Hi Citizens and Sojourners,
We’ve just arrived back from a little roadtrip to China. On Monday morning we caught the MTR over to Prince Edward station and went to meet my auntie Doris, uncle Young Man and two of their friends who were taking us over to the town of Shawan, PanYu, which is under the jurisdiction of Guangzhou, Guangdong Province in China. It took around 3 hours for us to travel there by coach, including a short stop through immigration, which was kind of unusual, since Hong Kong is now a part of China…. but that’s how it’s setup there and who am I to question their ways…
When we arrived in Shawan, we went to the “suburb” we were staying in called Clifford Gardens, which was more of a community than the conventional suburb as we’d call them in Australia. It was a really interesting idea, cause they had a whole lot of townhouses on lettered and numbered streets like A16, B16 etc etc and each letter had a shuttle bus that ran from a depot to the area of those streets, which was free as long as you lived in one of the buildings…. Apart from the shuttle buses, they have a fairly large Hotel with some nice features, and a couple of other little feature streets, such as shopping “street” more like a square, and then an eats street which houses all the restaurants and places to eat. Kind of weird as you walk down this street which has hostesses trying to lure you into their restaurant to eat….
We went and were lured into one of these restaurants and ate some lunch before heading off to the Baomo Garden via a private mini-bus. This was some historic garden built towards the end of the Qing Dynasty and is supposed to showcase Lingnan architecture… Basically all I saw was water with plenty of Carp in it, which we could feed for really really really cheap since 5 bags of fish pellets cost $1 Yuan, which is about $1HKD which is about 14c AUD. Apart from that, there were plenty of flowers, including this wacky sign, some crazy statues that looked freakishly real, and some painful Chinese Opera music in a giant boat. After spending way too long there, we went back to the Clifford Gardens Hotel for dinner and then went to the townhouse we were staying in for some zzzz’s.
After some alright sleep we all got ready for an incredibly long day and ventured to ‘Eat Street’ for some congee breakfast (it’s kind of like a chinese version of porridge, but it’s savory) and then off on the private mini-bus again to Xiangjiang Wildlife World. This place was absolutely massive and I think we were in there for about 5 hours all up. We caught a little wildlife train that took us around various habitats to see plenty of animals, and then proceeded on foot for the rest of the afternoon to see more animals; we even caught the bird show, the elephant show and the white tiger show, which was by far the most entertaining thing of the day: We were running late, so by the time we got into the auditorium the front sections were full, so we sat down in the upper section. There were plenty of white tigers coming out in this cage down the front standing on 2 legs, jumping on 2 legs, jumping through rings and rings of fire, opening their mouths for trainers to stick their arms in; all that standard tiger show stuff, but then something a little less standard, and I’d hope unplanned, happened. One of the white tigers got up on 2 legs, right next to the cage fence, facing the trainers, and then we see people in the front left section jumping up and moving away… Upon closer inspection, we see squirts of water projecting out from the cage: This white tiger had let loose with plenty of wee, hitting a good third of the crowd, shame they didn’t bring their rain hats on this occasion. After a long long wander around the massive grounds of this wildlife world and seeing pandas, koalas, kangaroos, mutated albino wallabies, White tigers, monkeys, birds, hippos, giraffes, zebras, polar bears and may other animals, we ventured off to dinner in the Chime-Long Hotel, which actually has a courtyard with a White Tiger in a glass courtyard.
After dinner we wandered across the road to catch the Chime-Long International Circus. There was plenty to see and it was very enjoyable, I don’t think I’ve been to the circus for a good 15 years at least!! They had a cool light/laser show, animals tricks, acrobatics, clowns and even divers (with audience participation!!). With such a long day behind us it was time to head back to bed before we had to go back to Hong Kong the next day.
The day to go back to Hong Kong was upon us and I at least was thinking it was not soon enough. China has some interesting things and people to see, but I prefer my technological lifestyle, with a nice cleanliness to it, as much as I take it for granted…. After everyone’s morning rituals and packing up, we went on down to the Clifford Gardens Hotel for a yum-cha breakfast before wandering the surrounding streets and the shopping square before lunchtime hunger hit us and we were back in eat street again. Post lunch we finished off with some desert; they had a specialty around that part of China, which literally translates to ‘flat cake’. Basically it’s like a crispy pancake, but the guy that makes it, the Sifu aka The Master/teacher, kind of makes it like a pizza I guess, with the thinning out on a slab of marble. After it’s sufficiently flat, he oils it up a little and adds a flavour to it, (I chose strawberry for mine, which unfortunately he used jam, but there were other choices like pineapple, peanut butter, and durian) folds it over and then cooks/fries it on a little hot-plate, once it’s done, he splits it up into 5cm slices and there you have Chinese flat cakes, very tasty, especially when hot!!!
After all of that, we went to catch the coach back to Hong Kong, and there endeth our short China trip. Definitely an experience, something I’ll remember, but not something I’d like to do often…