Guangzhou – January 20, 2007

21 01 2007

2007-01-20 (Saturday.  Hellooooo Weekend!)

It was luxury time on Saturday – I got to sleep in.  The van wasn’t coming by until 1000 to pick me up!  One of my colleagues had been “volunteered” to show me around today, and of course we had the van driver too.

It was nice to have the paper being delivered to my room, since I wasn’t getting my news from other sources, it was as if I was getting a morning paper if I just ignored it until breakfast.  Down at breakfast I enjoyed a relaxing meal, while reading the paper.  It had a supplement about the upcoming Olympics.  Interesting to see the progress and excitement from a Chinese standpoint.  When I finished, I went down to wait for the van.  It was COLD.  Back up to the room and a mental thank you to my wife for making sure I packed the long sleeved fleece. (Love ya dear!)  With my warm fleece on, I was ready to head out.  I got back downstairs just in time for the van.  Excellent.

I got in the van and found out that it was raining in GZ proper.  Hmmm.  That didn’t bode well.  We headed out to a family shrine (similar in concept to the Chu shrine on Cheng Chau, but MUCH larger)  IT was built in  1863, and reflected the architectural style of the time.  A lot of grey brick construction.  Being winter, it was pretty quiet, and I think there MAY have been a couple of other people there, but I can’t be sure.  There was quite a bit of construction and renovation ongoing, so it would appear that they are probably sprucing it up for the summer.  It was an interesting place.  The second place we went to was a large Taoist temple (actually 3 temples in one) at Yuanxuan(sp?).  It was really large, and had similar styling to Tian Tan, with circular temples rather than the classic Buddhist square ones.  They had an expansive grounds, and everything was very nicely kept.  I learned that similar to the Buddhist concept of the Kings of heaven, they have 40 “Kings” (protectors) which each have a year associated with them.  I took some pics of my guy, and Mrs D’s.  It had rained pretty consistently since the first place we visited, and this really put a damper in the quality of some of the pictures that were available 😦  The circular ceilings inside the temples, however did give up at least one beautiful Yin and Yang picture.  It was very pretty, and I was certainly disappointed by the fact that it just kept raining.

After these two visits, it was lunch time.  We headed down to downtown and met up with the Lab manager.  We were going for Hunan food!  We ended up at a restaurant called “Maojia Restaurant”, translating to “Mao’s Restaurant”.  The lab manager ordered the food while consulting us.  I said “Order whatever you want.. I’ll give it a try.” 
We had Frog in chilies, turtle soup, bamboo shoots, and sweet potato “vermicelli-like” noodles.  It was (of course) quite spicy.  It was also VERY good. I put aside my whole amphibian prejudice, and just enjoyed the food as “food”.  It was good.  We had some local beer, Zhu Liang (which is what I’ve been drinking at the hotel too).  The beer is all quite light, and goes down well when your mouth is on fire. 🙂  I suppose it was a nice change for our van driver to be able to join us for lunch too.

Our last stop after lunch was the Chen Clan Academy, aka Chen Ancestal Hall which had since been turned into an art gallery for local art done in the ancient styles.  There were beautiful “paintings” done with wood and rocks, and pasted as a collage.  Beautiful 3D relief effect.  Photos just COULDN’T capture it.   They had some really nice stone carvings, and clay sculptures, all done recently in the style of years past.  There were etched glass pictures, which apparently are etched using Hydrofluoric acid – YIKES!  Very pretty etched glass windows.  The one thing that caught me by surprise was that they also had ivory carvings.  RECENT ivory carvings 😦  There were beautiful, intricate carvings of 30 layered balls carved from the ivory, and tusks that had entire stories and carved onto them using 3D people. VERY cool, but…  Of course we all know that the Ivory trade is banned internationally due to the rather fatal effect it has on elephants.  Depressingly this doesn’t appear to be the fact in China.  You could even buy some pieces, and there was a reminder that it would not likely be importable into your home country due to the ban in ivory trade world wide.   While I understand the desire to keep alive the old traditions, some things need to become memories, for the good of our planet.

When we had finished visiting the gallery,  my colleague was going to head out and visit a friend, and I was headed back to the hotel.  It was a long drive back to the hotel. Probably 40 minutes or so.  kind of awkward sitting in the van with the driver, as he doesn’t know any English.   Got back home, and transferred photos and got some uploaded (taking advantage of an actually responsive Internet for a change).  I figured I’d try the hamburger down in the bar for dinner that night.   I got down around 1830, and settled in to the tunes of the band and a beer.  It was COLD down there.  The girls must have been freezing in their sleeveless outfits.  I had the burger.  It was quite good, and cost about $6CAD.  Bed time came early that night.  It had been a long day, so I headed up to my room around 2100, and fell asleep watching some movie.   Woke up briefly at about 0200 and turned off the lights and TV 🙂  Back to sleep.   Nothing planned for Sunday, so I figured I’d go out on Sunday and wander a bit during the day to take pictures of the crazy traffic.  g’nite.

Guangzhou – January 19, 207

21 01 2007

2007-01-19 (Friday)

Almost everything is working at work now – as it should be.  The next week will simply be making sure everything continues to work while actual people start using them.  Of course I ran into one small snag. One of the main pieces of equipment started giving me some grief.  I contacted their support office, and had a reply pretty quickly as soon as their Friday began.  Monday will be the test of whether I can get THAT working or not.  Coming out of work, with the increased clouds and the usual haze, there was a beautiful sunset

It had been a long week.  I’d had challenges that I never thought I would have had, and I’d successes where I thought I might have failure.  Work has gone well, and the whole “Go out to random restaurants” idea hadn’t resulted in food poisoning or being robbed, so clearly I was doing well.  Tonight I decided to actually try the hotel restaurant (Chinese).

I headed down to the restaurant and found that it’s not so busy at night.  As a matter of fact there was me, and one other table at the other end.  There, of course, were about 6 people waiting to serve you.  I sat down at a nice table by the window and had a great view of the fountain outside, and the little light and water show that it puts on.  – ASIDE – Chinese people must come to restaurants knowing what they want to have. – END ASIDE –  As I was seated by the hostess, a waitress approached and handed me the menu.  It was quite comprehensive, and it was bilingual.  Wow.  (This place could also use some help with their translation services).  There were big dishes of Shark’s fin soup for large sums (relatively) of cash.  There were all kinds of “specialty” items that seemed to mostly be parts of animals that don’t make it on most Western restaurant menus.  There were a couple of pages of text only in Chinese (hmmm… what ARE they hiding from me!). I settled on some “Century Seafood”.  It looked safe.  I had that and a bowl of steamed rice.  It was very good.  Basically seafood in light ginger sauce.  It certainly wasn’t as big as the dishes I had been getting outside the hotel, but it was a good size for one.  If I recall, the price was about 38RMB.

After dinner I went up and grabbed my camera and tripod to head out and take pictures of the fountain.  It was pretty successful.  Nice long exposures made for some beautiful silky flowing water pictures.  I’ve put the picture on my fotothing blog, will try to remember to attach it into this blog posting.  (Brutal network connectivity still to North America

I went up to my room and took the photos off my camera and got them transferring back to home.  I also managed to post a couple up to fotothing. 

The evening was the usual routine of down to the lounge to listen to the band, and hang out.  I chatted with the 3 guys from Canada for a while (they seem to be in a higher income bracket than me – no local restaurants for them)  Around 2400 I called it a night.  Back at the room I called Vancouver and explained my problems with my piece of equipment.  I got a “Good luck with that!”. Thanks Derrick!  About 0100 – time to sleep, we were going to be doing some touring of GZ the next day.

%d bloggers like this: