Apart from Guangzhou, we visited a few other neighboring cities within the Guangdong province 广东省.
The first city that we visited after we concluded our activities in Guangzhou city. I did not take any photos here. Let me tell you why.
The only thing I knew of Foshan was Wong Fei Hung and his Futt Shan Mou Ying Kiok 佛山无影脚 (Foshan’s Invisible Kick), all thanks to the film series Once Upon A Time In China. So I was under the impression that we will be visiting some Wong Fei Hung memorial.
But no, we were brought to visit a garden called Liang Garden 梁园, and then to the Foshan Ancestral Temple 佛山祖庙. I was not interested, and I was saving my film cartridge, anticipating that we will be visiting the Wong Fei Hung Memorial next. After all, how can one visit Foshan without visiting anything related to Wong Fei Hung, right? Right??
Wrong… turns out our hosts did not have the same idea as me, because after we were done with those 2 places, we moved on to the next city.
Bloody f**king hell…
(Many years later, I discovered that there was actually no such thing as the Wong Fei Hung Memorial back then, they only built one in the year 2001. FML…)
This city was named after the father of China’s revolution, Sun Yat-sen, whose Chinese name is actually Sun Zhongshan 孙中山. Actually until today I have no idea why the westerners call him Sun Yat-sen.
They made a memorial park out of Sun Yat-sen’s house. They say this was his original house, the house that he was born and grew up in. Notice the circle that I drew in the picture? They say that was his room. Not that I have any ways of confirming that statement.
We also made a stop by the banks of the Pearl River to capture some sunset moments, as well as for souvenir shopping.
This place is quite far from Guangzhou, I remember the van ride was about 3 hours from our hotel. We came all the way here to visit the Seven Star Crags 七星岩 and the surrounding Star Lake 星湖. Star Lake is called as such because it is actually made up of 5 small lakes covering one main lake, like the shape of a star.
Nothing much happened for me here. We basically just hiked around the lakes, and then I remember there was a big shop selling jades. I was not interested, so while some of the trip members went into the shop, I wandered around with a few equally uninterested mates.
What I do remember deeply is that, this is the place where I first learned that it is super awesome to have ice cream outdoors, in cold weather. The story goes like this:
The few of us wandered around until we arrived back at the park’s entrance. I spotted an ice cream vendor selling ice cream to a few kids. He was constantly shouting: “来啊 吃个冰条 暖和暖和啊!” [Come have an ice stick (ice cream) keep warm!]
What the..?? Eat ice cream to keep warm?? I was definitely curious. So I went to the vendor alone, and got one of those sticks for RMB 1, and started licking. And I was addicted. Soon the rest of my skeptical mates did the same, and all of us got addicted.
How should I put this. You know we always have that notion: when you feel hot, eat ice cream; when you feel cold, drink a cup of hot coffee? Most of the time when we do that, we only use those stuff as remedy for bad temperature. We only feel how hot the coffee is or how cold the ice cream is. But… when you eat ice cream in cold weather, you won’t be affected by the extreme temperature change, as your body is already accustomed to the cold. What happens is that the ice cream will not feel so cold to your tongue, and you will be able to appreciate the flavor more than before. Does this make sense to you?
I’ve tried eating ice cream in air conditioned room later, it doesn’t have the same effect. You need to do this outdoors, in cold weather places.
Last leg of the trip before heading back to Malaysia. The places we visited here were all military in nature.
According to our host, this was the first modern military school for China’s army. It was conceived by Sun Yat-sen with the help of the Russians. The military school has since relocated to other places, and what was left was converted into a museum.
Boys being boys, of course we were attracted to these big toys in the museum!
The last tourist attraction that we visited was the Humen Batteries. This is a prominent site of the First Opium War. This was where the famous Lin Zexu 林则徐 set up the destruction pools and destroyed more than 100 thousand tonnes of opium. Yes, 100 THOUSAND TONNES!
Our host for the military school decided to treat us lunch. Something interesting (or disgusting) happened here.
We were seated in 3 tables. Over the meal, one guy from my table (moron, that guy, problem is, I can’t remember if said moron was me or someone else!) said softly: “来咗咁耐 仲未食到狗肉 真系唔底!” [Been here for so long but have yet to tried dog meat, it is really not worth it!]
It was just a joke. Since we arrived a week ago, we have been joking about having to try dog meat in China, it was like a running gag for us. All China people eat dog meat was THE stereotype that us Malaysians were accustomed to.
Apparently, it was not said softly enough, for our host heard that statement. He immediately jumped up (I am not exaggerating here) and exclaimed: “这哪里像话?? 别慌 我帮你们搞定!!” [How can this be allowed to happen?? No worries, I will take care of it for you guys!!].
He immediately bolted out of the dining hall to settle that matter. 15 minutes later, 6 big claypots of dog meat in soy sauce were served, 2 for each table.
What do we do now? We were not serious, and were really hesitant to eat that. But if we don’t eat up, it will be disrespectful to our host. Bloody hell… so we said a few prayers, and began to tuck in. It was actually not too bad, if you don’t think of the meat as dog meat. The texture resembles somewhat a bit like pork, a bit like chicken… well, I don’t know!
(When we left the restaurant, I noticed the 2 dogs that were leashed beside the entrance when we entered, were gone. Crap crap crap!!!)
That, ladies and gentlemen, concludes my Guangzhou trip in the year 2000. I wouldn’t say that I definitely want to go back again, nor would I say that I definitely do not want to go back. It was a fun filled historical trail tour, but the fun was more due to the awesome trip members.
I suppose I don’t really know what to feel about this trip…