We made it back to Hong Kong quite a bit earlier than expected. Before 6pm, we were already back home to grandma’s place, feeling tired as usual. This won’t be much of a pictorial post, nor will it be a long one, given that I’ve got to go to pack for tomorrow’s early 6:45am wake and fly out to Shanghai for a 6 day trip with dad, Kuen and his wife.
So, maybe I will just try to sum up what has happened in the past 2 days of the tour. Yesterday, we went to Chao Zhou proper, visited a shop, went to a temple, went on a man-powered rickshaw, had vegetarian meal for lunch and then walked around a few stalls at the temple. After that, we went to a nature reserve of some sort, had dinner and went back to the hotel. As we elected to do the night activity, I did some shopping at Walmart and also had some meat balls and other stuff.
Today, we mainly visited a small temple, had a last meal, and endured the long bus ride back. Nothing too exciting – but value for money it definitely is!
I’ll elaborate on these points a little more when the time permits, but some observations:
– Some people here eat quite messily and leave food scraps all over the table. Others are obsessed with cleaning their bowls and cups with hot tea, and it seems a little wasteful to me. Some are very loud and relatively confident and will pick the best pieces from the table for themselves. But in general, aside from a slightly annoying guy sitting behind us who likes to chatter all the time, it was very good. The guide was friendly and knowledgeable, even though I don’t understand some of what he is saying. The tour is run by Kwan Kien.
– I cursed myself and had to use a squat toilet today. I guess it wasn’t too bad, but it will be a challenge for those who … uh, need to take their time. Toilets are quite interesting – we stopped off at a servo today and the toilet is basically just a tile-lined trough. It was filled by the time the bus left.
– The food there is always full of variety, and although dad tells me the quality is nothing special, I personally thought it was actually quite good. If anything, that is the main selling point of the tour. The hotel was quite nice too, the beds were fairly comfy.
– I wish I bought my big camera along – so in the case of the next trip, I am bringing it along but only with my favourite lens. Have to keep the weight down to make it somewhat more comfortable, otherwise, it’s a chore.
– The weather today got quite a lot colder, but still comfortable. It was even raining today. But rain seems not to be a problem for those guys, even riding scooters – they have some special poncho-like covering for themselves and they even have mittens that go around the handlebars. But even without – and I’m not kidding – people ride their scooter with one hand holding an umbrella! Just wow!
– The tour guide advised us of some antics – especially perpetuated by sellers, where handbags are selling for $1600 RMB are really only $55 RMB to produce, and they prey on your sense of guilt in bargaining – someone was quite happy to have got it for $200 RMB, but the seller still makes a tidy profit. Neat. Sort of.
– The holidays are over – so today, we met our first real experience of a traffic jam. Not great, it seems like everyone gets impatient when a jam occurs and horns are beeping all over the place with people trying to slip in here and there. Nothing too dangerous though, thankfully.
– Tissues are not a given in any toilet or even a restaurant – and even then, it seems like box tissues have given way to plastic packets of tissues instead (small ones).
Anyway, I think that’s enough from me. Time to get some shuteye for another busy few days … up till I fly home!