Life Roll-up

These past couple of months have been a whirlwind. Despite the dreary weather (I wouldn’t be surprised if “February” and “grey” were synonymous in Cantonese), I have been out and about exploring the many facets of the city. Our Community Liaison Office (CLO) has been busy planning tours and such, and I have been keen on taking full advantage of the luxury of not having to plan myself! So here goes with a little “roll-up” of what’s been going on around here lately…

Last month we took a tour of the Yakushi fresh water pearl factory in Guangzhou. Yakushi is a wholesale Japanese pearl provider that produces high-quality pearls for vendors such as Cartier, Tiffany’s, etc. We were able to see some of their workers in action, sorting the best from the so-so’s, as well as their stock for the elite clients…

So close, yet so far away…sigh…
Talk about focused…these workers hand-sort the good pearls from the flawed. They definitely have an eye for spotting minute discrepancies.

We also recently took one of what I hope are many trips to Hong Kong. With its combination of cosmopolitan glam and green space, going there is definitely a much-welcomed respite from the industrial scene of Guangzhou. This time around we went to their zoo, which is not much of a zoo at all, but it was fun just the same. It was especially fun to see some of the “exotic” animals at the zoo, including…

The elusive racoon…

This guy won the raccoon lottery. He was by far the fattest raccoon I’ve ever laid eyes on!

…and the exotic flamingo!

Lordy, lordy look who’s forty!!

We also took a walking tour of old Guangzhou, a section of town where some of the ancient architecture has been preserved. We toured Chen Clan Academy, which was originally a house built for a wealthy family (the Chens) in China. They had a house built in Guangzhou so that they would have a place to stay when they came into town. Now it’s a museum. We also toured a couple of other old buildings and walked around the surrounding neighborhood. Below are some of the sights we saw…

The entrance to Chen Clan Academy
Street food at its finest…eggs cooked in a teepee of salt! I didn’t try one, but I was told they were pretty tasty.
An ancient GZ front door. These doors are famous in Guangzhou and still exist on the fronts of many homes and apartments in the old parts of the city.

And last but certainly not least, allow me to indulge in the activity nearest and dearest to my heart lately…college basketball! I recently gave a speech at State’s Public Affairs Office, schooling the audience on the ins-and-outs of March Madness. The Chinese loooove basketball but aren’t very familiar with the college basketball scene in the US. My goal was to convey the excitement of the tournament in hopes that they may find another outlet for their basketball obsession. If nothing else, I sure got myself pumped up for the Big Dance!

Making Ashley Judd proud, one day at a time…
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