February 16, 2007

I'm finally getting a chance to post some photos and tales from my travels a week or so ago.
I arrived in Guangzhou at 5:30 in the morning, after an overnight sleeper bus. The bus is for sardines -there are two storeys (luckily I was sleeping on the bottom, because I wouldn't feel that comfortable sleeping on a top bunk on a bus wearing a seat belt), and you sleep on an incline so that your feet are under another person's head. I took a taxi to Adeline's place, and the guard escorted me up to a very sleepy Adeline. I crawled into bed and slept for a few hours. It was nice to finally get some sleep. When I finally woke up I wandered around town a bit, and visited a few tourist sites. Over the two days in Guangzhou I made it to a few temples (yes, I'm almost Buddha-d out, but more on that when I get to HongKong), a cool tomb where you would walk in, a few gardens/parks, and lots of busy streets.
I always find it interesting walking through some of the back streets, just off main roads, and see how people actually live. It's often quite different from the glamorous lives you see on TV or in the movies. In China there is a huge gap between the rich (often ultra rich) and the poor (often dirt poor). There is only a small middle class in China, and almost no social services in China despite calling itself a Socialist country. Yes China is Communist, but it's also incredibly Capitalist.
It was nice to visit with Adeline and Jason, whom I haven't seen for a year and a half now, since I was working in Ottawa. We were able to catch up over a few meals and coffees despite work and touristing. The world really is a small place -you can meet on one continent, call your permanent home in a second continent, then meet again on a third continent. While travelling I've heard many stories of chance meetings and remeetings, and of old friends bumping into each other in random countries. I know it's a cliche, but it's also very true.

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