Friday, February 9, 2007

Nanning (Feb 6-9)

Nanning is a nice medium-sized Chinese city (about 1.2 million people) that is easy to get around in. There isn’t much to see here, except for some parks, a museum or two, and plenty of shopping, but it’s a good place to just hang out. A nice girl showed me around a bit, and pointed out a good local specialty, laoyou mian, which means “old friend noodles”—sometimes Chinese names get it just right! The next day I went to a museum about the Miao and Zhuang minorities, where a woman who worked there showed me around. She really impressed me: she had taught herself English in two years, and was in the process of struggling through Watership Down! She asked me some questions about vocabulary in it, which were almost all words in rabbit language that the author invented! I don’t think she really understands everything that is going on—the book is, after all, extremely British!—but she’s making a valiant effort. I can’t imagine tackling a similarly difficult book in Chinese after just two years of study.

At the museum I met a very nice French lady whose son had married a girl from Guangzhou whom he had met in France, so she (the French lady) was visiting them and traveling a bit by herself before heading to Kunming to celebrate the New Year with her daughter-in-law’s family. She was staying at the same hotel as me, and we went to a couple parks and ate a couple meals together during the next day and a half, which was very nice. (She’s really into gardening and was interested in the names of all the plants.) Some travelers are amazing: she told me about a Belgian guy she had met in Xi’an who had biked there all the way from Belgium! It took him five months. Some people take traveling very, very seriously.

On the street I randomly bumped into the man from Pingxiang whom I met on the bus in Vietnam, which was quite a surprise!

1 comment:

Eleanor Sue said...

Sam,
I got notice of your blog from Carolyn's posting on the carepages. It was fascinating to read. Such a vivid picture you painted with your words.
What an exciting time of change in the world. You are in the center of so much of what is transforming.
Hope you don't mind me dropping in.
Eleanor Johnson
Muncie