Monday, October 19, 2015

Guangzhou - a little getaway

Mid-Autumn festival includes a week off of school and we were eager for a little getaway. But we didn't want to fly. Solution? GUANGZHOU by TRAIN!

A 2 hour ride on a train and wahlah! Southern China. Easy Peazy.

"by mysewf! I do it by mysewf!"

comfy seats, the ability to walk around, scenery, and a food-car
Something interesting: People here are generally rule-followers (except when it comes to driving). Often, when you ask a question you get a blanket answer without any real rationale. It's the rule because it's the rule. And that's that.

Most of the time you are told 'no' to something, just because, and then if you happen to ask the right question that answer may change.

Case in point? As we went through security, BunnyCakes was asleep in my arms. The lady wanted to do the required temperature check - and she was supposed to do it in each ear. She tried 3 times to get me to flip her to the other side with gestures. Feeling ballsy (and protective), I told her "no. don't wake the baby. it's nap time. she's not sick." The woman acted flustered for a wee second - then smiled and walked away. Seriously. That's all I had to say. I'm starting to think 'ballsy' is a pre-req for living successfully in Asia.

Armed with goodies to keep the littles occupied. Have you seen these KinderJoy treats? Hilarious.

That tiny squirrel is inside with the chocolate -
and he was our companion throughout the trip!
One problem...

train station toilets are 'Chinese Style'....

(have I told you she's recently potty trained!?)

skeptical - but she tried it - that's my girl!

Hotel arrival. OMG. It's beautiful. Well done, daddy!

view from our hotel room 

Nothing like a giant panda to welcome you for mid-autumn festival!

First order of business: POOL TIME! [with mandatory swim caps]

Then the **International Circus!**
Absolutely incredible* When in Rome...  Despite rumors about maltreatment of animals in China - we gave it a try and I'm so glad we went. This show was mostly about the human performers (there were some animals) and had us on the edge of our seats the entire 90 minutes! Bears rode bicycles, ducks walked by in a row, motorcycles zipped around in a metal cage, and acrobats flew through the air... for starters. They even have a sound-proof room for tiny ears. (We discovered it after BunnyCakes spent the first half hour with her hands over her ears.) What a spectacle!

What else to do in Guangzhou? Lots, actually. We didn't even attempt the amusement parks during a Chinese public holiday. But we were never lacking something to see or do. We took our chances at a random restaurant we found near the pier - it was like a Chinese Diner - super cheap and surprisingly tasty!

Night cruise down the river on a really cool lit-up Chinese boat:

Canton Tower - queen of the skyline

watching a tea ceremony

Food at the hotel ~ dreamy.

parents worst nightmare

Room Service kept knocking at our door, unbeckoned. Then, regardless of my state of apparel (towel after a shower? no problem) she would breezily glide into the room and deliver something new while chattering away at me in Cantonese and grinning. Cake? check. Fresh towels? check. Goodies for the kids? check. check. Why does this make me giggle??

This girl! (below) I tell you. I sat her down to start eating while I went to fill my plate at the buffet. I came back to find she had called the waitress over and had ordered herself some water! By the time I returned, she had been served a piping-hot mug of hot water. Chinese style. :)

Playrooms at the hotel - little islands "floating" on water:

Ginormous city park:
Live (Chinese) music: the guy on the left is playing a leaf he picked up off the ground!!

rapt audience (clearly her taste in music is broader than mine)
upturned buckets make the best seats

Stumbled on this crowd of locals playing something akin to hacky-sack in the park. What a hoot!

this group was really serious about their game
*no young kids doing this - all older adults!*
we bought one of the kicking toys - made with feathers and a stack of rubbery discs
it's the simple pleasures

my girls
It wouldn't be a proper Asian playground without adult exercise equipment!

See the ladies in the distance? Stretchin' those hamstrings!
Public everyday exercise continues to amuse and delight me.

ABear was committed to recording every observation in her "small moments"
writing notebook from school. She struck up quite the conversation with
this woman on the bench - who spoke to ABear almost entirely in Mandarin
while simultaneously whacking her feet with a stick (?)
Ahhhh - and the goldfish catch/release pond. Something you'd never see in the states, I'll wager:

You "rent" these nets and bowls from a lady and catch all the fish you want. Try not to step on them - yes, you are allowed in the pond (we didn't allow our girls in). Hope you get them back in the water deftly enough and watch them swim away. Then return your net safely to retrieve your coin.

Of course - you couldn't expect us to go on a trip without some sort of hitch, right? Little BunnyCakes ran - literally ran - into a glass wall - full tilt. She had quite the bump on her noggin'. 

Not only was I too chicken to go to the ER in Guangzhou - I also had a heckuva time getting ice for this wee one with the language barrier. (You'd think words wouldn't be needed!?) In any case, she's completely fine. And now we have an embarrassing story to tell her when she grows up.

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