Our exposure of China is growing, expanding and becoming a bit more real. We’ve seen a larger variety of China life and while it can be confronting and stressful, it’s these times that we recognise we really are living in a very foreign country.
Saturday we had our first (and hopefully not last) visit to the dog shelter for My Paws and Me. We knew it would be difficult (luckily there were no actual tears from me) but I didn’t realise the stories of the pups would be so horrible. We spent the morning bonding with a number of pups and getting to know a specific few that could be coming to our home in the near future. After much debate, and many puppy cuddles, we decided on Moppy (not pictured but will be featured in future blogs). He is a rough looking medium sized dog that looks like a white-ish mop, but has a very sweet demeanor. Basically he has been abused with a rope and is terrified of his leash and water. He will be a project for both of us and once he has been properly groomed (his fear is so great they will have to put him under for a wash and clippering) we will bring him to our apartment for TLC and training.
While heartbreaking to see a number of dogs (and this is just a fraction of the dogs around China in these situations) in a place like this, we know they are in a caring environment with love by well-meaning people. We can only hope they find a proper home in the near future and luckily we are here for help with that. The hardest things for me is not being able to take all of them home…or give them to friends and family.
Sunday was our first big outing in China, if only for a day trip. Kaiping was lovely. Very hot and a long way away, but a nice day trip. The trip out these was not nice. 140kms took over 4 hours. China traffic is real people and it is big and busy and chaotic. If I drove here I would have multiple heart attacks in the 3 years. Not pleasant, not calm and not quiet. Our driver liked to use his lights to flash cars who were not close enough to the car in front of them (more than 10 meters was too far) and occasionally used his horn. We never knew why, it just happened. The journey included a quick stop at a service station with a disgusting toilet block (remember this is a country with drop/squat toilets) covered in liquid, not sure what it was but it was all wet. No one came out of the toilets happy, relieved, but not happy.
Kaiping is home to the watchtowers, or Diaolou. They are dotted throughout the landscape. Less than 100 years old, they still hold great history of the area and have amazing architecture to appreciate. We first visited Zili Village and walked up to the top of a watch tower and around the grounds. It was all very beautiful, not too crowded and excruciatingly hot. In addition to that, the other visitors (all Chinese) liked looking at us and saying hello and even taking photos, again this was a first for us to be stared at so blatantly. A first, but definitely not a last.
Our second stop was to Li Gardens which had another collection of buildings with historical significance and a variety of architectural design surrounded by lovely gardens (as the name entails) It was quieter than the village and had nice toilets (always a bonus is China).
Because Joel has 3 days off this week for China’s National Day, we used yesterday as a rest day, in the sense we didn’t venture far. We did, however, have a nice walk in the morning along the river and got lost in a neighborhood checking out a proper local market. Once the heat go to us we wandered back and enjoyed the pool and cocktails on the balcony.
Today is our day of cycling the city. Canton Cycle is a half day tour around the other side of the city, the older and more historical and probably more Chinese part. The temperature at the moment is a balmy 31°. I may melt off the bicycle during the 14kms. I hope there is a cocktail at the end of this day…