Zhongshan is gorgeous. The photo that I’m using to headline my travels to Canton
is from that city’s Sunwen West Road pedestrian shopping mall. The town is named after Sun Yatsen, a Christian medical doctor who sidelined as an anti-Qing revolutionary, President of the Republic of China, and Founder of the KMT.
But that is the past. Nowadays Zhongshan is a busy hub city, but one that’s still very walkable (more than any other city in China’s I’ve visited)
Compared to the smogginess of northern China, everything is embarrassingly beautiful…
While almost anything you could name (Cantonese tea, McDonalds, pirated DVDs, women’s fashion, and western wear) filled the shops and stalls
Sadly, if you walked off the beaten past, you saw the corpses of French colonialism. The houses-turned-into-apartments were not at all bad by the local standards of this class-society, but seeing the barren houses reminded me of the horror of Mao Zedong murderous separation from the outside world.
Not quite finished with our shopping, climed a small mountain to see what we could see. (The pure air, full of oxygen and free of rustbelt pollutants, is invigorating.)
What’s beyond this door is neat: it’s an actual Buddhist temple, with actual Buddhist monks.
As a Catholic, it’s interesting to see how similar Buddhist religious iconography is to the Catholic Church’s. Over the alter the Buddha looked down, flanked by his disciples and various other good guys. In the room monks ate dinner on the floor, and asked us if we would like to convert.
The reason I don’t have pictures of the inside is that we weren’t actually supposed to be there. The reason the door was open was that a worshiper accidentally left it so. The monks were awesome — funny, kind, all the rest — though as we proceeded to leave the guard unmistakably was escorting us out.
The last outside photo for the day is a cityskape from that hill.
The last story will be on Cantonese cuisine, which I liked quite a lot.
Cantonese are over-represented in the Chinese diaspora, and American-Chinese Food, which tastes nothign at all like mandarin fair, is nearly identicla to authentic restaurant-style Cantonese. The only real difference is that desert was sweet fresh fruit, as opposed to a tasteless fortune cookie.
Thus ended a perfect day.