Hello my Sweet,
It’s 11 AM Saturday morning (Friday night your time), I’m sitting on the train to Hong Kong and we should be pulling out of the station shortly. My sponsors bought me a “Special Class” seat so I’m on the top level of a double-decker coach with room to spread out and a large window. I anticipate a relaxing 2-hour ride with the goddess and a beautiful view. This is not the thrill I get with the upstairs of a 747 but it will do. Actually, it is quite special after all.
So writing this note to you is my way of taking you along for the ride. I will email it later today from the hotel. By the way, I will stay at the J.W. Marriott in Hong Kong.
So to randomly catch you up on some things I keep forgetting when we talk:
My new shaver works amazingly well. The shave is incredibly close without razor bumps so far. The difference has been my skin tingles more after and it itches some. I think the remedy for that will be using some type of lotion, maybe vitamin E, to soothe my skin. I really like the look and feel though. What I’ve used for 20 years or more is not made for shaving and may have affected my skin with the excessive rubbing to get a close shave. Once I solve the after efect, I think it will work. So far, I’m happy I made the change.
The train is finally moving and the smoothness of the ride is noticeably different that the high speed trains in Japan. I remember not feeling the sensation of moving, it was so smooth there. Here it feels like a wheel is unaligned because there is some trembling with an annoying rattle. Kind of makes it difficult to type. But I’m not complaining… I am in route to Hong Kong.
This is another example of how Japan and China are so different. Here you see old cell phones, big old TV’s, antiquated computers and dated technology. China is able to mass-produce and manufacture technology and goods for other countries but I don’t think the Chinese have access to much of what they produce. I really noticed it while working in the newsroom of the local newspaper. They use a generation of computers and technology that we used awhile back. And I don’t mean last year. Japan is the opposite; they have access to and are all about utilizing advancements.
We have passed though a few small cities (glad I got my shots) and it’s different. The buildings look old and basic. Don’t get me wrong; many areas of Guangzhou have old communities, right next to new developments as well. The difference here is, people are living in more of a horizontal world as opposed to a vertical world in Guangzhou. In a city with 9 million people, everything is built straight up to better utilize space. People are stacked on top of each other. In the small towns we’ve passed, they seem to spread out a little more, but in a lot of squalor. I see trash stored on a lot of roofs. I wonder if that is to keep it from rats or more cover for the roof.
We hit a rural community quickly after leaving the city and it looks like a predominantly farming area. I have only seen one or two cows but a lot of crops I can’t identify. We crossed a few rivers that have some boat movement but they all look very commercial.
And speaking of rivers, the Pearl River runs through Guangzhou and the traffic on it is amazing. Starting in the early morning, large barges and ships constantly move up and down it. It looks like an accident waiting to happen but they know what they are doing. Most of the ships are sitting low in the water so I would guess they are full of products. The Pearl has a very rich history too. This river was once the center of commerce for China. Most imports and exports came through their port. The world’s richest man once lived here and he prospered because of the trade business. The leaders are very proud of the city’s rich history. Normally after toast number 10, with shots of rice liquor, they love to tell it. Our group of westerners tried to hide our glasses after toast number 3. That’s when the steamed chicken feet started to look edible.
I told you 2 reporters took me to an authentic Cantonese restaurant for dinner but I’m not sure if I finished the entire story. We later went to the square (quad) at the main university. It’s a gathering spot for not just students but the surrounding community. People were roller-skating, exercising, practicing Thai Chi and just socializing. There was a large group of people doing ballroom dancing. Anybody could walk up and join in. The teacher looked Cuban, very dashing and handsome, tight pants and all. He would show the group 2-3 steps at a time until they had an entire routine. It was fun to watch. You could tell some of the participants were regulars because they wore dance shoes, had scarves around their waists, wore leotard tops and had that damn duck-walk, like dancers. And those were just the men. Dancing With the Stars has definitely reached China.
The high point of the evening was the last stop at the Pink Room. Imagine a very cool club, low lights, trendy decor and full of nothing but Chinese people with funky hair in their hippest clothes. Okay, that doesn’t seem unimaginable. Now add the dj who is spinning nothing but hip-hop. I’m talking all-the-way-live Snoop Dogg, Dr Dre, Ludacris and Tupac. Must have been edited versions because I heard every a-thru-z word except the n-word (I applaud them on that). It was surreal.
I had to wait a few minutes for my eyes to adjust to the low light, and then it took me almost an hour to adjust to what I was seeing. Chinese people getting down and mouthing hip-hop. And that’s not all. Now imagine the wildest, sexiest, in-your-face rap video you’ve ever seen and that’s what I saw when the Go-Go girls came on. They were working it. You know my theory about butts and why they are now universal because of McDonald’s food. Yep, there are McDonalds aplenty in Guangzhou.
I’m not sure where we are along the train route but parts have been very pretty. A lot of rolling green hills and farms. Probably only 30 minutes more to Hong Kong. I should have looked at a map to trace the route (Ron would have) to know which cities we pass through.
It’s now 7 PM Saturday, I checked in earlier, went to Shanghai Tang (good call), walked around taking pictures and I’m about to meet George and his wife for drinks and dinner. I am having a blast but wish you were here.
Earlier I didn’t understand why the cab driver from the train station and the ones to and from Shanghai Tang gave me funny looks. It appears I’m the only person who did not know they do not use the same Mainland Chinese money in Hong Kong. Sorry guys… now I know.
I love you darling