East Meets West – Day 7

Today was a sad day. My last full day with 桂兰。

We decided to go to the South China Botanical Garden. It must have been several hundred acres at least. There were many beautiful flowers and trees to see there.

One of my favorite spots was the conservatory. It reminded me of the massive glass building that housed the pterodactyls in Jurassic Park (but on a smaller scale). Once we entered the building, I felt like we had walked into a jungle. There were many kinds of tropical flowers and trees I had never seen before. Apparently, some of the jungle vines would wrap themselves around a tree and basically feed off of it until the tree had died. Note to self: beware of vines when walking in a jungle.

Shortly after we left the conservatory, it began raining heavily. Fortunately, we both had umbrellas. I felt bad for one couple who had no umbrella and were thoroughly soaked. Well, at least they got a free shower for the day.

Once we began walking again, 桂兰’s foot began to hurt again. So I decided that we should rent a bike.

We found a rental bike station that had bright red four-wheeled bikes with a roof overhead. Kind of like a human-powered golfcart. Unfortunately, I had to exert that power. I thought it would be fairly easy, but I didn’t realize how heavy it would be. Even when we biked downhill, we barely went over 5km/hr. Let’s just say if we were racing against a snail, I would bet against us.

As we meandered through the park, I was focused on one thing: finding the Magnolia Garden. But I  was having problems with the map. I’d like to think I’m not directionally challenged. But that day … well let’s just say I had no idea where I was most of the time. It didn’t help that the map had all Chinese characters.

One advantage of being directionally challenged is the unexpected pleasure of finding a new path you never would have before. But the frustrating part is that you can never seem to find the place you were looking for.

After nearly an hour or so, we finally found Magnolia Garden. I was delighted, and I expected there to be a magnificent, beautiful garden filled with magnolias of every color and shape. I was disappointed.

They did have magnolias, but there were only two patches of magnolias. Aside from that, nothing else. I was slightly miffed, but 桂兰 was pleased which made me happy. At least it wasn’t a total waste of time.

That night we ate at Little Lamb Hot Pot. It was a fitting last dinner together. One of these days someone needs to start a hotpot restaurant in America. I think it would be very popular.

After dinner we decided to go to a cafe where we had time for one more movie night. I had to choose “Princess Bride.” It’s a timeless classic that never gets old. She seemed to enjoy it and told me she liked Andre the Giant. Personally I like Westley. He’s smart, brave, and a skilled swordsman. Not sure when I would use my fencing ability, but I’m sure it could come in handy at some opportune moment.

At any rate, it seemed like a good way to end the week. Not that I wanted it to end. But time goes on whether you like it or not.

It’s hard to say goodbye. It’s even harder when you’re saying goodbye to your girlfriend who you won’t see again for several months. But such is the nature of an international relationship.

Tomorrow I would say goodbye to 桂兰. But this would not be a final farewell. After spending a week with her, I realized that my home is not in America anymore. My home is in China. Some day I will come back to Guangzhou. And perhaps next time we meet, I will not need to say goodbye to her ever again.

This entry was posted in Travel.

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