December 29th, 2003


Back from Guangzhou

Well, it wasn't quite as grim as I'd feared but it is definitely way down on the list of places to go for sightseeing purposes. Hell, even my father knew and acknowledged this before we set off but he had some sort of notion of visiting the area his family originated from. The exception was the Museum of the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King, a museum built around the tomb of Emperor Wen of the Southern Yue Kingdom, Latter Han Dynasty. The museum was absolutely fascinating as the tomb had not been robbed before it was discovered by workers excavating for an apartment block. There were some fascinating artifacts like the jade shroud composed of 2000+ segments of jade intended to preserve his body from decay. The Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall would probably have been fascinating too (he being the founder of the Republic of China and all) if there were more than a couple of English labels or I actually read Chinese. Oh well...

Really not much else to see tourism-wise but actually rather illuminating from a political/economic perspective. Guangzhou bore a lot more resemblance to Hong Kong than it did to, say, Beijing, the Metro trains had guys listening to music on PocketPCs, kids in Harry Potter t-shirts and ads for Canon Digital Cameras, the city seemed very commercially advanced. To a point. My strongest impression was of a cheap, low-quality knockoff of Hong Kong! I did also notice I was starting to be able to identify a small set of Chinese characters by the time we left. Huh. There may be hope for me yet...

We stopped off on the way back at Shenzhen intending to pick up the suits being made. Sigh. Am starting to suspect that Mao may have declared being reliable and efficient to be counterrevolutionary and rightist traits and had anyone displaying them purged or reeducated. Despite my sister having called the previous day to confirm they'd be ready, they weren't. After much shouting by her and my father, they promise to deliver them to Hong Kong tomorrow. Yeah, right, and there's this bridge I'd like to talk to you about.

Huh. Just as everytime I got back from Jakarta I came to appreciate Singapore more, so Hong Kong's good attributes grow in number each time I come back from the PRC.

Bookwise, I have indeed started reading The Silmarillion and have already got further than on previous attempts. I went with this one because it seemed to involve marginally less page flipping to notes and indices than the Sawyer edition of Art of War.
  • Current Music
    Lonesome Day, Bruce Springsteen
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Looi Kin-Ming

Fuck fuck fuckity fuck

Servalan: ...Hope is very dangerous.
Travis: The loss of it can be fatal, and the source of it all is about to be wiped out.
Blake's 7, Project Avalon

Have heard from Mike that the Malta Open can't be shifted after all as invites have already gone out to other overseas fencers. So, it's hard decision time on going to Malta vs going to Hyperion. Crap. And I need to make a decision soon-ish as a brief SMS exchange with Kate indicates she's decided she'll head out that way early anyway and return to the UK before the Open so I have the option of joining her and coming back in time for Hyperion. So primary options appear to be:

  • Go to Malta with the group and fence in the Malta Open, forget Hyperion
  • Go to Malta early with Kate, finish off seeing the bits of Malta we didn't see last time out, fence on club nights, return to UK before the Open, go to Hyperion
  • Forget Malta entirely, just go to Hyperion

None of these is exactly what you might call an ideal solution. Bugger.
  • Current Music
    Light of Day, Bruce Springsteen
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