Emeryville Amy

This blog will be a combination of my favorite places in the Bay Area and abroad, memoirs, recipes, restaurant reviews and travel experiences.

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Location: Emeryville, San Francisco Bay Area, CA, United States

Friday, March 24, 2006



Yesterday we flew south to Nanning. What a difference from Beijing. The air was balmy and there was no question that we were closer to the tropics. Nanning felt alive and was bursting with color and music and activity everywhere we looked. We went to a late dinner at a restaurant and had some more dumplings, Mongolian beef, spicy eggplant, corn with pine nuts and a sugar crepe. We strolled around the neighborhood (which was right across the street from the train station) and peeked in the shops lining the streets. Back in the room Thomas and Gretchen stuck a candle in a dragon fruit and sang me happy birthday. It actually was quite lovely since a dragon fruit looks like a small nerf size fuscia football with the outer leaves peeling back like a flower. Inside it has a white flesh with tiny black seeds like a kiwi.

In the morning Thomas and I walked down the main street to the big city park. The city was pulsing with life and vitality. Buses of all hues filled the streets and competed at the intersections for the right of way with the people on motorcycles and bicycles and the pedestrians. Before reaching the main park there was a smaller park where men congregated with their birds in birdcages. They were "taking their birds for a walk." The air was filled with their music.

Further down at the main park there were groups of people dancing everything from salsa to the Macarena. Some groups were doing traditional fan dances or tai chi with swords. One part of the park had people singing to a recorded song playing from some speakers. Men were gathered in small groups watching games of dominos, chess and mah jong. It seemed that there was something for everyone. The energy of the place was invigorating and made me giddy. We wandered around from group to group, daring each other to join in. I was tempted to jump in the Macarena fest but they had a few moves that I didn't know.

It was time for breakfast so we followed our noses and headed down a little alleyway where we bought some egg scallion crepes, made to order, and some baos and steamed breads. I kind of wanted to sit at one of the little tables by the stalls and feast on some noodle soup. Maybe next time.

We needed to go south near the Vietnam border to a conference with other teachers from Thomas' organization so we had to leave Nanning for the time being. We will come back through here on the way to Anshun in a few days. It was a 3 hour bus ride in a nice comfortable bus to Longchouz. The road ranged from a smooth freeway to bumpy dirt roads. The scenery was beautiful. This region is known for the jagged hills that dot the landscape. They are made of yellow and black striped stone and covered with small green trees and bushes. In between them are fields of sugar cane. We drove for more than 2 hours through fields of sugar cane which is harvested by hand, tied into bundles, loaded onto trucks and driven to the processing plants. In one small town that had a sugar cane factory we must have seen a hundred long trucks filled to overflowing just waiting to unload. Practically all of the sugar for China, Vietnam and Cambodia is grown in this region.

Water buffalo pulled small carts around the terraced fields. The towns we went through seemed very poor and run down. The only vehicles on the road were people on motorcycle carts or on motorcycles, trucks and other buses. Our driver honked constantly every time he saw anyone or anything on the road or when we went around blind curves. He was pretty fearless when it came to passing other vehicles which made for an exciting ride for us.

We are about to have dinner with the rest of the other teachers so I better sign off.



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