Oh China. I love you so much. This is Siu Heng, the town where, on top of the many scraggy crags, there are signs (signage) exhorting people not to “parapet”. No Parapeting! the signs say in no uncertain terms.
If you’re brave and indeed go all the way to the parapet, there are other stern signs saying “No Tossing” and on your way down you’re reminded: “No Striding”.
肇慶 – Siu Heng (town in western Guangdong province)
牌 – pai (sign, card, label)
山頂 – Saan deng (mountain top, hilltop)
There’s a place formerly ‘just outside’ now in Shenzhen called 西麗湖, Sai Lai Wu,West Beautiful Lake. It’s a kind of resort in that there are rooms and some trees around it, as well as a large outdoor pool where you can Tarzan with a rope. You can also fish.
I used to go there a lot when my fight for Cantonese world supremacy was in its infancy, bringing students there for ‘language seminars’ which meant drinking and playing cards. Then the place closed down in 2002 for repairs. Last Friday I thought the repairs must be finished by now, and was very excited when I googled the reformed West Beautiful Lake and found this:
Blogworthy or what!!!! I was longing to wake up in that room with a hangover.
Alas, the information was totally false. Someone had just taken a picture of … a nouveau riche mainlander’s living room? and posted it there. The rooms in West Beautiful Lake were completely ordinary, and absolutely no refurbishment had taken place since I was last there, with the possible exception of a carp pool in the reception. In fact, what had happened during the last five years was the place had been allowed to decay in peace, completely uninterrupted. It was wonderful.
I asked the receptionist, who immediately answered me in Cantonese!!!! what had happened during the last five years of refurbishment and she said they now had fishing.
“But you had that before?”
“Now we have a big outdoor pool.”
“Er … horseback riding?”
“Just like before.”
“We have a restaurant.”
“Also like before … but possibly moved?”
“He he he.”
“Ha ha ha.”
The “new” restaurant unfortunately didn’t have yam cha, only Canto-slop, so we trudged on down to nearby 南蓉大酒店 Lam Yong Daai Jau Dim, for refreshments. Waaaah, fantastic dim sum! Especially a thing I’ve never tasted before: Pea Cake:
Brilliant! And this all a stone throw from 深圳灣 Sam Jan Waan (Shenzhen Bay) where there’s a completely unused crossing into Hong Kong. What’s not to love?
It rained the whole time, so apart from a brief food sojourn what we did was stare wistfully at the lake:
and leave. Excellent! Recommended!