Thursday, July 17, 2014

Noodles, Monks and Subways; Modern and Ancient Guangzhou, PRC

We set off on our first Guangzhou (formerly Canton) adventure today with a little help from Uncle Lon, who makes life simple, clear and stress-free. We started the day in modern, central Guanzhou by the brand new Opera House, the Guangdong Museum and the stunning Canton tower.  This enormous central section of this ancient city barely existed before the Asian Games came to town just a few years ago.  It is a bizarre mix of cutting edge architecture and capitalism gone amok with a creepy underground mall, acres long with only a Starbucks and a few empty, half-built store fronts. But the boys were most excited by the clean, quiet and bustling subways that shuttled us quickly across this giant metropolis of 12 million. 

Old Ghuangzhou is a different story.  Winding back roads, beautiful ancient temples and endless jade markets gave the kids hours of entertainment. They were as amazed by the forty foot Buddhas at Six Banyans as they were by another healthy dose of noodles and "slippery shrimp" dim sum that has had them eating their way through Cantonese delights.  

We were particularly impressed with their questions at the Guangxiao Temple as they wandered the halls of hundreds of giant, golden Buddhas with various states of facial hair and expressions; "why did the Buddha have so many different looks?"  "Why do people burn incense?"  "Why do people leave big bags of rice for the monks?"  Tomorrow we leave for Beijing via the bullet train, but we can't wait to get  back to Auntie Nina and Uncle Lon's hometown of surprising delights.