A surprising and delightful trip
I don't know what my preconcieved notions were about China before my trip there last week,but I do know that I was delighted and surprised by what I discovered. Firstly, the ball room dancing in the park at night, the fan dancing and Tai chi, and the bustling, yet strangely invigorating pulse of the city streets, were an absolute eye opener. I was struck by the sense of community that the open green spaces and parks appeared to reflect. On boat tip up the Pearl River, I made friends which several wonderful Chinese children who wanted to say "hi" a thousand times to this rather strange looking white woman before them!
North to Beijing, I thoroughly enjoyed the Silk market which borders the American Embassy. According to local gossip, while the Embassy staff "pooh pooh" the corporate rip offs the silk alley merchants conduct, the staff continues to shop there. Ah - capitalism at its best.
The Great Wall was another delight - although the vendors are a little aggressive, they will deal and are polite none the less...
a wonderful trip and a desire to return soon! A trip to Shamian Island is an absolute "do no miss" with a wonderful Vietnamese coffee house where Vietnamese coffee, a sweet and delightful blend of flavours, awaits you. The European ambience as well as the colonial buildings (many of which are in sad need of repair) harken back to a past best remembered for its historical import rather than its symbolism.
Some new bars in Guangzhou
For those preferring a quiet retreat for conversation to the discord of disco bars or the chatter of cafes, Windmill Lounge at the end of Bai E Tan Bar Street is a pleasant Dutch treat. Taking its name from the neighbouring windmill that anchors this section of the bar street, this quaint three-story space offers rooftop seating, a comfy loft area with cushioned benches and two-story windows with a nice view of the river. The animal-print fabrics clash with the seashells displayed beneath the glass tabletops, but that's quickly forgotten once you see the clever miniature fish ponds hidden under each glass stairwell.
Baiyun Shan - Nine Dragon Spring
Once you reach the top of Baiyun Shan, you have the option of strolling around or visiting the many themed parks within the mountain. They really are like small garden havens or temples on the expanse of the mountain.
One such place is the Nine Dragon Springs. It is probably named as such because of the nine dragons that are carved thematically around the area. When you first enter the garden, you see two large poles with nine dragons carved into each!! It is amazing!! Then as you walk farther in, you will find a fountain with nine dragons carved into it and water coming from the mouth of each. It is a typical garden park designed for respite. There is some climbing involved, but it is invigorating rather than taxing!!
ADMISSION: 10 CNY
"Heard of Octopush?"
No, well I hadn't either until I came to Guangzhou. Then, my friends from floorball suggested that we play 'underwater hockey' in Dongguan. Crazy, right?
Crazy, but true. So we played and had a fantastic time. Basically, it came down to who was the strongest, and who could hold their breath the longest...
The white team won the day, but the "darkies" are out for revenge.
Next game is April 2, 2006 at the Greenery in Guangzhou.
Can the "darkies" beat the white team in a battle for pool supremacy?
Only time will tell...
The only way to win at Octopush is to hold your breath.
Luckily my team, the white team, had Mourad and Cyril to play offense.
I like defence, I just have to stop the puck from hitting the wall.
Sounds simple...but guess again.
"Our fearless organizers...."
If you know Southern China, you'll know that it's not the warmest place in the world in January.
Luckily, we have our good friend Olya who can find us an indoor pool to play Octopush.
And, we have our good friend Alex who can bring all the equipment for us from Hong Kong.
What are friends for.....
A picture is worth a thousand words.
This one is worth at least another try at Octopush.
GZ may have an official team on it's hands...that is, if the dark side doesn't take over.
"This is what we look like dry!"
We look just as good dry as we do wet. We got together at the Elephant and Castle in Guangzhou to celebrate my birthday. It was a great night, filled with friends from hockey, the hash, rugby, etc.
Robyn, Maxime, Robert, Me, Oscar, and Cyril had a great time! Pearl joined us as well (but missed out on the picture).
Oscar said that there's a special Mexican tradition on your birthday...when you bit the cake, someone smooshes your face into it.
Being the unassumping person that I am, I thought he was joking...until it happened.
Oh, well, at least it was funny and the cake tasted good.
Outside in the warm weather in Guangzhou, we made our second attempt at underwater hockey.
The outdoor pool at the Greenery was beautiful, but freezing. Luckily, the challenging game of underwater hockey kept us all warm. The Russians seemed to have no problems adapting to the cool waters, but Oscar was having difficulties staying in the pool. Jess was just having problems diving. But it all worked out in the end, the whites claiming victory once again.
Game 3 - when the weather is warmer!