SUN YAT-SEN MEMORIAL HALL. guangzhou

SUN YAT-SEN MEMORIAL HALL. guangzhou

For those of you who are not familiar with Sun Yat-Sen, he was the leader of China’s republican revolution. He did much to inspire and organize the movement that overthrew the Manchu dynasty in 1911—a family of rulers that reigned over China for nearly three hundred years. Through the Kuomintang Party, he paved the way for the eventual reunification of the country.

postcards from chaozhou, guangdong

postcards from chaozhou, guangdong

One of my favorite aspects of China, especially smaller towns in China, is the ingenuity to create or modify items to more effectively suit it’s very specific function.  A great example is the double watering can system, close up below.

One recurring theme I am always drawn to is the wearing away and contrast created by time.  The door frames are ornate, but the surrounding space is now overgrown.  What did this place look like in its heyday?
Can you see the cat in the photo?
This door’s beauty is in its frequent use, and its slow wear over time.

A close-up of the village wall that has a new pattern created by weather & time.  The pattern reminds me of the rice terraces found in other areas of China.

Another aspect of smaller Chinese towns that I love are the handmade objects, especially the baskets.  Baskets are everywhere in Chaozhou: carried on shoulders of farmers & attached to both sides of a motorcycle.  The density of the weave changes with the function.  For example, baskets meant to use as a cage for chickens or to hold large items are a very large-scale open weave, while baskets meant for holding small items have a very tight weave.  The patterns created are beautiful.

A Chinese truck…it reminds me of Mad Max, very makeshift!

After a six-hour bus ride from Guangzhou, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Chaozhou, but was very happy to be there to visit my good friends and their newborn baby.  Chaozhou is a fairly small and quiet city (by Chinese standards), and I was grateful for the chance to visit the farmland and old village within the city that may soon be demolished in China’s push to modernize.

WENSHU TEMPLE. chengdu

WENSHU TEMPLE. chengdu

Peeling Chestnuts
A new monk, posing for an introductory photo shoot! I felt very lucky to witness this.
The “dots” on a bhikkhu’s forehead are actually small, circular burns that are given to the monk when he ordains. The burns are created with small, coiled and waxed wicks. The coils are lit and then placed on the forehead and left until they extinguish. This method is used primarily in the Chinese Buddhist (Mahayana) tradition and it originated as a method to distinguish genuine monks from those pretending to be monks. During times of great famine or poverty in China, some people would pretend to be monks so that they could live and eat in a monastery.
YUM YUM, DIM SUM! guangzhou

YUM YUM, DIM SUM! guangzhou

a perfect little dumpling.

Soup dumplings, pork buns, shrimp dumplings, fried rice, spring rolls.  Have a look at the size of this lazy susan…a prerequisite for most restaurants in China, as the tradition is to dine “family style”.  I love this way of eating because diners get to sample a little of many different dishes. Bon apétit!

CHEN CLAN ACADEMY. guangzhou

CHEN CLAN ACADEMY. guangzhou

In late Qing Dynasty, Chinese-Americans who returned to Guangzhou proposed the idea to raise money from all the Chen clans to build a temple for the worship of their ancestors and a place for their clansmen to study for examinations.  The Chen Clan Academy was finished in 1894 with the money donated by Chen families in 72 counties of Guangdong Province as well as some overseas family members.

This is a beautiful complex in the middle of the hustle & bustle of modern Guangzhou…a great place to spend an afternoon!

THE FARM @ TONG SHA HU. dongguan

THE FARM @ TONG SHA HU. dongguan

Sounds like an upscale, organic, farm-to-table restaurant in New York, but no-it IS a real farm on the grounds of the park, and they serve lunch for visitors, and also make honey!

postcards from macau

postcards from macau

There are two things in the world that can’t be joked: 1. marriage, 2. potato
A-MA TEMPLE. macau

A-MA TEMPLE. macau

The A-Ma Temple is the oldest temple in Macau. It was constructed in 1488 during the Ming Dynasty to commemorate Mazu, the sacred sea goddess who blesses the fishermen of Macau.  Those spirals are huge incense coils.  As they burn, the smoke adds to the otherworldliness of this magical place.

UNIQUE MACAU 澳門

UNIQUE MACAU 澳門

Macau was a Portuguese colony and both the first & last European colony in China.  Portuguese traders first settled in Macau in the 16th century and subsequently administered the region until the handover at the end of 1999.

This was my first trip to Macau, and I found it to be a charming place.  Many times I did not feel like I was in China…I could have been anywhere in Europe.  There are great little Portuguese cafes, tiled sidewalks, and so much preserved colonial architecture.  Both Macau and Shanghai’s historic colonial architecture set within the backdrop of typical Chinese architecture is an amazing contrast.

SHUI GUO. dongguan

SHUI GUO. dongguan

Apples special for New Year’s…I don’t know how it’s done, but I love it!

Shui guo, fruit, is one of the great things about living in southern China. Fruit is plentiful & delicious here!

Photos from my local fruit & veggie market.