Day 17 – Shamian Island

Today we ventured back out to Shamian Island. Shamian Island is an island that was once inhabited by westerners as I understand it. They made it into an island (with a waterway around it) and the buildings on the island are a cool mix of western and eastern styles. The island is really pretty and slow paced and has a lot of great little shops. So we went back to take some photos and take in island a bit more (when we visited earlier in the week we only had about 2 hours there).

We took a cab to the island to start. This was the most aggressive cab driver you have ever seen! Imagine a cabby in New York and then multiply it by two. I was totally amused because I knew this guy was a “good” driver and really knew what he was doing, but I think Jess was a bit less amused at his swerving and horn honking. I found it an invigorating way to start a trip out of the hotel.

We got to Shamian Island and went to a couple of shops to look around, and then we toured the island a bit. We found the waterway on the other side of the island and saw some cool statues. Note, Samuel does not like statues. I think he doesn’t understand that they are not real. They pretty well freak him out, which is why in the one place we got him to stand anywhere near a statue he looks like he is totally stunned about it. You will see in the photos below.

Anyway, we left the island and took a less eventful can ride back to the hotel to finish up packing (fun times). We finished packing and then went out for dinner with some friends at an Indian place we were introduced to the other night. The food was amazing! It is the best place we have eaten while in Guangzhou for sure! If you like Indian food, its a must.

We headed back to the hotel and now we are winding down, wrapping up preparations for tomorrow and going to bed! We are really excited to be headed home. I’m praying that excitement will carry us through the reality of traveling for about 26 hours from door to door with a spunky two year old. Pray for us!

One thing that I have been pondering while I’m here is the idea of normal in terms of daily living. Its often said after a major life shift that someone will have to find a new normal, which is true. After being in China for 17 days, today felt totally normal to me.

I asked a bellman that spoke very little English to call a cab for us. We rode with an aggressive cabby that spoke zero english hoping that the bellman had told him the correct place to take us. We walked around an island shopping and interacting with people where we are the minority and very few speak english. I got a bellman on the island that spoke less english than the other one to catch us a cab and tell the cabby where we wanted to go. And, again, we rode in a cab with a cabby that speaks zero english with no way to talk to him to verify that he was taking us to the right place. Everything I paid for today was paid in Yuan. And we walked to dinner down a crowed street with a group of people and we were the only American’s anywhere in site. And… today felt totally normal.

Tomorrow, when we go through customs and everyone speaks English will feel weird, but in no time, that will become normal again. I’ll probably write a little more about these thoughts in a blog post on at some point soon. Until then… goodnight.

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