Saturday, June 22, 2013

And this time I fell in love

I am falling in love with China.  I wish I could say it was love at first sight, but it wasn't.

 As I have mentioned before, I became sick on both of my previous trips and I could not separate my feeling of the country from the extreme nausea.  I was pregnant with Peter on my first visit -- so it was that typical first trimester exhaustion and sickness that many women know.  That coupled with the terrible pollution from the coaling industry in the area Nicholas was from, and I could hardly wait to get out of dodge.

And, on Ellie's trip, I had one of the worst viruses I have had in my life.  I hardly ever get sick, but this was bad.  Nausea, fever, conjunctivitis, sore throat -- I had it all.  I didn't even make the Red Couch picture (something most American families like to do in the lobby of the White Swam hotel).  I was certainly being melodramatic, but at one terrible moment I thought I might die in China.  Needless to say, I wasn't appreciating its beauty or its history.

 But this time, I am loving it.  I am having such a wonderful time just exploring this city.  It is so nice to stay for a longer time in one place and really get to know it.  Christopher and I have spent a lot of time just wandering around.

We have wonderful guides, Richard and Alexa.  I need to get a picture of them! It is nice to have them to myself (instead of being in a big group, as on our last trip) to answer all of my questions about China and its history.  Among many things, they have helped me to understand Cantonese culture (southern China) in particular.  The people of Guangdong province descended from the same people who now live in Malaysia and Vietnam.  Christopher, apparently, looks very Cantonese with his high forehead, small nose, and olive complexion.  The city that he is from, Dianbai, does not have a lot of movement in terms of immigration or emigration, so his ancestors might have been here for thousands of years.

Yesterday, we visited a museum which displays the tomb and the burial site of of of the Nanyue kings of the Han Dynasty, from about 120 BC.

We actually got to walk down into the tomb.

Christopher was fast asleep, but I enjoyed myself.

These are the remains of one of the King's concubines.  I took this picture because I know the kids will be fascinated.

Here's the king, incased in jade.

We have also spent a lot of time just chillin' at the hotel.  The hotel itself if gorgeous, but the garden outside takes the cake.

There is a huge waterfall

And a koi pond.

And just fresh air (relatively speaking -- this is a big city in China!) 

and some beautiful sculptures

This one, inside the hotel, is my favorite: mother and child.

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