Days -2, -1, and 0 (Zero):
36 Hours of Enroute Time;
One Free Day in Guangzhou, China;
Today, We Visit the Local Market,
Five Rams, and Chen Ancestral Home; also
We meet the Cycling Group Tonight.
Dennis, Terry, and Vincent visit a local market.
We visit a local super market.
Dennis & Terry Struck in front of Guangzhou's famous Five Ram Statue;
Picture by Vincent.
The Guangzhou Tower was originally built in 1380, at the beginning of the
The Chen Ancestral Home is known for its roof lined objects
representing many facets of Chinese Lore and Royal Emblems.
First Meeting of the China Bicycle Tour Group (many not pictured here);
From L-R: Partial of Chrissy (peach blouse), Linda, Reg, Vincent (Leader),
Wayne ('as in John'), Vincent (Co-Leader), Gordon, and partial of Sam (grey T-shirt).
The really great attribute about the entire group was that everyone
was well traveled and any hardship was just seen as a challenge.
Days -2, -1, and 0 (Before the Bicycle Tour Starts).
Above Left: Narita, Tokyo; China Southern Airlines; We've already been up 24 hours (with airplane cat naps). We each brought one big book to read in spare time that was supposed to last the entire trip but we have each read 80% of our respective books, we're just too darn excited about our forthcoming travel.
Terry always travels wearing a surgical breathing mask to reduce the chance of picking up an airborne virus, bacteria, or bug.
Above Right: Narita, Tokyo; Hand Air Dryer (very efficient and sanitary).
Above Left: This is called a Seat Toilet (Sophisticated Japanese Style).
Above Right: This is called a Squat Toilet. Each has advantages and disadvantages, like when both are dirty and abused, a Squat Toilet can be used with a more sanitary result for the user; the problem is that Westerners hardly use their squat muscles and they often can't use a squat toilet without dirtying themselves.
Above Left: A picture of our Flight from Narita, Tokyo, Japan, to Guangzhou, China.
Above Right: Zhu Yongxin (Vincent), our Guide, Leader, and Friend along with Terry.
WE'RE IN CHINA !!!!!!!!!!!!
Above Left: It's the Next Day - Skyline from the street. We've had a good night's sleep and Vincent has agreed to be our personal guide for the first 3/4's of the day. We are up early to see a Market in action!
Above Right: Vincent leads the way to the Market.
Above Left: Shopkeeper Tending a dry goods Shop.
Above Right: The Ice Man.
Above: We are at the Main Market and we enter. It is busy but we are ahead of the morning crowd.
Above Left: Chinese Pastries, still filling the display case.
Above Right: Butcher, all Chicken Products.
Above Left: Veggie Isle.
Above Right: Chickens: White Skin Chickens and Black Skin Chickens.
Note the use of Ice.
Above Left: Danshui Manyu (Chinese/Manadrin for Fresh Water Eel) or Unagi (Japanese), a joke between my wife and I, she loves BBQ Eel (Sushi).
Above Right: Farmed Fish.
Odd Observation: I cannot recall seeing or hearing a bird, outside in the wild, until about the sixth day of the bike tour. The event is remembered because that was the first time that anyone noted hearing bird songs.
Above Left: This is a typical grade school entrance, it is well guarded. Every school that I saw in China, no matter how remote or rural, had one entrance and it was always guarded by armed policemen.
Above Right: Terry and Vince are exploring Guangzhou. We are about to take a Taxi to Yuexiu Park.
We visit Yuexiu Park
Above Left: Map of Yuexiu Park. The alternate name for Guangzhou is 'Five Ram City'. See the Yuexiu Park write-up.
Above Right: Palm trees, we are in the Tropics.
Yuexiu Park is a very large park with many hills, lakes, historical sites, cultural sites, museums, and an amusement park. Just as important is that it is a popular park that is used by the locals for many purposes from exercise, walking birds, socializing, group meetings, family meetings, and music practice.
The Five Ram Sculpture on the west side of Nan Xiu Lake is a symbol of Guangzhou. Legend and Folk Lore has it that many thousands of years ago, immortals (spirits, gods, ...) brought five rams to a hill top in drought stricken Guangzhou (Canton) and changed the land to fertile, moist, and rich farmland.
Above Left: I don't know it yet, but this is a very common arrangement of flowers that represents China (Red & Yellow, like the flag) - Red & Yellow are just popular colors in the orient (having nothing to do with politics). Meanwhile, this is just a pretty flower arrangement.
Above Right: Lady performing a Tai Chi at one of many scenic spots in the park. It is very common to see one person start a Tai Chi and have others join in.
Above: Native Flowering Shrubs.
Above Left: This bird was taken out to the park to enjoy the morning. It also makes lovely music as it sings to other caged birds. Notice the Agabe like plant in the background too.
Above Right: Native Flowering Shrubs.
Above Left: Guangzhou's famous Five Ram Statue.
Above Right: Dennis and Terry Struck at Guangzhou's Five Ram Statue.
Above Left: The Guangzhou Tower was originally built in 1380, at the beginning of the Ming Dynasty, by the Yongjia Marquis Zhu Liangzu. The Marquis of the early Ming Dynasty Court was a bit of a money and power show-off and this parapet actually had cannon at one point.
From our walk up, all one can see is the Wall Castellations as well as part of what is now called Guangzhou Tower.
Above Right: Sun Yat-Sen Monument: If I understand it correctly, it was Sun Yat-Sen who wrestled power away from the last Qing Emperor (but allowed him to stay in the Forbidden City) and all of this happened after WWI. Sun Yat-Sen set up the original China Republic and both the Peoples Republic of China (mainland China) and the Republic of China (Taiwan Government) recognize Sun Yat-Sen as the founder of their respective Republics (neither recognized by the other).
Above Left: Tai Chi.
Above Right: Native Flower.
Above Left: An interesting limb dorsal growth pattern.
Above Right: Yuexiu Mountain Stadium (about 30,000 seats) is in the process of being set up for the 2010 Asian Games that take place here in about two days. The spot where I am taking this picture is about 50 meters, downhill, from The Guangzhou Tower. There is all kinds of security fencing around, being setup just for the Asian Games security.
Above Left: Ladies playing Shuttle-Cock, it's like Badminton (sometimes Bat-mitten) but played with only the feet. The White blur in front of the lady at the far right is the Shuttle-Cock (it's like a Badminton Birdie).
Interestingly, I took several photos and another lady asked to see the pictures, so I showed the images on the cameras display screen, the lady then called her friends over (just photographed) and they enjoyed the photo review. They were actively ingaged at pointing to different things in each picture - I got the impression that they were teasing one another. Eventually, we all said She-a She-a to one another (Thank You).
Above Right: Tai Chi Model.
Above Left: Sun Yat-Sen Monument.
Above Right: Goat Heads (five in all) on the Sun Yat-Sen Monument - See, it all comes together.
Above Left: Guangzhou Tower, built in the early Ming Dynasty (1380). The stairs at the left side of this picture lead to the ancient burial vault discussed in the next/below images.
Above Right: Old and newer canon around the Guangzhou Tower's grounds, in fact that far canon is a pre-WWII breech loading ship's canon. [Let's hear it for the son of a US Navy Commander.]
Above Left: At this same site, a mound turned out to be an ancient burial vault. The dig is still under historical renovation.
Above Right: This is a conceptual model of the ancient burial vault.
Above Left: A lamp hanging outside Guangzhou Tower.
Above Right: A 3D model of Guangzhou.
Above Left: An Artist's rendering of the Immortals bringing the Five Rams and the associated Agricultural Prosperity to the region.
Above Right: Like the Rosetta Stone, mixed Latin and Chinese Writing.
Above Left: An early Chinese water drip clock - The developers very much understood the use of a consistent timing process, conceptually it isn't much different than a micro-chip relay tic count (only buckets held the material counted rather than software).
Above Right: Chinese invented Clocks based on gear cog counts.
Above Left: The description and the solar object don't seem to go together, but this seems to be a working scale model about a major part of the Solar System (Planetary Movements).
Above Right: I never knew it but those mountains portrayed in those paintings actually exist, we will see some real artistic mountains on Day 9.
We Visit the Chen Ancestral Home
Above Left: This is now the back of the Chen Ancestral Home but it was probably once the Front Entrance - Details in the next frame below. The home is about 7,000 Square Meters (1.8 Acres) and the property is about 15,000 Square Meters (3.7 Acres). This home is noted for its roof lined objects representing many facets of Chinese Lore and Royal Emblems (only permitted by royal blood lines). Historically, the home is only about 100 years old, but it has gone from Imperial China (Qing Dynasty) through the Republic change to the current Communist Government. The home was built by Chen Family donations and by Chen family artifacts.
Above Right: Vincent is leading Terry and Dennis through the back ally; there is construction in a few places.
Above: History and Explanations about the Chen Ancestral Home.
The Cycling Group meets for the first time and has Supper together.
Above Left (L-R): Lynn (lavender), Terry, Sharon, Jon, Chrissy, Linda, and Reg's foot.
Above Right (L-R): Partial of Chrissy (peach blouse), Linda, Reg, Vincent (Leader),
Wayne ('as in John'), Vincent (Co-Leader), Gordon, and partial of Sam (grey T-shirt).
Above Left (L-R): Shavon, Regina, Lynn, Terry, and Sharon.
Above Right, At the immediate table only (L-R): Sam, Lynn, Inga, and Mark.
Above Left: This is our group's first Supper together.
Above Right: In what will become normal procedure, at the end of Supper, Vincent tells us tomorrow's itinerary, any changes or new road issues, history or background information, when Breakfast is, and when we depart. Usually we depart by bike, but in some circumstance we may be bussed out of town for safety's sake (like nasty road construction funneling all vehicles into one lane or worse, time delays with held traffic).