Am thinking about volunteering my services to the UN. They can send me to drought areas and, hey presto, rain will probably follow. Arrived in Hong Kong to warm weather and sunshine. The next day was overcast and rainy. Guangzhou was a deluge.
Anyway, arrived in Hong Kong, got the flash train into the centre and a taxi to Chungking Mansions, all the while marvelling at how easy Hong Kong is. Got myself a room/broom cupboard for a couple of nights and went out for a walk. HK hasn't really changed all that much; still very busy, full of shops and neon and people selling you stuff. In the evening went for an Chicken Massala in Chungking and ate rather too much.
The next morning headed over to Wanchai on HK island where the Chinese Visa office is. Sat in the queue for an an hour and applied for my Z visa - turns out I did have the correct papers, which was nice, but also meant that the one sat on John Zhu's desk for Manchester should havce been sent to me and this whole trip could have been avoided. Hung around Wanchai for a couple of hours, collected my passport and got the ferry back over to Kowloon. Got some samosas for lunch and took the MTR (underground) to north Kowloon to check out a Taoist temple up there. Interesting but mostly just killing time. Back in Tsim sha tsui I wandered a bit more and ended up in a Spanish bar called La Tasca. Kind of reminded me of places in Granada when I went with Tan. Was going to have Tapas but they didn't have patatas bravas so i settled for some olives and a "chiken fajita." It came with thick potato wedges instead of tortilla wraps but was very nice.
Next morning I got a taxi to Hung Hom station and took the train straight to Guangzhou. Getting the taxi from the train station there to the good old Youth Hostel on Shamian was nice - I was amazed at how much I remembered and how little it's changed. Guangzhou is still very green, slightly shabby and, on the surface, I still like it.
Got caught in a monster downpour after checking in and then headed to the Guangxiao temple. There I ended up talking to two old women who help look after the place and they ended up giving me a tour around, some books, and a bag full of fruit, biscuits, sweets and nuts. O Mi Tuo Fo. Said I'd say hello if I go back to Guangzhou in the summer.
In the evening I stayed on Shamian and went to eat a hamburger. Shamian is still full of couples who have bought (sorry, adopted) Chinese babies which I still find leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I'm sure there are many benefits for all concerned but that doesn't mean I have to like it.
And now am back at the school and, I guess, back to teaching tomorrow. I shouldhave stayed away an extra day - tomorrow is my busiest schedule...