Here are the last of the photos from my 18-month-stint in Zhongshan, Guangdong, China. NEXT: Chile!
Happy New Year!
And New Year’s means EVERYTHING in the shops is RED!
I mean EVERYTHING.
Me in my cheongsam
The high school I taught at turned 260 years old.
Kai Yin primary school.
The science garden of Kai Yin.
At our year-end dinner…
Map of a city during a lesson.
Zhongshan as seen from the top of Lihe Plaza.
The garden of my complex, seen from the 116th floor.
Mmm mmm! Dried duck neck!
Party favour from co-worker’s wedding.
Some of the beauty products are really cute…
…and some are unsettling. Skin bleaching is common in China.
Taro – purple sweet potato – latte.
Spicy fish paste for squeezing onto nori.
The Canton Tower, among the tallest in the world.
The south bank of the Pearl River.
Some of Guangzhou’s modern architecture is spectacular too.
I SAID it’s the Year of the MONKEY!
All of Guangzhou used to be streets like this.
Fresh pork! How fresh? Oh you have NO idea.
Shangxiajiu pedestrian-only shopping street.
I HOPE this was a Cantonese Opera Theatre. I don’t read enough Mandarin to know.
This is black sesame seed paste, which is them made into soup!
Black sesame and cashew soup. Liquid cashew butter. That is all.
A stall selling only Durian fruit. You think they look scary? I crossed the street because of the SMELL.
Fresh chicken! How fresh? Well!
What’re YOU doing here?!
A statue of a little boy trying to help his grandpa set off fireworks.
Down this tiny street…
…are little things…
…I’m guessing most people wouldn’t see.
Want to buy a mushroom the size of a coffee table?
The old and the new.
For my first breakfast I tried congee. It’s rice porridge, and mine also had bits of meat and seafood. I admit, I didn’t care for it.
THESE, however, are steamed pork buns. MORE.
Inside the White Swan Hotel back on Shamian Island.
Inside The White Swan.
Inside The White Swan.
Want a bullfrog? Yours for ¥28,000!
Please see the Buzzfeed videos below for further info on the contents of my minibar. The green one top left is Get 27. The one bottom left is Bai Jiu.
East meets West.
Oh for God’s sake.
This is called The Lychee Bay Scenic Area. Which is among the bigger understatements I’ve heard.
Entrance to the park.
The Monkey King!
I did NOT intend this, but the actor insisted.
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.
The Victory Hotel, where I stayed.
Please note the tree being held up by…other trees!
The canal and brides on the north side of the island.
Lots of photos of beautiful buildings. Be warned.
And lots of centuries-old trees…
Down the centre of the island is a long promenade, with different-shaped paths and trees.
I can’t say if this electricity is “modern” or…not.
Starbucks. I know. But hey, they chose a lovely location.
A sample of what the buildings were used for.
See the running track?
The ORIGINAL Bank of Taiwan!
Our Lady of Lourdes, Guangzhou Parish!
Looking up at the vestry.
Inside the church courtyard.
Traditional red lanterns on a modern hotel in a 19th century building.
The Armani shop housed in here must feel right at home…
The veranda of my hotel’s restaurant–it sits on the third floor.
Shamian Greenway — a long park running along the south side of the island, right against the Pearl River.
The Rose Garden restaurant.
This is a fish market!
Guangzhou was the first place I saw these New Year decorations. For all I know they’re real fireworks!
Christ Church, Anglican.
This church’s gate was open, so I slipped into the courtyard…
…up the stairs…
…and just peeked at the front.
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!
Just past the gate from Gombei Port in China…
…is the entry to Porto Centros, Macao.
The fountain before The Sands hotel and Casino near the harbour.
What street is The Sands Casino on?
“Lotus Flower in Full Bloom,” across from the Sands.
The flags of China and Macau.
One ferry arriving from Hong Kong, another just leaving.
A Cine-Concert…The Triplets of Belleville, with live music. How fricking cool is that?!!
This fellow was just handing out lucky red envelopes to kids!
This is part of Fisherman’s Wharf, very nice restaurants and shops in slightly kitcshy new buildings made to look “old”.
Beautiful fountain in between faux Italian and Tudor English houses!
The aptly named Harbourview Hotel. Not sure what style architecture this is…
Lovely red lanterns everywhere.
Most of the buildings in this area were old-style, but the brick and stone of these tells me they’re genuine.
Looks like a Roman column, doesn’t it? Hee here!
The “Roman” column overlooks the “Roman ruins” of the Babylon Casino!
“Roman” Amphitheatre. I kept telling myself “I should hate this…but I don’t!”
“Give me your money to eat! Bwa ha ha!”
New Year’s Display on Fisherman’s Wharf.
How much more like Vegas can you GET! So ridiculously awesome!
Jardim Vasco de Gama Garden, as seen from the front of my hotel!
Sports centre to one side of the Garden.
Orange trees. I am NOT exaggerating, orange trees EVERYWHERE!
Fountains of Vasco de Gama Garden.
Vasco de Gama himself.
And this is my hotel, from the Garden. If you didn’t hate me yet, you do now. 😀
I treated myself to dinner at Fado, the Portuguese restaurant in my hotel. These are fresh codfish cakes.
All of this came with every meal! 6 different breads, 3 flavours of olive oil, carrots steeped in olive oil, olive tapenade, and garlic-tomato butter.
Seriously, ALL the seafood. This is shrimp and bread stew. Happy Place.
The church of St Michael.
This is a bridal shop!!
Rua Horta Companhia Rotunda.
I wish I could tell you what this shop sold, but it was shut!
The other half of the crazy-awesome display.
The air smelled different in Macau. It took me a while to realise ALL of these shrines had incense burning. Those are wrapped cookies in front.
Just hanging off someone’s door. Amazing.
New Year’s decorations down a street median.
I couldn’t stop marvelling at the streets here…
Tap Seac Square.
Tap Seac Square.
St Lazarus Church.
Another church. I lost track. I think the Portuguese colonists were Catholic.
Bonito gato negro, esta desayando.
This was a church, now it appears to be apartments. Sigh…
The paving on the street is modern–it fits around manholes–but it’s very nicely done.
Looking down from the ruins of St Paul’s. The crazy pointy building at the back is The Grand Lisbon Hotel and Casino. (Macau has a LOT of those.)
The New Year display before St Paul’s.
The obligatory selfie.
I was very kindly invited to New Year’s dinner by the family of Becky, one of my middle-school students. Before dinner, though, Becky’s mother had to get some new flowers. THIS is the Flower Fair.
These are decals! The backing is peeled off, and then you place them on your windows.
I love the lady at the bottom of this photo looking up — the flowers are beautiful, AND it’s a good price!
In case flowers aren’t enough, there are branches of ornaments too.
Orange trees for sale!
A non-flower booth!
Becky’s mother with her selections.
These are SILK.
Usually the many ponds and water features in our complex are dry. For the New Year, all were filled…
This one creates a bit of a waterfall.
Red and gold banners on a building down the street from mine.
Happy Year of the Monkey! This in One-Plus-One, a local supermarket.
THIS is the Monkey King. Don’t let the pretty flowers fool you. He will mess you up.
EVERY shop has flowers and/or mini-orange trees. Note also that almost all shops are CLOSED for the holidays.
The little shrines before most shops also have fresh incense burning. Oranges symbolize luck.
More and many, many flowers.
The aftermath of fireworks being set off. This was everywhere!
Note all the paper remains are red — the luckiest colour.
These were all taken on the eve of the Lunar New Year, the night of February 7th, in Sun-Yut-Sen Memorial Park. The sculptures you see are all made of a transluscent, coloured fabric, and then lit from the inside. EXCEPT for the House of the Monkey King — I’m told that’s made of ironwork, scaffolding, and magic!
PS: I cribbed some photos from my co-teacher Jennifer, since her camera is better than mine. Credit where due!
The main gate to the park.
Arches of light.
Snake? Alien plant life?
Lanterns and/or firecrackers!
Mysterious doors which do not open…
Peacock and friends.
Pandas! Because Pandas! Photo by Jennifer.
One of many monkeys.
Photo by Jennifer.
More overhead arches.
Lovebirds. Photo by Jennifer.
Garden. Photo by Jennifer.
I want this tree! Photo by Jennifer.
House of the Monkey King!