Friday, March 31, 2006

Shamian Island: Little Europe

A couple days behind in the blogging ... didn't touch a computer for 5 days! What a record. Oh, posted new photos in a couple of the older blogs as well.

Anyways, we took a train into Guangzhou from Shantou and that was not as much fun as hoped. We could only get hard seat tickets and ended up being crammed into a car with all the locals. Fun in a way since we got to experience it the local way but got tiring after a few hours. At least a whole bunch got off about half way through the trip and we could stretch out a little.

In Guangzhou, we stayed in the southern part of the city on Shamian Island for 4 days. Now this was an interesting little island. We swore we were not in China. There was European architecture, there were no crowds, the air was clean, and there were many westerners! How did we leave China so quickly! Also an odd site too because there were many western couples pushing strollers with chinese babies. Yep, you guessed it, this is where everyone who wanted to adopt chinese babies had to stay for a month. It was quite surreal.

We thought, because it was a break from the real China, it was a great place to relax and unwind. It was sunny everyday and it was quiet. Ahhhhh..... We found this awesome park in the morning by the water. We walked in and first saw a whole bunch of people playing chinese hackey sack! Then we walked further and saw a small group dancing to music; to the left, elders playing mahjong; further left, a taichi class; closer to the water, women practicing some sort of martial art with swords; and finally close to the water, a bunch of couples doing the waltz, fox trot, etc with music blaring! It was totally awesome! And this was a Tuesday morning! It felt like a big party at 10 am in the morning. This was my kinda place.

The rest of the island was also very nice. There is a huge garden in the middle called Friendship Garden where they had many interesting sculptures. The one posted is of the evolution of the Chinese woman.

Too bad our accomodations weren't up to par with the rest of the island. Of course we did stay at the cheapest place possible. Suprisingly, the dorm was pretty much full each night!


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