Day 2 in Gaungzhou.
I woke up around 0730. My nose was itchy and killing me. I popped an antihistamine which really helped. The family was awake, but not the rest of my fellow travelers. I had a nice Chinese breakfast of “Chinese donut”, some buns, and some papaya flavored milk. It was a bit awkward, as my Chinese is non-existent, and they have some challenges with English. At the stadium next to Simon’s place a company was preparing to have their field exercise day – somehow something that I can fully imagine happening in China. Strange.
We had a tour guide today! Vicki’s Mom. After breakfast, the driver came around with the van, and we were off to see the sights and historic points of Guangzhou. First stop was the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen memorial. This is a beautiful octagonal building built all from concrete. The inside is 47 metres tall, and 70 metres wide, and has no support columns. Quite the engineering feat for the 1930’s. Here I learned that Sun Yat-Sen was the father of the revolution which formed the People’s Republic of China, back in 1910. We all heard of Chairman Mao, but I admit I was seriously underinformed regarding Sun Yat-Sen, and that the birthplace of the revolution was in Guangzhou. (It seems ironically fitting that the economic revolution in China is being powered by the capitalistic changes underway in Guangzhou) It was very interesting, and they even had an English speaking tour guide who could inform us of things in English for me, and Cantonese for my fellow travelers. The gardens were immaculately kept. After that tour we headed off to the Sun Yat-Sen memorial. On top of a HILL again! The memorial was in Yuuxiu park, and there were many locals taking advantage of the beautiful shade trees to play a Chinese version of hacky sack, play “go”, practice tai chi, or learn how to ballroom dance – Oh…mustn’t forget the amateur opera ensemble that was practicing (They NEED the practice.) The monument was a large concrete obelisk, with Sun Yat-Sen’s last will and testament engraved upon it. Loosely translated: “The revolution has a long way to go…don’t give up the fight”
The actual testament (abrev):
The Testament made by Sun Yat-sen on his deathbed on March 11,1925. reads as follows:
For forty years I have devoted myself to the cause of the national revolution with the aim of winning freedom and equality for China. My experience during these forty years has firmly convinced me that to achieve this aim we must arouse the masses of the people and unite in a common fight with those nations of the world which treat us as equals. At present the revolution is not yet completed. All my comrades must Programme of National Reconstruction, the Three People’s Principles written by me, and the Manifesto of the First National Congress of the Kuomintang, until this aim is advocated recently must be realized within the shortest possible time. This is what I wished to call your attention to.
I wonder what Sun Yat-sen would think about his China now. Did his revolution succeed, fail, or surpass itself?
Also in Yue Xiu park was a statue of 5 goats. This statue is apparently a landmark of Guangzhou. Again, I must confess my lack of knowledge of the area prior to my visit, so it was new to me. It is quite an impressive statue. Here’s one of the sides. Excellent work with concrete.
After walking up this hill, and down that hill, and up another hill, and down another, it was time for lunch. Whew!
We went to a Dim Sum place owned by Simon’s company (what DON’T they own?) and it was lavish. Private room, very attentive service, and excellent fresh food. Of course the constant challenge that I have is finding ice water. At this place, they took a HUGE glass full of ice,and poured boiling water into it…Ice water! (doh!) Oh, I also got to try “Corn Juice” Basically, it’s drinking creamed corn from a glass. Something that takes a bit of getting used to. Good, but not for my everyday drink 😉
After lunch Mrs D and I went with “Auntie” to a place a fair piece out of the city. Lianhuashan resort is the name of the place. They appear to have a whole resort built around these ancient cliffs from which they’ve quarried rock.
We went and saw the giant Guiynam Buddha, or goddess of mercy. It stands about 40 feet tall, and there is a temple to her behind it. At the entrance steps to the temple are two bronze lions guarding the temple.
The temple and the Buddha is apparently only about 10 years old, although there is a stone tower which is about 400 years old near by. Quite a few people come up and pray, and offer food and incense to the goddess, while others burn paper lotuses in offering. Quite interesting to see. It was pretty quiet around,so I could get some good pictures.
Here is the statue of the Goddess of Mercy:
The pagoda tower was neat. It was VERY thin, and at times, I was afraid that I couldn’t get through the staircase, due to the low ceiling, and narrow passageway. Due to it’s age of 400 years, you could understand that some of the steps were higher than others, but still a remarkable engineering feat. Going down was tricky, since my size blocked the light from the small windows, and it meant stepping into the blackness hoping you hit a step. Luckily – I made it!
After the pagoda, we went for a walk out to the “swallow cliffs”. WOW! They have quarried large rocks out of the hills, in the past, leaving intricate and massive patterns in the remaining cliffs.
For a bit more on the area, check out: http://www.conferencenet.org/conference/IAVCEI2006/htm/Tourism/Lianhuashan.htm
Here’s a picture of the cliffs… WOW!
The drive back was typical Guangzhou driving. “Hold on, shut up, and enjoy the ride!” You can see from the picture below that the lines are just “guidelines” and that at any time you could have bikes, motorbikes, cars, and busses all cutting in front of you from either side, at varying speeds. I thought we were going to die! No such luck!
When we got back home, I had a short rest. Not really sure if I had a headache from the stress of the ride, or what, but I needed a rest. Next thing I know it’s time to go to dinner. Spicy Northern food. Ouch! Spicy is a good word. Everything had chilies with it. It was a step from one “mouth-on-fire” thing to another. They had a corn bread which helped cool things down, but Youch! It was good, but due to the incredibly spicy nature, I didn’t eat too much.
After a hearty, and spicy dinner, Simon took us over to one of the construction sites, and we saw the building under construction. They work until midnight! Then it was down to the train, and we were off, back to Hong Kong, leaving behind the wierd and wonderful city of Guangzhou. By the time we got off the train(more paperwork) and back to the apartment by taxi, it was again 0030, so I set up the photo transfers and crashed. I felt I might have a cold coming on 😦