Guangzhou is rarely sunny, but on those days when the blue sky shows, it can be a remarkably beautiful place. Here’s a photo taken from my balcony following a large storm.
These photos have been sitting on my computer for some time, and I haven’t had a moment to write anything about them. They are from a trip that I took about a month ago to a village outside of Guangzhou, in search of places that we might be able to camp and establish some volunteer projects for local Guangzhou youth. It was a beautiful trip, and a great example of one of the countless villages that dot the Chinese countryside. There is more of a story that goes with these pictures, but for now, let’s just look. In other news, this blog reached 100,000 hits yesterday. A milestone of sorts…
As part of my job, I get to visit some pretty cool (and sometimes less cool) places. On a recent site visit, we found ourselves lost in the rural flat-lands about an hour north of Guangzhou. We had planned on spending the day visiting a builder of dragon boats, but somewhere along the way had managed to take a wrong turn. Driving through random back streets, we found ourselves at the gate to what appeared to be a resort. I have traveled all over, but never have I seen anything quite on the scale of excess that dripped off of this particular venue. Early on in my time in China, a sight like this would have shocked me, and I would have tried to make sense of it all. Who bothers to build a multi-million dollar resort in a region where no one can possibly afford to visit? The government, of course! We asked if it would be possible to get a group rate, but the manager didn’t want to have much of anything to do with us. Perhaps it was my muddied hiking boots…
Two weeks ago, I headed north to host a training at a school in Beijing. I was only meant to stay for two days, and then head back to Guangzhou, but I ended up spending a full two weeks in the Capitol, working on summer and fall projects for the company, as well as spending time with old roommates. Of the two months that I have been a resident of Guangzhou, nearly three and half weeks have been spent in Beijing. In many ways, I still feel more comfortable there than in my new home.
A good friend is heading back to her home in the U.K. in just over a week, and though I am sure we will see one another again, it is always hard to say such distant good-byes. In a world of Skype and flawless connections, I often lose sight of the realities of distance and time. Though I would like to claim ignorance to the absurd geographic barrier between myself and the people I love, there are times when I am washed over by the awareness that a phone call only carries a small piece of each person to my ear. I suspect this is what drives my writing at this moment. The world is not nearly so large as I once thought, but I still grapple with the idea that I can’t make sense of it all, much as I might like.
I don’t know where I meant to go with this whole sensitive discussion; It’s something I typically avoid in my posts, but it has become such a dominant feeling that I figured it was worth this space. I do not plan on leaving China just yet, but I do wonder what life after this place will hold. There was a time when graduate university was my only goal in life- Those days have long since faded, but somewhere deep down, an academic desire still lingers. I no longer think I would pursue this route in the United States, but as I have come to understand, the U.S. is but a small piece of a vast world.
I was in Hong Kong just over a week ago sorting out a visa issue. Because Hong Kong is run almost completely separate from the mainland, most public systems are different, including the cash. This is a picture of one of their bills, a fantastic shade of purple. Hong Kong seemed amazing, but I was only there for four hours, and I think more time is deserved if I am to write any sort of post. For now, I’ll just leaving you to wonder who had such a brilliant idea as to create purple cash.