Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Local colour (Our first day in Guangzhou)

While it's still fresh in my memory I thought I'd share some pictures (non-Lydia) from our travels and talk to you about some of the things I learned/noticed about the people and lifestyles in China.

Our first night and day were spent in Guangzhou...we missed out on Beijing due to the travel agent screw up...but I still really enjoyed our first day as we got to expereince some things most people adopting from China don' mass transportation! I didn't get pictures of the bus (too terrified and too tired--remember we were lost our first few hours!) The bus in terms of it's looks is pretty standard...but the way they operate is different. Basically there are 2 employees on the bus...the driver and the hostess. The hostess takes your money and the driver, well...drives. :-) The hostess takes the fee as you are sitting and she makes her way down the bus a row at a time and takes your 2 yuen. I thought that was incredibly interesting as we usually pay a meter, but one thing I found to be true in China is there are people employed for the most benign of jobs. (There were actually hostesses in our hotel whose only job was to punch the elevator button for you!) Why do these jobs exist, I can only speculate...the need for more jobs as the population is so high? The extreme consceintiousness of the people. (I've never been to a place where people are so willing to help! They will bend over backwards to help you no matter what!)
Anyway more stuff I noticed. The drink cans are all "old school". How cool that was to pop open soda can...made me wish I liked soda more.
The sun is a big deal in China. It's pretty intense...and as I've noted before fair skin is all the rage in China, so large hats and parasols abound. I asked Else about it as she was also carrying a parasol. (Else was the woman who came to help us in Guangzhou when we got lost.) She was the one who told me about how skin colour was a mark of beauty and how she carried her parasol so as to not become darker---she was the first to tell me how gorgeous Lydia was due to her fairness. A often repeated theme to our visit.
The airport in Guangzhou was amazing and the thing I thought was most amazing about it and the other airports we visited was they were always about 30-40 minutes away from the city itself so as to not add to the noise polution of the city. Polution and ecological concerns are paramount to the Chinese. One thin everyone told me before I went to China was it was dirty...I have to admit I didn't notice that as much. I noticed the cities were under constant there was rubble and debris everywhere...but not actual filth. The country is poor so the buildings are in disrepair. Laundry is hanging out almost every window of 8 story high apartment buildings that have glass in some window and not in others. There are patch jobs to roofs and walls that are obvious, and well, probably ineffective...but there's not dirt. There is actually an overwhelming effort to keep things as clean as possible in the cities.


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Wednesday, October 26, 2005 7:58:00 PM  

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