10th - 11th March 2004.

Guangzhou was our first taste of mainland China.  It was here that we realised the enormity of the problem of knowing none of the language. Signs on the roads didn't match up to our map, and people aren't afraid to look at you alot in a bemused, "Why the hell did you come here?" kind of way.

The took us an hour to find it and once we were on it, none of the stations were where we thought they were.  We got to our destination eventually...and were pleased to book a bus ticket in sign language. Our sign language was obviously very good and we got front row seats for the 8 hour night bus with no leg room at all!

We have realised to survive the next few weeks, we need to bury the pride and do alot of sign language, whilst picking up a few words along the way...

Whilst wandering the streets trying to locate museums and temples, we found this busy man taking a sneaky nap.

The Chinese are obviously very industrious and can make something from nothing... they seem to spend a lot of time playing games and napping!

We stayed in Shamian Dao Island as it is a quieter place than the main big city.  When the British and French defeated the Chinese in the Opium war, the island was conceded and hence has a European look to the architecture. It is a relaxed pace, with colonial buildings, nice parks and funny statues of tourists mocking touristic behaviour.

This is the pagoda in the temple of the Six Banyan trees. It is 55 metres high and has lost its Banyan trees along time ago because the wood was needed to make kitsch coffee tables for rich tourists.

We climbed to the top to appreciate the view of rundown apartment blocks and laundry everywhere.

A monk going about his daily duties.... in very comfortable looking shoes.

Guangzhou has several museums worthy of a visit. This is the inside of an art museum which is supposed to have many of the Xian Terracotta Warriors on display.  What we got to see was a replica, shown to us by a woman who thought Jason was very "hinsim"(Handsome).

We took this photo out of politeness. ... but it is worth noting that it would have been rather easy to poke the eyes out of this pint-size warrior. 

The art museum was pants (the Chinese are not famous for their painting), but the outside fountain showing these red statues was worth the trek there.

Not only are they red but they bear a striking resemblance to the Chairman, Mao who is both Red and Dead... and possibly cold and naked as well.

Comedy signs were the nature of the stay with most resulting from misunderstanding of the English language. This little gem obviously arrived straight from the cultural revolution, banning any form of fast exercise.

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