315 from the bus station beside the train station. Everything was going fine. Even the ticket lady showed me the way to the village when I got off.

A bagua village is shaped like a yin yang symbol. There is a big one in the middle of town and all the buildings radiate from there. From above, it looks really cool. Walking around in it from the ground, is extremely confusing.

The first village, Lisha, was on a little river or canal.

One of the many entrances into the village.

The yin yang in the centre of town

No one really lives there anymore, so it was quiet and spooky seeing all the abandoned buildings. Frequently, I would walk into an abandoned house and be greeted by the flapping wings of birds, desperate to escape from me. Other times, I would hear people singing or humming, and I wasn't quite sure if it was a human or a ghost. Everytime I stopped walking to hear the ghost better, it would stop singing. It must've been a coincidence, right?
People just left all their things behind, when they left this village to live in more modern housing.
Sometimes there were huge plants living in the stone buildings.
This is the ring road around the village, so it was hard to get lost.

I think this might have been an old dock for boats.

Lisha village from above:

The other bagua village was Xianggang and it was two obscure buses away. I showed the Chinese words to the ticket man and he told me to get off and change to the 308 bus. The next ticket man was not so friendly. He just yelled at me and shooed me to the back of the bus when I tried to show him my paper. It was lucky that I saw one sign that said something like Xianggang in pinyin and I got off there. That guy was not gonna help me.

There was a market in front of the old village so I couldn't find it at first. I bought some snacks from a friendly lady, and she told me to get back on the bus, there was no bagua village there. I was confused until another nice lady told me to walk straight until I see a tree. She was exactly correct.

This village was full of "ancestral halls", places where family members come to eat together and worship the ancestors. One of them was open and there were about 200 people inside, chowing down with heaps of food in giant bowls. I was so surprised to see them, that I didn't take a picture. This village was much the same as the last one, so I didn't feel bad leaving after rambling around for about a half hour. I felt like I had experienced the bagua village and probably won't need to see another one in my whole life.

An example of a seldom used ancestral hall:

One of the big trees outside the bagua village:

A nice path leading to a well kept up ancestral hall:

So similar to the last village.

Posted by baixing 20:27 Archived in China Tagged zhaoqing Comments (0)

Rainy day in Zhaoqing

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After lunch at home, I walked all the way down to the bus station in the afternoon and hopped a bus to Zhaoqing. I wanted to go to the beach but it was going to rain all weekend, so I thought it would be better to go to the city instead.

I had just bought a Hostelling International membership, so I used it on the one HI hostel in town. The guy didn't get my booking, so it took me about an hour to get him to call the head office and confirm it. He was gonna charge me some other price, I couldn't understand him, so I wouldn't pay until he called the head office.

I had some takeout for dinner because it was raining already.

in the morning, it was raining again, I went to the "plum monastery" on the west side of town.

It was a lot smaller than I expected, so I just left and started walking around the city walls.
The wall was under construction in a few places, so I had to climb up and down a few times.
There was a lot of really nice art on the walls.
And typical Chinese decorations.
These are the walls from the outside.
At this point, I was still pretty dry.
It wasn't even 9 a.m. yet, and I was wondering what to do with my day. I thought I could go out to Dinghu Shan for a bit. I didn't want to walk around in the dreary drizzle, so I bought the full ticket, including the bus up the hill. It was about 100 yuan. I hate that hiking in China is so expensive, but it's a nice barrier to keep all of the crowds out, usually. This time, it wasn't the case though.
You can take the bus there all the way for 2 yuan, so that's nice. As usual, you must walk past a long line of tourist shops before you get to the ticket office. I got on the bus and we passed tons and tons of students, all dressed in uniform tracksuits. So funny. They were trudging up the hill to the biggest "ding" in the world. A ding is an ancient three legged pot that was used for cooking food in, or for ceremonial purposes in the olden days. I don't think anyone is going to contest this world record anytime soon.
I wanted to get a boat and go out to "butterfly valley" and take a long hike, but the weather was too drizzly and they weren't going. I could take the boat, but I wouldn't be able to see anything, and we'd go on a short hike, that would be boring, so I declined.
I got back on the shuttle bus and we went over to Qingyun temple. It's the oldest in Guangdong.
I walked on down to the waterfalls, following some more students. The water was crystal clear and there were some signs talking about how this is the cleanest air and has the most "ions". Apparently, it's a really healthy place to breathe.
However, I climbed back up the mountain and on my way up, a trail that not many people take, I saw that the whole thing was fake and a big sham. Dinghu shan is a famous bottled water company and this is the place where they get their water. I guess that they dammed the river up in the process of taking it. Then, they made a fancy park to climb around in, and charged us all 100 yuan to see it. Reminded me of that famous song.
Then, I generally walked around in the mist the rest of the day.
On my walk back to the bus, I grabbed a steamed rice thing in a banana leaf. It had tuna and beans in it too. It was really filling and I got back to town, not interested in dinner.
I tried to walk back to the hostel but a giant storm picked up and soaked my legs up to my knees. I was feeling miserable, so I grabbed a bus for the last few stops, only to completely miss my hostel's stop due to the condensation on the windows of the bus. Grumbling, I ended up walking basically the same amount in the pouring rain, as if I never took the bus at all. I took off all my clothes, hung them up, and got into bed, not caring there were two other women suddenly bunking in the room with me. Ugh.
I found that it was raining in the morning again.
Totally demoralized, I tried to push on to a small village outside town, but when the bus station I wanted to go to was closed, I threw my hands up and went home. I stopped for breakfast and asked some nice college students how to get to this small village and they explained it in perfect English. I could catch bus 315 from the train station now, since the bus station had been demolished. But still, my feet were raisins and all I wanted to do was get dry. That wouldn't have happened in that village, I guarantee. I went back to the inter city bus station instead and went home.
At least now I know how to get to the ancient villages for the next time I'm in Zhaoqing.

Posted by baixing 03:47 Archived in China Tagged zhaoqing dinghushan Comments (0)

English club spring trip

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Darby invited me to go to the English club spring trip at a park in Yunan, a town about an hour and a half away (not the province). We got on two huge buses


Someone gave me this delicious candy.

Then we wandered around the park for the day. The cherry blossoms had already fallen and it was a little rainy. But it was still an alright time.

There was a little forest you could stroll around as well.
English club trip to Yunan

English club trip to Yunan

Taking photos in canola fields is something that Chinese women love to do. My students are definitely no exception. Therefore, we had to pull the bus over to the side of the road and hang out here for a bit.

The art students at our school often come here to paint with watercolours. They hold massive exhibits in the lobby of our teaching building all the time. Some students recognized the buildings in this village because they saw the paintings. They were all really excited to see the real thing..

Some of the buildings were converted into cultural museums and art galleries.

I bought Jessica a fish when we walked back through the canola fields. Will sat beside me, of course, and I helped him learn how to use Duolingo on his phone. It will teach him English better than I can.

These are photos that Darby took. Everyone wanted to take a photo with me, it was like being a character at Disneyland. Welcome to my life.


Posted by baixing 17:34 Archived in China Tagged guangdong yunan Comments (0)

Getting back to Phnom Penh

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I rode my bike back to Sihanoukville. I had a fresh homemade english muffin sandwich, and I found a guy with the Weezer logo shaved into the back of his head. I took the bus back to Phnom Penh and they dropped me off at the airport again, that was great. I just got a cheap room across the street and flew out in the morning.


Posted by baixing 05:38 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Relaxing day on Otres beach 1

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We had some nice relaxing times on the beach. I really needed it, I was super tired.

Posted by baixing 05:30 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

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