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Photos from China: WARNING. SNAILS.

Lots and lots of snails. We’re coming to the end of Zhongshan’s wet season (or one of many), and I’ve seen dozens of snails out every day, everywhere. And butterflies as big as my hand. One hummingbird, one lizard (both too fast for my camera).

And…a squirrel. Yeah.

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Photos from China: more of Xi’an

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Photos from China: Xi’an, the Terra Cotta Army

When I decided to come to China, THIS was THE thing I intended to see above anything else. China has changed capital cities many times in its 5000 years, but Xi’an is a serious contender for the oldest.  It was the capital of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, first emperor of China; the one English gets the word “China” from, the one who unified the previous warring kingdoms, and told everyone in those previous kingdoms they would now all write in one language.  He ordered burned all books in any language other than Chinese, and murdered anyone who questioned the emperor’s immortality. He was a mixed bag.

I think what I love most about the army he ordered created for him in the afterlife is that I knew about the army before I knew who it was for. When I mentioned Qin in Canada before leaving, no one knew who I meant…but I’d say “He built the terracotta soldiers,” and “OH, yeah!” Congratulations, Emperor Qin — your army is more famous than you.

 

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Photos from China: Seeing where food comes from.

For International Women’s Day, our school’s staff went on an outing to a fruit farm just outside Zhongshan. In Alberta, Canada, you see canola and wheat. Here, in a subtropical zone, you can see, and immediately EAT, these:

 

 

 

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Photos from China: Guangzhou, part 4 – the city

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Photos from China: Guangzhou, part 3 – Lychee Bay

This is called The Lychee Bay Scenic Area. Which is among the bigger understatements I’ve heard.

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Photos from China: Guangzhou, part 2 – Chen Clan Ancestral Hall

Among the stories history students have heard about China is how anyone wanting to work for the Emperor’s government had to take killer exams. This is one of the places where that happened. In the late 19th century all the families with the surname Chen in the Liwan district, around Guangzhou, gave money to build a place for all clan members to stay in the city when studying for their exams. The resulting building, also called the Chen Clan Academy and Folk Arts Museum, is stunning. Every surface is carved wood, brick, stone, or wrought iron. This kind of thing is my Disneyland.

Every clan had one of these “lineage halls.” This is one of the few left.

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Photos from China: Guangzhou, part 1 – Shamian Island

I’m a history buff, so I’d heard of Canton. I knew nothing about it, I’d just heard that it was an important port city to the colonial British in Cathay. Cathay is China, and Canton is Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province. And I can’t believe I knew nothing about it before coming here, because it’s a Tier 1 city…meaning in terms of population and economy, China ranks Guangzhou at the same level as Beijing and Shanghai!

I stayed in a hotel on Shamian Island, which is where the British — and other colonists — set up shop; company headquarters, banks, tennis clubs. All of their 19th and early 20th century buildlings are now protected, and house galleries, hotels, restaurants, and consulates.

 

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Chinese New Year, IN China! Part 4: Macau

Or Macao. For various reasons, I was only able to stay one night. NOT ENOUGH. Will be going back. I spent most of my time there giggling because my Spanish allowed me to understand just about ALL the Portuguese I saw!