Enter the Dragon

The Dragon dance in my mind, has long since been associated with China and being Chinese for me at least. The Dragon, represents good fortune and prosperity. Traditionally the dance is performed around Chinese New Year. But since coming to Guangzhou, Dragon dances have become commonplace.

People, the local Guangzhou-ites want good luck for everything. If a new store opens (just down the road from my apartment as it happens) then a dragon dance maybe performed. I’m sure there are different interpretations on the dragon dance. But, the one the one that I’ve seen is where the dragon is ‘tamed’ by a dragon gladiator. Armed with a fan (and headgear too), the gladiator dances with the dragon. To what end, I’m not sure but the dances can be done be dance by a dance troupe, especially trained in this art. And art, it is. I recently visited a Dragon’s head exhibit in Hong Kong and some of the stories of how long it takes to make a dragon’s head is just staggering. 1 year in some cases.

Planes, tardy and aquaphobic

The rain means it gets a bit wet.

For some reason, the romance and mystic of air travel has eluded me. It used to be nice and fanciful, but now I see it as just another flying bus, with very small windows. Perhaps it’s the wrong crowd I’m rubbing shoulders. Literally. In China there’s no such thing as a nice crowd. To be fair the same might go for that in South Korea, too. A mad dash for the door even though we haven’t docked at the terminal. Why the rush? This ain’t no game of Rugby. I’m not sure that channeling the All Blacks (past or present) would help.

But, the one thing that bakes your cake is that the planes are almost always late. Flying in China is problematic. The fact the military owns most of the usable airspace is a further problem. I have proof. The BBC wrote about this sort of thing not so long ago, so it must be true. I’ve seen a lot of angry and irate passengers having a yell at the Flight attendants who, can reply with great honesty that they don’t know when the plane is leaving, or is late, or has in fact arrived at the jet way. CSA or, China Southern Airlines acronyms had early on taken on a more apt meaning. China’s Slowest Airline. There’s another one that also deals with poo.
But, at times, in dealing with my travel woes, company of my work colleagues, and entertainment make the waiting all the more comfortable. Still, it’s a small miracle when the plane does finally take off, if not the restrictive amount of airspace to fly, it’s the weather. One of my colleagues and friend once quipped back to me after my question of his planes departure. “I don’t suppose it’ll take off in the rain in case the wings get wet”. He’s not predisposed to making comments like that. He is in fact, Welsh. The circumstances made him say it but, I could hardly laugh, as my flight was leaving soon after his.

Soupy, and everything Fujianese


Frequent travelling means that I get to sample some of the more regional foods. Hunan food is typically spicy though in small amounts, it’s quite more-ish. Even then, it still

Not Sedrin but, it’s more well-known cousin. I was well received.

amounts in a ‘mass exodus’ and interrupted sleep. But, it’s not Hunan spicy food I’m writing about but the dish is from Fuzhou, Fujian province. Made up of roasted pork, not barbecued but more of a spice closer to cinnamon or even all-spice. Mixed in with Julienne’s of potato, rice and a soup. This was the perfect meal for me and my colleagues who had travelled in from Guangzhou a dozen hours before. The soup, a close relative to Fuzhou’s famous li-zhi pork dish as it had the same flavours, all in some sort of meat based broth. Lovely stuff, in my opinion, it was the star of the show.

Plucking away, hotel ambiance

Plucked. A Gui zhen sounds close to a pianola.

I’m sad to say that I’m a regular visitor to hotels. Work makes me do it. In my line, travelling is made as comfortable as possible. And of course, it is. These are quite nice hotels in the Wanda hotel chain, which are owned by the Wanda group. I would have to say that in all the hotel experiences I’ve had in my life, these are pretty well up there. The rooms are generously proportioned, and even have carpet in them. It’s nicer than my apartment. Carpet is rare for China, or at least the southern part. I like to take my socks off and feel it through the soles of my feet. An experience second only to walking on, or, through grass.

The rooms are well appointed with a desk, a flat panel LCD screen and a very large bed. The rooms, in fact, hotel is a bit dark for me. I know that darkened restaurants make for a more intimate dining experience, perhaps a darkened hotel lends towards a more intimate stay and guests will stay longer? I’m not sure, but I can say that the breakfast includes a selection of Western style and Asian.

Who would have thought that I would get sick of having bacon, hash browns and baked beans for breakfast everyday?

The sleepers, await

Gaming, Guangzhou style!

Old men in the making, just give it time.

Just walking around the city you get an idea of what the locals do when they don’t work. They play, of course. By all means smartphones have their place (mostly with those who have them) but, these games are traditional board games and it seems, are everywhere. I’ve seen Chinese chess being played in the North of China as well as Guang-dong, which is in the south.

On a more personal observation, the game of Mah-jong is also played everywhere but mostly by the elderly. It fills the need and they do have time. I have watched countless rounds being played at my grandfather’s house by my mother, aunts and uncles and also by my great aunts and uncles. A game in that instance played for sixpence a round.

A sunset, a cityscape


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