It’s so much fun to move to a new town and go exploring. Whether it’s the local science museum, a butterfly observatory, a riverside park, or even a cool new movie theater, getting out is good to do!
A benefit of this Foreign Service lifestyle and moving all over is that our new far-away town has so many things to do that are truly new to us! We have only skimmed the surface of things to do in Guangzhou. Last weekend we drove (yes, I said drove, in our car, on these crazy streets, more later), down to the Guangzhou Jade Market. It was about 30 minutes from our house and we were still well inside the city! This city of 15 million is soooo big! We were able to find parking and even a gas station – and the jade market not too far away.
There were two distinct sides to the market area – one with the shiny glass cases, bright lights and goods in red boxes. The other side of the street was a bit less polished – think open air (well, covered stalls in an alley). We chose the latter and had a wonderful time wandering around the maze of stalls. It was exactly what I thought China would be like! It was a little romantic walking through in the rain. And filled with the aromas of the lunch hot pots at almost every vendor’s stall. It reminded me just a tad – a small tad – of the Paris Flea Market (that we also went to on a rainy day so many years ago!). The jade market was also a bit quiet because some people were napping and others had just stayed home. We felt perfectly safe, and a little bit stared at, but most people were friendly to us and the kids had a good time!
There were some magnificent pieces of jade, some beautiful jewelry and tons of beads. It’s definitely a buyer beware situation – fake jade is out there! I’m no expert in telling real from fake! Where we were we saw mostly bracelets and beads….plus the large statues. I must admit, most of this adventure was for the experience – we only bought two birthday presents for friends and family back home! (I hope what we bought is real!!)
We will be back to buy more treasures – and perhaps see what what there is in spit-shined cases across the way. There’s an antique market in the same area. That would be very interesting to go to also!