Published: July 25th 2009July 25th 2009
China - Beihai - Renewed Waterfront
Rejuvenated waterfront. Part of a project that will develop the area.
As I move on from Chongqing to Nanning, I recall what I said of Chengdu...that it absorbed me and excepted me regardless of my place of origin and my language. Chongqing was not so kind...I had to try to become one of it's sons....I ordered seafood dumplings ( being a ' seafood/fish only/vegetarian ' type of an eater ) and I repeated at least five times ... " seafood.." reply.. ' yes ' ... " seafood.. " ' yes ' ... yet in my very first taste, there was the distinct taste, smell and texture of pork. After years and years of not eating that type of meat, I was ill for the first time in my trip. It was the first time I took medicine to make it stop...not even the ' hell-fire ' hot pot of Chengdu did this to me...but it was not so bad as two Pepto-Bismals could not fix. I still have the big-gun pills for anything SouthEast Asia might throw my way. That said, Chongqing was a worthwhile stopover and has many more sights then I could visit in my short time...it is important, not just historically and culturally but also for the transition into
China - Beihai - Waterfront Project
In an attempt to renew the area, the government has spent great deals of money to fix up the area. I hope they will sink more into fixing the ' old city ' as it has an important historical significance.
modern times and it's near-term history...I would return, if given the opportunity. Nanning is now my last stop in China before stepping into Vietnam and heading south into Cambodia. Nanning airport again, like some other train stations and airports before, presented the problem of reluctant taxi drivers. I was fortunate to meet a Canadian woman from China in the same situation. She and her children had just come from the NorthWest of China and we stood in the taxi line together and chatted. She finally found a woman cabbie who would take us into to Nanning ( not a short haul, by any means ) for the metered rate...the other drivers felt a need to negotiate and I suspect it was for a commission off the top and the metered rate would go to the taxi company. On the drive to Nanning, we spoke and I was very lucky to be invited by this woman to her friend's home later to see a typical Chinese family's way of life. After she left the cab, she slipped me a hand full of bills, explaining that it should be more than enough to get me to my hotel as she had already
China - Beihai - Ages Old Banyons Shade the Streets
Large, old trees offer shade to the inner section of the cities and keep the area cooler than the outer edges of town
discussed the terms with the driver. I felt like I had won the lottery. This kind woman took care of everything right to my hotel door. After cleaning up, I cabbed it back to where she and her kids were staying to see the typical family ( I did not have time to eat and just thought I would grab a bit on return to my area ). I was in the old section of town and her friend was in the ' new ' downtown, where most of the buildings and facilities are newly built and ultra-modern. Well, ' typical ' Chinese family...I wondered. They had a very spacious, beautifully furnished home and as I came in, I was greeted by everyone. The grandmother was so happy to meet me, I felt like she would burst into English in the next phrase. Sensing I hadn't enough time to eat, they offered me dinner...I could not tell a lie and the next thing I knew they are in the kitchen, cooking me a vegetarian meal with coffee and various, seasonal fruits that while delicious, I could not name without their help. I hated to leave by the end of the
China - Beihai - Girl on Motor Bike
The girl on the motor bike seems to be ahead of the pack. Like all cities, motor bikes are plentiful
night and was graciously invited to go to Beihai the next day to the family beach house. I would be happy to go for the day trip. I went to my hotel feeling overwhelmed by the generosity of people I had know for literally minutes. But that was typical of my experiences in China...everyone...I mean everyone with whom I came into to contact, treated me like a lost family member ' come home'. We met at the long-distance bus terminal the next morning and after helping me buy my bus ticket to Hanoi, Vietnam for two days hence, this wonderful woman decided that it was much better to take a taxi for the three hour ride to Beihai. She did all this in the blink of an eye and would accept nothing from me in return...I could not buy her a bottled water yet alone pay for the cab. Her reasoning...I will pay for my own bus back..what a deal. We reached her family ' beach house ' after a long and scenic drive. It was incredible...multi-leveled and air conditioned...big screen TV with satellite, very tastefully furnished and lots of room for her kids. The driver waited for us. This was no ordinary, everyday Chinese wife. After some time getting the home ready, we all packed back into the car and along with the nanny, headed for the beach. The weather did not cooperate so we went to her favourite seafood restaurant, catering to my tastes I suspect. Well...our lunch was still swimming around large, spacious tanks where the seafood had room to do lengths to stay fit. I courteously told her I trusted her tastes and she ordered an array of dishes for us...enough to feed three or four more people...I was choked..happily of course. After packing in enough prawns, mussels, fish, sweet potatoes, taro and other veggies, she had her nanny package the rest for home. She again tried to find a suitable beach for the kids but the wind had brought the tide to an extra high point and we gave up. We drove to the home where she dropped the kids off and then to my surprise, offered me a tour by car, of Beihai. We drove to the docks and through a very interesting ' old city ' that dated back over a hundred years. We toured a section of the waterfront that had been modernized and a few other twists and turns, dropped me at the bus station, came in and made sure I got the right ticket for the right bus. We said our good byes and still communicate with the odd email. To me these last two days were better than winning the lottery and only helped to amplify in my mind the whole attitude of everyone that I had the good fortune to meet in China. I was more than a little sad to think that I would be continuing south into another country instead of turning north up the coast towards Shanghai and the cities in between. My small consolation was that in a month or so...I would return to China through Hong Kong and get to experience this wonderful country once more...if only for a couple of weeks before going back to Canada. It made me smile...broadly