Off to visit Landsa and Emma.
Nov 11, 2017
|Today was my first excursion out of town, for this visit. I had tickets for trains to get to Guangzhou South Railway station. The first one, which was on the local light rail left Zhaoqing at 11.45. This took me to Dinghu East Station, where I crossed to the Zhaoqing East station, on the high speed train, from Guangzhou to Wuzhou in Guangxi province.
I had been messaging my former student Jane, to find out the best way to get to the railway station, and she offered to call me a car to pick me up when I was ready. So I left here about 10.45, not knowing how long it was going to take to get there. Before Jane called the car, I went over to a local supermarket to get a can of snack food, for while waiting for the high speed train at Zhaoqing East.
Once I messaged Jane, to get her to call the car, it arrived in much less than 5 minutes. No wonder everyone uses these cars here, much more efficient and cheaper than the taxi service.
The drivr was interesting, because he had only a small vocabulary in English, but his pronunciation was very, very clear. He managed to tell me that driving for Didi is only a part time job, and his main job is in Foshan, where he installs flooring into new housing projects.
I arrived in plenty of time at the station, which was my aim. I was a little afraid of not knowing where I was going, and needing to rush at the last minute. But my concerns were all unfounded.
So, the time came to board the very comfortable train. It took only 19 minutes to travel to the Dinghu East station. But then I had to find my way to the other platform. I did try to ask directions, and got the indication that I should just follow the people!
So off I went, until the crowd thinned. I had got a lift down to the ground level, and a man was also in the lift, so I flashed my next ticket in front of him, and he indicated for me to follow him, which I proceeded to do. I am glad I did that, because I am not sure whether I would have found my way through more extensive construction work!
I had quite a long wait at the Zhaoqing East station, as I had been unable to get a ticket for the train I had initially wanted to catch. But time passed, with me enjoying people watching.
When I got onto the next train, my seat was next to a woman who was from Beihai in Guangxi province. She was going back to her work place in Dongguan. She works as an embroiderer, using a computerized machine, to put motifs etc on garments.
Landsa had sent me instructions to get the subway to near to her house. This was quite a challenge, but I managed to find my way. First I had to find my way to the metro (subway) station, then I needed to buy a ticket from Guangzhou south, on a train on line 7, then transfer to line 3, to get to GangDing Station. I was to take exit A, and wait for her outside the station. It was only a short wait, and she was there, to take me to her home.
When we got to her house, Emma was very happy to see her Australian Popo (grandmother) again, and I met David's mother. I made myself a coffee, and then had a sit down, very happy to have negotiated the transport system, and actually made it to where I needed to be!
We sat for a while, and then Landsa offered to take me for a massage, which was really appreciated. Her house is in an old area of Tianhe, and there are many, many small businesses in their community. The massage place is just one of these. I actually fell asleep during the massage, which is indicative of the skill in relaxation, I guess.
By the time we were finished, David's Mum and Dad were waiting for us, with Emma. We got a taxi into the centre of Tianhe, where we were to meet David's brother and his family. I'm still blown away by the size and number of huge skyscrapers. I should be used to it by now, but the wonder still takes my breath away!
We went into a huge shopping plaze, where we met Alex, who is David's older brother. He works in graphic design, but apart from that I am not sure of the details.
We met his wife Freya outside the restaurant we were going to. She has been working for an international finance company for about ten years, but has recently been given a permanent place, which is very thrilling for her and her family. She apparently does not have the credentials to be automatically a full time permanent employee, but her work history has got her through!
Their fourteen year old daughter Anna joined us, just as the food started to come out.
Our meal was fabulous, in a restaurant that was fascinating. Ordering the meal was interesting for a start, ordering from a computer screen at the end of the table. And the food was just amazing. The restaurant is called 'Backstreet ..... something' and the decor generally speaks of backstreet eating places. Very nice.
And once you have ordered your meal, there are video tutorials teaching you how to cook the food you have already ordered. Or maybe just to show you how the chefs work their magic.
After we ate, we headed out. There is a huge lighting festival under way at the moment. But the crowds were huge. We did not get far, before we decided to head for home. It was obviously not as bad as Monday night, when they actually cancelled the festival, due to the crowds being just too big! Alex went off to get his car, and we were going to get the Metro back to Landsa's area, but even getting into the metro station was looking near impossible, so we walked further and eventually managed to get a taxi!
Once we got out of the taxi, and near to Landsa's house, Freya and Anna left us, to walk on another five minutes to their house.
I was tired, and it was hot still. Much hotter in Guangzhou than Zhaoqing. Not really to my liking, but never mind!
Sleep was rather hard to come by. The bed was rock hard, and it was not easy to get comfortable, and then during the night, I was being bitten by mosquitoes, which did not help at all.