A wonderful visit, but time to go home to Zhaoqing.
Nov 12, 2017
|After a rather long night, with not enough sleep, due to mosquitoes and the very hard bed, I finally fell asleep, and didn't wake until about 9am. But that was fine, as Landsa and Emma had only been up a little while too.
I had a coffee - a very necessary start for my day, and then we headed out to a little restaurant in the local community for breakfast. Landsa ordered way too much food, but she said that she wanted me to sample lots of different foods!
After breakfast, we headed to the car, and set off to the immense Higher Education Mega Centre, which I used to know as University City. There are at least ten universities here, and given that the population of Zhaoqing University is around 30,000, and is not such a big facility, I would hate to try and guess the population out here!
Landsa had said that she would take me to visit a tourist attraction which is built in the style of Lingnan architecture, which is local to the Guangdong and Guangxi provinces. The style dates from between the 7th and 10th centuries AD! I love the way the Chinese value their ancient history, and work to preserve interest.
I used my passport to get in for nothing, as a senior, Emma got in for nothing as a baby, and Landsa used her Teacher ID card, to get in for 40 rmb. The normal price is 70 rmb per person!
There are many different areas, that each depict different areas of life long ago in this area. And most of the buildings have shops selling various wares, all of which relate to traditional arts and crafts.
There were a lot of interesting food options too. Many of them are made in the traditional way, like the man popping corn, over a hot fire, using a drum with a handle to keep rotating it, until it reached the desired temperature. The only modern innovation on his little hand-turned machine was the addition of a thermometer on the top!
We found a lovely big area with sand, and sand related activities for the littlies. Emma is not accustomed to playing in sand, and she enjoyed it no end. She even spent ages just picking up handsful of sand, and running it through her fingers. Small pleasures! One thing she was unsure of for a start was the slide, although after her first try, she could not wait to go back again and again! Fear changed to sheer pleasure after that first try!
Using the ladies toilet block, I actually found a western toilet. Might not sound like much to most of you, but after being on my feet for a few hours, I was not above stepping into the disabled toilet cubicle!!
We had wandered around for ages, and decided it was time to go, but mis-read the map and headed in the wrong direction. But I am glad we did, because we found a guy doing silhouettes of people for only 10 rmb. I was not going to do it, but Landsa insisted, and she got me one, and one of Emma. The guy took maybe 5 minutes at the most, cutting the image from a square of black velvet type material, on a backing of contact adhesive. I could not believe how realistic his image was, and was happy that Landsa convinced me to pose for him!
We eventually realized that we had gone in the opposite direction to where we needed to go, to find the exit, but we did get there. By the time we were in the car, Emma was pretty tired, and inclined to be grumpy. But she fell asleep in no time. We drove past the university where Landsa and David studied, the South China Normal University. In China a Normal University is where you train to be a teacher. Not sure of the relevance of the 'normal' bit, but there you are.
We got out there in half an hour, but it took just on an hour to get back. Traffic was considerably heavier. And when we did get back, it took quite a while to find a parking spot. Landsa pays 10 rmb a day, to park near her house. She could buy a parking space, but the price is exorbitant. When they bought their house, the cost for a parking spot was 200,000 rmb, but now it has risen to 400,000! Owning and using a car, particularly in Guangzhou has definite positive, but also negative ramifications.
Back at the house, Landsa lay down with Emma, because she still needed more sleep, so I sat back with my book, until they re-surfaced. Contrary to my better judgement, Landsa thought I would be better catching a bus back to Zhaoqing, and I was not inclined to argue too hard! But before that, we walked to David's brother Alex's house for dinner.
While I was there, I showed Alex how I use Wechat, with the translate function. Their Mum and I really wanted to be able to communicate, and this is a simple way to do it.
We had a lovely, simple, home cooked meal, before Landsa and I set off, to get to the Tianhe Bus Terminal. The only ticket I could get did not leave until 9pm, the last bus of the night! And it was only then just before eight o'clock. So, once I had my ticket, Landsa headed off to the Metro station, to get back to her place, and I waited for the time to pass.
I sat in the waiting room, and it seemed like the bus had forgotten us. It did eventually come in, at about 9.20! It had been held up with traffic. So we did not leave the bus station until nearly 9.30. I had a video clip on my phone that I had been wanting to watch, so that filled some time. When it finished, I could see we were near a city, and as we had only been about an hour on the road, I presumed it was Sanshui, but eventually I recognized things, and was astounded to see that we were in Zhaoqing. The trip that normally takes a good 2 hours took only one and a half! The driver must have been fairly moving.
There were taxis near the bus station, but I decided to have a bit of a walk first, and walked around the corner to Tianning Lu, and got one there. It was nearly midnight when I got back to the college.
It had been a lovely visit with Landsa and Emma, and wonderful to meet David's brother and his family, and their mother, but I was happy to be back, and to have a sleep in my own bed, in relative comfort!!