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Brian’s Travel Diary

Monday, 22 Jan 2007

Location: Guangzhou, China

MapThe first day in Guanzhou is like "America Day." The island we are staying on - Shaiman Island - is full of soon to be parents who are in the midst of adopting a Chinese child. There are lots of Westerners (I even met and Eagles fan). Guanzhou is apparently where all foreigners have to go to adopt a child (like Vladivostok for Russia). Its very nice and quiet which is a welcome change of pace from Hong Kong. Needless to say the local fare is catering to the western pallet so I got fried rice pizza and french fries. Its always interesting to me to eat local fare foreign food thats local to you. Im sure the Chinese think that Hong Lee around the corner is rediculous and want to know why you only get on chicken wing. The western food was a good break from what was about to be my 10th noodle bowl in a row.

The train from Hong Kong to Guangzhou was a real time demonstration of every Kyoto violoation possible. The smog on the way here was just as bad, if not worse, than Hong Kong. The only thing comparable quantity wise would be the "smug" cloud over San Francisco. But I have seen some blue in the sky today for the first time since leaving Atlanta. All that being said Shaiman Island is very nice and the communist presence is very visible with guards on every corner and troop marches.

After some boring temples and parks I stumbled upon the "farmer's market." There were things there I would not feed to Indiana and much of it smelled like the rawhide section of a Pet Smart. Most of the animals were still alive and caged or leashed. I expected most of it, like the chickens, frogs, turtles, ducks, pigeons, doves, snakes, eels, scorpions and fish, but the caged and leashed cats threw me for a loop. I really should have expected it but it caught me off guard. I hope not to see the same for dogs. The other shocking thing was the number of dried tiger paws be carved up sold for their toe nails - dozens! Plus the normal deer and antelope head. Watching someone slaughter a chicken was interesting as well, they really do keep moving for another minute. Of course with all this going on the red bearded meigua ryn was the show stopper. Lots of people wanted me to take their picture or get a picture taken with me.

Tomorrow the plan is to get an 11hr train to Guilin and then a boat to Yangshuo.

The weather is about 16C and getting colder. It's still golf weather according to my Dad.