Friday, March 12, 2010

Day 13: Zhuhai

Last night was such a long night for me, horrible cramps from the crazy peppers. Luckily I was able to zip through much of my visits today. I was back at the hotel before 3pm. I had the afternoon to myself to roam around the area. But did I take a nap? No way, not when there is a new city to explore.

It is a beautiful looking city as I sat in the back seat driving back and forth for the last few days. However, I have to leave it tomorrow.

My hotel is towards the bottom of this satellite photo, I followed it around the bend to that "Y" shapped thing, look really close to the top left.

My hotel sits along the
Middle Road
, it’s what it’s technically called, but the locals call it Lover’s Lane. When I was driven through it, I saw this strange looking statue that didn’t look like it was THAT long of a walk from the hotel. So when I got back, I changed to jeans and sneakers and went exploring. What I was thinking was walking along the coast and finding some quiet little place and devour seafood. I love seafood and to eat it at the waterfront is my favorite meal.

The road goes along beautifully, but I didn’t see one single signal light. So just crossing the street was a challenge. But I grew up in the Philippines where there aren’t any signal lights or crosswalks. And I live in Chicago, a big city where the mantra is “I’m walking here!”

I love the ocean; to stand on a beach was an unexpected delight. But I was on a mission; I wanted to see the statue. I’m not familiar with the area; there aren’t a lot of foreigners. But like every where I’ve ever been, I walk firmly and confidently, like I know exactly where I’m going, even when I don’t.

But I can’t just walk blithely ignoring the beautiful sights. I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves. 

This was just a lovely hidden area that I only saw as I walked.

When I walked back, there was a group of women doing a form of tai chi, I don't take pictures of people here. I don't want to be disrespectful. I saw a form of tai chi because I do tai chi & I don't do it w/pop music blaring at me! They updated it!

Can you see why it would be called Lover's Lane? It's a lovely romantic walk. Me and my digital camera.

There is what looks like a round food court that sits right on the water. I just think it's funny to see the guy just standing there.

This is a bus stop! How cool is that. But see the background? The skyline is obscured by the smog, the stories you hear about the pollution in China is NOT an exaggeration! It's been reported that the miasma crosses the Pacific and actually can end up in California, I believe it.

Reminds me of Lake Shore Drive (LSD).

Beautiful natural sand formations line this part of the Lane. It's fantastic to see up close, if I were on vacation, I would have climbed the railing and gone down there and really explored! But this is a business trip. How could I explain getting arrested to them?

My destination! It's called the Fisher Girl.

I wonder if they had a Chinese version of Hans Christian Anderson. How ironic that as far apart as China and Denmark are, yet they both have this kind of statue.

The same curve, but heading back towards the high rise buildings, one of which is my hotel.

I had to sneak this shot. I missed an earlier moment when the net was being lifted from the water. I don't think they caught a lot of fish.

They say this plane is Chairman Mao's plane, I don't know, I just thought it was the oddest thing to see. A plane in the middle of a strip mall's parking lot.

But then again, I did see an airplane on someone's front yard in the canals of Bangkok.

I never found a seafood restaurant on the water. Instead I decided to walk around the block, behind the hotel. I was so comfortable walking around, the sea breeze, surrounded by Asians, I never thought that if I saw a hole in the wall place to eat, how was I going to order? 

I saw street carts selling, I don't exaggerate, dumplings the size of my face. But I didn't know what was in them and wasn't comfortable enough with my Mandarin to ask them. So I was just strolling, my stomach rumbling. 

Then I saw the little old lady with a cart full of boiled peanuts. I love fresh boiled peanuts. As a kid, in the Philippines, after school, I would stop & get boiled peanuts. So to see this, made me feel so at home and so delighted.

I was able to tell her that I wanted some, she smiled sweetly at me. Then I realized that there is a sign language with the hands that dictate numbers, I had signaled her, unwittingly, that I wanted 5kilos of boiled peanuts! I stopped when it was obvious she was going to fill up this HUGE plastic bag and I had made a mistake with my hand signs.

Then when it came time to pay her, she was signaling with her hands, assuming I knew the language. China has a variety of different ethnicities that I could have easily passed for Chinese. When I started to explain in Mandarin that I only speak a little and I speak English, she started to get annoyed at me! I think she thought I was just going to walk off with her peanuts. The guy in the cart next to her had been watching us and had walked over to see what was going on. I was afraid I would still end up in a Chinese jail!

So I pulled out some paper currency, the coin currency is beyond my comprehension! Then I just held the money out to here and she simply pulled out 11 RMB. She could have taken all my money, I wouldn't have cared. It was only 30RMB about $5 but she was honest and I had 2kgs of boiled peanuts. 

Chinese streets aren't necessarily laid out in a perfect grid. But I found my way back to that little street in last night's post. I found a little convenience store where I picked out regular Coke - they don't have Diet Coke here, they have Coke Light. I hate diet Coke and the Coke regular is sweetened with regular sugar, not corn fructose. So of course, I had to have regular Coke. I loved it! 
I pulled two Cokes out of the cooler, smiled at the clerk,  I assumed she had foreigners before, cuz she punched in the purchase amount in a calculator and showed it to me and smiled back.

 Sunset over Zhuhai, there's that little street, not so much like an alley because it was much cleaner than our alleys, but it was narrow like one.

So my dinner tonight is 2kilos (~4lbs) of boiled peanuts and coke. 

My stomach is going to hate me forever. Sigh.

PS. The bed goes THUD.

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