Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Glamorous Life Guangzhou Style

I know the videos aren't working.
I'll see what I can do when I get back from my 2-show day.
In the meantime, enjoy Guangzhou with me!

Well Creataviters, here we go. China.

I can't tell you how many times Beloved and I have started to plan a trip to this country. Every time we have been sidetracked. Visiting China felt so overwhelming. We didn't know where to start. All the questions - what cities do we visit? how long do we stay? do we visit Tibet? do we visit Mongolia? do we do it alone? - would stop us in our tracks. Hence, one of the main reasons I took this Sister Act contract was to get to China. I would have a purpose and an itinerary. I'd see at least some of the country (as will Beloved. He'll be joining me for 2 weeks).

So...here I am, at the end of the first week of a 10-week stay. The itinerary is here.

Next to our very Western hotel. More bikes to come.

One week in, here are some initial impressions, along with photos, because I know some of you love photos:

I get a sense of a country as soon as I step out of the airport. There's something in the air. My sense of China? Much better than I anticipated. There's a hustle and bustle here in Guanzhou, but I'm not overwhelmed. I assume that will change when we get to Beijing.

The people move with a purpose, but the notorious Chinese rudeness has not appeared...yet. I was told that due to my Western physical structure and blonde hair, I would draw attention. I see the occasional child look at me, and I saw one man take photos of a group of us, but that's been it. I sense that people are, as we say, living their best lives, and aren't necessarily concerned about others that look different.

One of the scattered photos.
This from our trek at the Baiyun Scenic Area.
Guangzhou is cleaner than I expected. The air is cleaner, as is the ground. I expected thick smog, unkempt public places and disgusting smells. I am surprised by the amount of green. On Tuesday, I trekked with five of my colleagues to the Baiyun Scenic Area. We climbed steps, we walked, we got lost, we sweated, we couldn't get a cab, we finally found a bus home, we had a great time. There are photos scattered throughout this post.

Language and cultural misunderstandings are going to be a part of life. I need to get over it and eat the dumplings, even if it isn't exactly what I thought I was ordering.

Connectivity is currently slightly challenging.  Our hotel has great wifi with a built-in VPN. In most cases, accessing free wifi requires a Chinese phone number (you need a verification code, even at Starbucks), which I don't have yet. While there is internet in the theatre, we are not allowed to use it. I'm not sure why, and to tell you the truth, I kind of like being disconnected. I'm forced to look around me and talk to people, or read a book or knit instead of mindlessly scrolling Facebook.

Speaking of the theatre, wow. Incredible building surrounded by more incredible buildings, a beautiful huge pedestrian plaza with fountains and small green areas (complete with walkways) and access to food. Lots of food - interesting, not interesting (hello McDonald's and Starbucks), and very reasonably priced.

I wanted you to see the beautiful ceiling.





The opera house is behind me.
The weather is currently VERY hot (over 100 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday and today), which would be okay, but the air quality disintegrates quickly. Yesterday and today are both rated as unhealthy by my app, AirVisual. So far I'm okay, with just a bit of burning sensation in my eyes, but some of my colleagues are really struggling. 
This was a good air quality day.

Don't forget the green when the air is nasty.
So much more I have to tell you! Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

Excellent update! I'm glad the air is better than you expected. You eat those dumplings, even if they turn out to be chicken's feet, not what you ordered. GREAT pics at the top of the blog, too!