We’ve been in Guangzhou for a month now, and have barely “scratched the surface”. We love it, although we are “over” the lift in our building. It is so slow, and, by the time it arrives at our floor, in the mornings, we are usually hot and sweaty to begin the day. However, our little apartment is fine, although we will be pleased when our container arrives and we move to a new place, in a couple of weeks. The locale is excellent – everything we need either close by, or a short taxi ride away.
Walking around is, as in other Asian countries, always an adventure. There is always something new to see. A Sunday ritual, for us, is to walk a kilometer to the “wet” market (fruit, veggies, fish, meat and flowers). It isn’t large, but it is always interesting. This morning, the frog seller was skinning and cleaning his wares for a customer. (We didn’t linger.) About AU$20 buys us fruit, vegetable and flowers for the week – chicken and fish are procured from the supermarkets, even though it is fresher at the wet market. Enroute is also one of the main places for purchasing imported products, although we didn’t need any today.
We took the long way to get to the market this morning, and I bought some dim sum from a street vendor. It was delicious, and really cheap. If I can find a vendor on my 5.30am walks/runs I might get lunch once a week, for less than AU$2. (Speaking of lunch, I don’t eat at the school canteen, because the meals are too nice, and too big. Utahloy I.S. must have one of the best canteens anywhere – it even has a coffee machine.)
We made our second visit to Haizu Square yesterday. The taxi driver gave us the “Magical Mystery Tour” on the ring road, so we’ll take the Metro next time. We were deposited outside what seems to be the “dress up” market, with everything imaginable for making costumes and doing make up. We walked a fair was trying to find an ATM, which was good, because it took us to the Immigration Office side of a main road, which then led us to a leather market and some musical instrument shops.
After we had lunch in a Chinese restaurant, we separated. I found a hardware market, and bought a cheap, wicker basket for our dirty clothes. As I carted it home, through the streets and on the Metro, I got some amused stares from the locals. The traffic policeman on the corner near our apartment was very amused – it seemed to be unexpectedly rustic for them. Helen browsed for hours, and found a mall full of everything imaginable, so we’ll be back there net week.
There are some great restaurants around. Last night, we joined colleagues at a teppanyaki restaurant nearby. It cost less than AU$30/head, which included free-flow beer and wine, and the food was simply delightful. It just melted in our mouths. From there, we walked to a nearby Irish bar, expecting to find a band playing. There wasn’t, so we didn’t stay long, although it was well after midnight when we got home.
The locals, generally, are really friendly and tolerant of our current inability to speak Mandarin. Last week, Helen was in a queue at IKEA, and was told that something she wanted to buy need a “family discount card”. The Chinese woman behind her said “Here, use mine”. Yesterday, as she was running across the street in the rain, a woman pulled her under her umbrella, and escorted her to our building, where the woman also lived!
We had a bit of an adventure recently. The school runs a couple of buses earlier than usual into the city on Friday afternoons. The AC wasn’t working properly, and the traffic was bad, so there were about 30 or more hot and tired teachers by the time we reached our destination. The door didn’t, and wouldn’t open – some sort of electrical problem, which could not be rectified Eventually, the High School deputy climbed out, onto the roof, through the front emergency exit. There was no way for him to get down safely. Some locals eventually produced a wooden ladder. As his feet touched the ground, the door opened, releasing some relieved educators.
It looks like we have a lot of adventures ahead of us.