CHINA DIARY - PART 2
After a few days of rest which were spend mostly to keep my notes in order and prepare for the second part of my trip. The date for it to start was set for the 5th September. That day I boarded the China Eastern Airlines flight and left Hong Kong once more behind me heading for Nanjing this time. The last city of my first visit and first on the second. The visit short this time for me to be able to do what I wanted there, however it was a nice welcome site.
†The next cities visited, Zhenjiang, Zhangziagang, Jiangyin and Nantong had nothing memorable to offer as they were all big commercial centres as all are situated more near to Shanghai and all have heavy shipping traffic. Last stop along the river Shanghai, a city with a population of a country, 14 million. A completely modernized city that in some places reminds the visitor of any European city with all the shops and shopping centres but on the other hand with its old buildings preserved in perfect state. What a visitor should do is to take the boat that does short trips in the river that crosses shanghai. The trip is very good and gives you the opportunity to see many of the cities historical treasures that holds showing the esteem and the long history the city has.
Next stop Ningbo(Beilun) which is the biggest port fro the transportation of iron ore. The city is full with canals and small bridges that make it a nice sight. However when I have visited due to construction and maintenance undergoing constructions it was preferable to walk than take a car. The area also is famous for its woodcarvings manufacturing and this is evident as the dominant decoration of all the buildings is made from wood.
From there we took the hydrofoil for the island of Zhousan, which is a world of its own. Not influenced in any way from the changes happening and it fully traditional. The number of cars is very limited and for short distances the tricycle is used. The whole area is quite and peaceful and really relaxes the visitor. During our stay I move even further off the shores and visited the installations in the small island of Aoshan. There after the official meeting I spend my time that I had available until the afternoon boat was scheduled to arrive watching the local fishermen bring out their catch of the day and after bargaining for the sales.
After that rather nice change of pace we moved onwards to the city of Wenzhou. The city was in disarray as a typhoon had devastated the area only a couple of days ago. In spite this the day were the Moon Festival, one of the biggest celebrations in China, the tradition of families eating together and sharing presents was kept by all. Even at the hotel were I was staying at my return I found a moon cake and fruits, it was their way to celebrate the festival.
At the next stop the weather has delayed our schedule and as a result the visit was short and did not have the chance to visit any of the local sites that were advertised in the local tourist guides.
A general comment here regarding the state of the cities. As I move further south the cities become more big, not so much clean as in the north and look more that big metropolis.
Next stop the city of Fuzhou. A small city but the weather and the hectic schedule have not allowed me to be able to explore what it was on offer.†
Xiamen, my next stop is an exemption. Although one of the big cities it has managed to keep itís traditional character and be clean also. The park near the centre of the city is full of flowers with a range of colours. Here I have to emphasize that colours play a very big part in the everyday life. Different colours are used to express different emotions and each occasion such as weddings, funerals, etc have their own colour code. Other places to visit are the botanic garden a big Budist temple and the mountain in the outskirts of the city from which you can observe all of it.
As the time remaining on my visa was getting short I returned to Shenzhen to use the time to visit the nearby area. First stop the old Cantona now called Huangpu. In Cantona is were the Cantonese dialect originates which together with the Mandarin dialect are the main ones used all over China. In the old days Cantonese was used by the peasants while Mandarin by the higher ranking officials and people with some status.
It is worth mentioning that all over China a huge number of local dialect exists and survives. I heard that the number is close to 200 but as I have not managed to find an official figure I can not verify this number.
The area is fully industrialised as it was from the ancient times a place of trade and also were the opium war started between the British mainly which were helped by the other Europeans and the Chinese. After a 2 day stay a quick visit to Yantian, an area east of Hong Kong with no interest from the tourism point of view.
Last visit Zhuhai, a small port next to Macau. Macau which until 1999 was under the Portugese and it is a place were many, from Hong Kong and China, use as a vacation spot or a weekend get way. It is full of casinos t the delight of the gamblers, but at the same time has a Maritime museum and a few more sites which will please a demanding tourist.
From Zhuhai I took the hydrofoil and was back in Hong Kong. This time my return was a little more better than the first time as the continuous travel had started to wear me off but it was something that I would gladly do all over again.