You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘pollution’ tag.

Hello again blog world, sorry I haven’t been as active as in the past. As was suggested, I had writers block ūüôā Anyways, we are back on the road in China, in the southern city of Guangzhou (aka Canton), the capital of Guangdong province. It is the third most populous metro population in China (about 12 million), and is usually considered the center of industry in the country. There are tons of factories in the surrounding areas that pump out cheap goods and textiles, and as a result (SURPRISE!), the city is very polluted and things are very cheap. It is a few hours away from Hong Kong and as the title of this post suggests, the climate here is a little bit humid. It hasn’t been as insufferable as I was expecting, but it is pretty sticky. I am pretty much covered in a nice shield of sweat all day, so it keeps the dirt off of my skin.

Besides sauna like conditions, Guangzhou has an interesting mix of very different looking and feeling neighborhoods. We are staying in the original downtown area of the city, Liwan, and happened upon the best hotel we have stayed at thus far. It has a kitchen, 2 ACs, big TV, microwave, and a balcony with a view of the Pearl River. All for $25 a night! We are in the middle of a fairly happening area, near one of the biggest wholesale markets in China. These markets are strange places, with each street seemingly representing a different type of good one might desire. One street will be the dried fish, the next will be chandeliers, the next will be wires, the next phones, shoes, animals, etc. It is a little weird to be walking along and suddenly every store you see changes from selling shoes and belts to selling chandeliers and fan blades. And yes, the dried fish street doesn’t smell very good.

A quick rundown of the places we saw over the past days:

Shamian Island, the European section of the city, a small neighborhood in Liwan which used to only allow foreigners access. Now it is a trendy place to have some food or drinks and see some European buildings. Both of us remarked once again that it is pretty amazing that tiny countries in Europe were able to go everywhere we have been and seemingly do whatever they wanted while also building the nicest looking buildings.

-Yuntai Garden, a hilarious garden filled with little cartoon characters and things that Chinese people seem to think are nice in parks. It started to pour while we were walking around, but it was good for a laugh.

Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Memorial Hall, a huge octagonal shaped building in the center of town to commemorate one of the most important figures in the history of Guangzhou. Sun Yat-sen was one of the most influential revolutionary leaders in China in the early parts of the 20th century, and is unique in that he is revered all over China AND Taiwan. He fought to establish a republic in China, and created one of the leading political parties in China at the time. His ideas have since been distorted to be the first calls for communism, when he in fact wanted to emulate the constitutional monarchies of Europe. The memorial hall was closed but we took a look from the outside and got some pictures.

-Guixiao Si Temple and Liurong Temple, two Buddhist temples in the old part of Guangzhou. Both of these temples were said to have been visited by the Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism (this is probably a legend as is the case with most claims such as these). Guixiao Si is a pretty generic looking Buddhist temple, which we have seen a lot of, but Liurong has a pagoda in the middle of it which was cool. Buddhist temples are starting to lose some of their initial appeal for us, because they really all look the same. I don’t mean slightly similar, I mean nearly identical. The pagoda was worth seeing though.

Beijing Lu (Beijing Road), the main shopping area in Guangzhou. A big pedestrian walkway with stores on either side, and the remains of ancient streets and buildings located in the middle. Nothing too incredible here, lots of really cheap clothes, but it is pretty crazy to be walking in what is basically a giant mall, then looking down and notice that underneath some plexiglass are the remains of a building built 1500 years ago.

Those are the sights we have seen, nothing really blew our minds but I was glad we saw them. The food has been different than what we are used to up north, because as people say, Guangzhou people will eat anything. It does appear to be the case, and still saddens and confuses me why people eat so much shark fin, turtle and bird’s nest down south (I guess it tastes good). We had some pizza at an Italian restaurant founded by fellow New Jerseyians, which was pretty good, but overall the food has been less impressive than I expected. That is all from Guangzhou. Tomorrow we head to Guilin and see one of the most beautiful cities in China. For now, I will just keep on sweating! Adios.

“The whole World is one family.” -Dr. Sun Yat-sen

Advertisements

I tried for nearly 3 hours last night to get the photos up, but it just doesn’t seem possible right now. ¬†The pics are loaded onto WordPress, but I think the connection is just too slow. ¬†We are trying to figure out how to get to American sites a little better…but unfortunately it may be a while. ¬†(Anyone know a good, free proxy?! ¬†Hopefully I can write that…)

Today was tough for a few reasons. ¬†I (Erin) woke up with a sore throat and itchy nose, and have been sneezing all day. ¬†I have never had any allergies in my life, but now I have fully joined the realm of ‘the allergic’, boo. ¬†It snowed a few inches last night, and we have been tromping around in the slush. ¬†I have heard that most visitors experience the “China cold” when they arrive, which is probably due in large part to the pollution, so hopefully my body will start to acclimate. ¬†The pollution is definitely bad here, and many people really do wear masks whenever they go outside, pretty sad. ¬†I am worried about being able to exercise outside, but fortunately I am keeping active with my yoga mat in the hotel room!

Our classroom was also freezing cold, which, as you may know, is basically my death knell. ¬†I wore a hat, gloves and a winter jacket all day. ¬†The icing on the cake in the cold school of doom was that as cold as the classrooms were, the bathrooms were even more freezing. ¬†And now…a quick ¬†lesson about Chinese bathrooms: they are a stinky hole in the ground, and don’t provide toilet paper.¬†So, word to the wise, bring toilet paper in to each bathroom, and limber up those quad muscles for some serious squatting. ¬†Considering the smell now, I can only imagine what is in store for the summer….be thankful for Western toilets and cleanliness!

Anyway, we survived and there were still some significant highlights to the day. ¬†We taught our first adult class, which was very interactive and enjoyable, we had a great ‘end of course’ dinner with our classmates and other teachers at the school, and David’s favorite student, Hilda, came to visit us at lunch. ¬†Hilda was SO cute, bringing us traditional (and really good) bean-curd stuffed gluton balls and taking all 5 of the TEFL students out to lunch! ¬†She ordered nearly 100 dumplings for us, which proved to be 3 entire plates too many, but her generosity (and love of David) was really touching. ¬†Did I mention she’s only 15 and walked all the way from school just to give us our presents and buy US lunch?! ¬†We tried to pay, but she insisted that she must treat ALL of her friends.

I’m off to bed, because I need to feel better for tomorrow, but it looks like we will be spending a few more days in Jinan before we move to our permanent residence in Tangshan. ¬†Sorry about the pictures, hopefully this will suffice for now.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 119 other followers

Advertisements