Sunday, September 26, 2010

Chen Family Temple Sightseeing Day


Hanging out in the hotel playroom
Walking through the streets on the way to the Chen Family temple

Chinese Attitude

Yesterday evening we walked around the island a bit and did some exploring. We ended up eating at a nice Thai place and then taking Rylie to her first Starbucks. :)

This morning we visited the hotel play room before we met our group. It was great.....I think Rylie really enjoyed playing. I don't think she quite knows what to do with toys that have sound and lights yet!

Today we visited the Chen Family Temple. It was built by about 70 families who combined efforts to construct the facility as a school for their children. It was then used as an ancestral temple. Our guide, Veronica, told us that the people here, in a way, worship their ancestors. When they die, they don't really believe they are dead, but instead, they are just watching from Heaven....and still are involved in family business. Now, it's more of a Guangzhou cultural facility with stores and displays of local arts including ivory, wood and bone carvings, embroidery work (which was amazing) and paintings.

On the way to and from the bus, we walked through a series of alleyways where people lived. The "roads" were quite narrow and the area almost seemed like a movie set.....small little apartments with iron gates on the doors, bamboo scaffolding, laundry hanging everywhere, people selling items on the street. I was glad we got to walk that way to the temple...very interesting to see how these "real" people live. Suddenly, I felt like my house was huge.

We then went to a store which sold various items and then to a local Cantonese restaurant for was delicious! By this point, it was about 2pm, and fortunately we headed back to the hotel. Rylie was in desperate need of a nap, and I think we are fairly worn out too. It will be nice to have our evening free again.

After we went to the store, Veronica talked about how much it meant to her and other guides to know that adoptive families were preserving their child's Chinese heritage in some way, whether it be through gifts of remembrance from their time here or teaching them Mandarin. She said the guides often say these kids become "bananas" once they get home...yellow on the outside, white on the inside. :) She also talked about Mao Tse Tung a terms of how he is seen by different generations. She said her generation and younger people are really indifferent, but her grandparents really revere him. It was interesting to hear her talk about the cultural revolution and the opening of China to the outside world and how that has changed things even in her lifetime.

More sightseeing tomorrow (a garden of some type, I believe) followed by the infamous White Swan Hotel Red Couch Photo!


  1. Sounds like things are going well and you are enjoying the White Swan - seeing the babrbie made me smile - we just recently let Mia play with hers.
    The comment about the banana was funny I never thought baout it that way :).

  2. That's funny! My friend has three kids from Mexico and she calls them "coconuts"....brown on the outside, white on the inside. :)

  3. Sounds like you guys are doing great! I have loved following along. It has brought back some wonderful memories!