Sunday, November 12



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Today was a good day. Other than the fact that we woke up in a hotel room that is far less than clean and had to put shoes on just to walk around, it was a good day.

A family friend had offered to take us sight-seeing this afternoon. We spent the morning walking around town. The locals really find me quite a sight, so itís a bit annoying after a while. Having people point and stare and giggle loses its appeal very quickly.

Everything in the stores is very, very cheap. We bought a few more groceries, some bottles of iced tea, bottled water, and some treats for the girls. Then, Emily and Stephanie negotiated with us so that they could go into the local toy store. Now, this is no ToysRUs, for sure. The good thing is that they both chose a toy, and some new hair ornaments, and we got out of the store for about $2 CAD. Losing the negotiation to buy toys has never, ever been this cheap!! If I didnít have to carry it all home with us, Iíd be doing Christmas shopping for sure.

We were picked up in the afternoon at about 2PM. We went by car to XiQiao Shan. Itís a beautiful mountainous place that we actually visited briefly last year when we were here. Last time, however, it was very foggy and drizzly, so we didnít bother paying to go inside, only to take pictures outside the gates. Today itís about 27 degrees Celsius, sunny and a bit breezy, so itís a perfect day for touring. We got to see several beautiful temples (with the requisite peddlers too), a lovely waterfall, and some really pretty scenery. It might not sound like much, but the photos will show you just how gorgeous the area really is. The whole area has been turned into a tourist attraction, but it also includes some of the original mountain residences. The huge female Guan Yin statue at the mountain top, much like the Buddha on Lantau Island in Hong Kong, is the feature attraction. We climbed up all the steps (well most of us did, but some of the shorter Fungs got carried) and walked around her. Itís a very beautiful way to see all around the mountain. We got some really great photos from the top and you can see the ridiculous number of steps we climbed.

They had some benches in the area that had marble animal characters and both girls really liked the ones with cats. You can see by the photos that they would have been quite happy to stay there. In fact, we had to drag Stephanie kicking and screaming away from the cats.

The highlight of the day for Emily was the fact that the auntie we were touring with is the same auntie that gave her dark red lipstick last year and she remembered that. We were going around this lovely park, with my four-year-old wearing dark red lipstick. Every little while sheíd demand that either Danny or I take her photo, and then show her so that she could make sure her lipstick was still there!! It was hilarious, and it continued in the car ride back to the hotel. Never thought Iíd have to deal with the lipstick issue until they were at least 15 years old.

They had a huge bell at the top that you could ring (for a ďdonationĒ of course) and Emily wanted to help uncle do it. That was until she heard the huge tone of the bell and ran away crying!! It was very entertaining for the rest of us. We didnít get back to the hotel until after 5PM, after having a great day of walking around and climbing stairs.

The same auntie and uncle hosted a large dinner for everyone, so we were all together again tonight, with Dannyís mom and aunts and uncle and cousin. It was a great way to finish off our visit to JiuJiang.

This may well be our last visit to JiuJiang for a while. Quite frankly, the accommodation is so very difficult and dirty that itís very uncomfortable. Weíll have to check with Dannyís aunt before our next Hong Kong/China trip to see if anything has improved. Itís unfortunate, since itís a part of China that is near and dear, but the filth makes it hard to visit.