Saturday, June 18, 2011

China - Touristy Stuff

We recently had the opportunity to visit KS ancestral village in Mei Zhou, China to attend the opening ceremony of the newly restored ancestral home. The home was derelict and in shambles, a decision was made by the relatives to repair and restore the place. The main portion that needed immediate attention was the the prayer hall which contained the ancestors prayer tablets (used for ancestral worship). However, although there is no one staying at the house any more, it was decided that the entire home be upgraded and so the task of repairing the place started a couple of years ago.

So when the place was completed, relatives from Indonesia and Malaysia were invited to attend the opening ceremony which was nothing short of grand. We had an amazing 27-28 relatives from Indonesia and 27-28 relatives from Malaysia who attended this event.

When we reached Guang Zhou, we whisked off on a coach for 2 hours to this place called He Yuan, where a dinosaur egg was found floating along the river years ago. There, we visited an 800 year old Hakka village where people still stay and live like the olden days.

The lanes were laid with smooth stones which were worn down over the centuries that I couldn't resist but walk bare feet.

After that, we were taken to see what used to be the tallest fountain in er... Asia? China? I can't remember. Instead, I spotted this structure which reminded me of the boat in Spirited Away.

The next day, the coach took another 4 hours to get to Mei Zhou where we met up with relatives from China for lunch and then the Indonesians for dinner. In between, we visited an old temple and also another historical place about this person who helped with some uprising. Sorry. Everything was in Mandarin, and the English translations took longer for me to understand so I gave up. All I know was that this guy came to Ipoh to get funds to help with his cause.

After that, we had the ceremony which I will blog about in a separate post.

The last few days were spent shopping and visiting more historical places like a lake which had some story of a man who dreamt of his dead wife visiting him while completely soaked until he built a bridge for her to cross the lake, the very well maintained Opium War museum (if that is what it's called) and the riverbank where the canons which were used to fight against the um, British? Crap. As you can see, my blog entry will be full of inaccuracies. (Wait! KS has done research and gotten the correct names for the places we visited! Yay!)

A really tall bridge near where the canons are located
A horizontal tree growing across the lake at Su Embankment

Gateway to the Lake
Opium War Museum
We also had to be taken to the shop that sells medicine and jade, one of the government requirements for all tours to China. Ushered into a room, we were given displays of unique selling presentations, from frightening guests by looking at them and saying, "I can tell from your face you have problems with your kidneys" to "My wife finally just gave birth to a boy after having 7 girls, so I want to celebrate by giving you a piece of jade as a token of blessings". 

Room view of the Pearl River in Guang Zhou on our last night
Our tour guide, Xiao Qu, and the bus driver who was too shy to take this photo, with the bus.
All in all, I enjoyed myself being in the company of KS relatives. However, if I were to ever go back to China for another tour, I would join one that has an English speaking guide because I probably only got 10% of what was explained. Translations went from Mandarin to Cantonese (which I also struggle with) and occasionally into English until we shifted places to sit near KS mum. Only then was I less embarrassed to keep asking what the guide was saying. 

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