Musings from China – Week Four | Monday in the Park

IMG_0006Xiaoming, our landlady, second guardian angel, and local tour director, has returned from Beijing. Our social engagements picked up immediately.

We went to a movie and had dinner last night with Xiaoming and her son Martin. Her former boss and mentor William was also at the dinner. Interesting man. The food in this out-of–the–way restaurant was a fabulous mix-up of Chinese and Thai food. According to Xiaoming, Guangzhou is a food paradise in China. I have no evidence to the contrary.

I had no idea you could toast that many times at a dinner. I was lucky the next morning that I remembered that Xiaoming had reminded me to go to Liwan Lake Park early one morning.

Off I went, taking a short cut through Renmai Temple with the locals and headed into the alleyways. I followed the old wall and the edge of the lake and turned left, went by the men playing cards under the tree, and emptied into a stream of people and a cacophony of sound, of which some was singing and music.

I followed the crowd into Liwan Lake Park and found the singer and his band. Chinese Opera is an acquired taste, especially at 9 am. See if you can acquire it. Notice the different instruments, including a saxophone.

Finally, the siren of slightly more modern music called me to a square down the way. There were all sorts of people dancing in pairs and alone with a dance instructor leading them. Right next to this group were people in fours or fives kicking a hacky sack around, as well as more people immersed in chess games or cards.

Tired of modern sounds, I drifted toward traditional Chinese music. I was fascinated by a group of women who were dancing with colorful fans. Listen for the accent sound they make when they open or close the fans.

More traditional sounds pulled me farther into the park. Finally, some Tai Chi practice. I once took Tai Chi from former Newberry College professor Dr. Clem Chow’s wife Joyce. I enjoyed the practice of the smooth balletic fighting movements years ago. Notice the different ages of those who are practicing.

As time goes by, the crowd grows in the park. Old and young dominate, as you would think on a Monday morning in the park. Some older people sit and watch, but it is amazing how many are exercising. Check out this amazing older man stretching.

 

IMG_0001

As we learned last week, exercise is an important, integral part of each Chinese child’s school day. It seems that it is an important, integral part of everyone’s life in China. We in America could learn from this Monday in the Park with the Chinese.