Apologies for the lack of posting. Things were just crazy. We enjoyed a few days in Hong Long but with the jetlag and several dinner meetings the days really flew by and the next thing I knew I was on the train to Guangzhou.
In Hong Kong we stayed in Kowloon, in Mong Kok at the Lapham Place Hotel. The hotel was very nice and it was connected to an enormous shopping mall with a 13-story spire of shopping and at least 3 subbasements on top of the metro station. The mall was decorated for the holidays with the piece-de-resistance a photo-op display, Hello Kitty Ice Age. The kids enjoyed taking many pictures. We also attended the Nutcracker at the Hong Kong Ballet. It was technically quite nice but lacked character – the set was sterile and colorless. The kids enjoyed themselves.
We took the train to Guangzhou on the 24th. I was quite happy to arrive in GZ which seemed so much like home after Hong Kong – just a different pace, aesthetic, etc. We arrived on campus, dropped our bags and headed to an organized dinner for what was to become 6 days worth of as many as 4-a-day welcome-home/good-bye and holiday meals with friends. The kids were happy as clams to be back in the Zi Jing Yuan faculty housing where the kitchen counters and sink are set at child height. Jason had loads of meetings and I had a few and gave a lecture. We mostly stuck to the campus area but we did make it out into some other preferred areas of the city.
Some things were different, of course. The kindergarten had been substantially renovated and Jason made the observation that buildings in China are not so much maintained as they are reconstructed. That is to say that well past the time when faucets should have been repaired and a new coat of paint might have been in order, entire walls, stairways, bathrooms are torn out and replaced with brand new stuff. It also seemed like the air quality and general orderliness (smoking in restaurants, honking horns, litter, people yelling “hello” from 5 blocks away) seemed improved. I guess that “Civilized Guangzhou” campaign had some impact!