In Shenzhen, we got stressed a bit. At the beginning Jowita had an unpleasant situation in the toilet. Chinese probably would’t have won the gold medal in the competition for waiting in the organized queue, but you have to give them credit, even after several weeks in their country they could surprise us. One Lady (surely in a great hurry) vigorously like a young kangaroo jumped into the toilet before surprised face of Jowita. My wife after a short struggle with Polish and Chinese battle cries lost the fight, however the trauma remained.
Later it wasn’t any better, because it turned out that I decided to return the favor to Ting, our kind host from Xiamen by leaving our mobile phone to her. The only problem was that I did it unconsciously and the information about our next hostess (including mobile number) was in the lost phone. We would call her and inform about situation, but our phone was in Xiamen… Besides, the number of the next hostess – from Shenzhen – was written in our phone – which, as you probably already remember – was in Xiamen!
With the mix of our own traveler’s experience, Internet connection at Starbucks and help from one very friendly guy from African paradise island of Mauritius met at the exit of the subway we were able to control the situation. Special thanks to Starbucks China where we used toilet whenever we could, because it was always clean and there was always a soap! How ignorantly we laughed at the informative plates advising: “do not squat on the toilet”, then it occurred to us that if someone was squatting on the toilet for the whole life, it is not so easy to give up the habit (in Guangzhou we saw footprints on the toilet seat).
We have to admit that in Shenzhen we did not see much. We didn’t want to see skyscrapers anymore, because China was already so overwhelming with its king-size of everything around. We wanted to take a look at the sea, but we were too lazy to organize some transport to the beach, so we decided to walk to some boulevard or promenade, take a little stroll. Shenzhen however, turned out to be a much bigger city than we thought (didn’t we learn anything about China in China?!) . We’ve got lost a little – it was however, a lot of hot sunshine : ) (finally !!!).
What we had experienced in Shenzhen was meeting with curious foreigners – apart from Mr Mauritius, who looked a bit like a twin brother of Bob Marley, our hostess was Armenian speaking Armenian, English, Spanish, Russian, Greek, and… Polish : ) ) her colleague that we met was born in Turkey but he was Syriac (representative of the ancient people inhabiting the Middle East since Biblical times). He was a Christian speaking Aramaic language, and at our request he said the prayer “Our Father” in Aramaic – as Jesus would do. It was a profound experience, who would think that we will hear Aramaic for the first time in China!?
Our next stop was Guangzhou. Another name for this city is Canton. You may have heard about the Cantonese language, popular in southern China and famous for its presence in kung-fu movies. While in the main, Mandarin version of the Chinese there are 4 tones in we were told that in Cantonese there are 9! I can not imagine to learn a language which has 9 tones, even if I would study it for days without a break. My Polish ears simply cannot distinguish these sounds.
In Guangzhou met with a group of couchsurfers from all over the world, we looked for the family house of Bruce Lee, saw the ancient tomb with the post-mortem funeral outfit of King of Nanyue – Zhao Mo, made of jade (supposed to ensure immortality) and the colonial Shamian Island. We stayed in Guangzhou within a closed private residential area. An interesting fact was that there were many security guards guarding it. Before it was built, the same people were employees of state-owned farm (previously on the site of the residential area). Developer committed to find them a job. So they would make these serious faces, so full of the authority, however, the situation was absolutely hilarious, because in that area lived a lot of foreigners, and the guards did not completely get along in any foreign language, so everyone not-Chinese looking was simply let in to avoid embarrassing difficulties in communication.
We also liked that we could eat dinner with our host – the Italian baker who lived in China for many years. Some of his comments about the country supported by its own experiences seemed to us very interesting. For instance, in his opinion, the Great Wall of China was built because an engineer directing the construction of a public toilet in the north of China forgot to tell the workers that they already have to finish – so they build, build, build… In this concept by no means he states that the Chinese are stupid, but that they require strong leadership to have everything functioning well. At the end, of course we offended our host – by a suggestion that pasta might have arrived to Italy from China : D It turned out that this was a topic for another discussion, long as spaghetti on Marco Polo’s plate.