White Water Buffalo

Life in China: A Picture A Day, April 6, 2016 - Today we visited the Dongguan Xiangshi Zoo. This is a much smaller zoo than the ones we’ve visited in the surrounding big cities, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. For the most part, we enjoyed it, though we skipped the shows. They had something we’ve never seen before, I thought they were albino Asian water buffalo, but Leah translated the information and they are a specific breed from Guizhou province. There were 4 or 5 adults and a calf. There doesn’t seem to be much information about them in English online, but, there are 135 breeds of water buffalo listed for around the world! and the Guizhou White was one of them! You can see a regular colored one in the background. We have seen the regular colored water buffaloes working on farms outside of the cities. Asian water buffalo are almost extinct in the wild, as most are now domesticated.

Life in China: A Picture A Day, March 27, 2016

Today was the Dongguan International Marathon: It started in Songshan Lake and the runners came right past where we live. We missed the front runners, they were much faster getting this far than I anticipated! But, we watched others go by for an hour! There were 15,000 participants in 4 different length races. The participants included everyone from the professional marathon runners down to babies being pushed in strollers! And a whole group of Anime characters, Batman, the Mario Brothers, the Monkey King, a miniature Pikachu, quite a few Supermen, hula dancers, plus quite a few with bunny ears :-) By the time the back of the group came by, they were mostly walking, and there were a good number of children. I loved the two little girls pictured, they were just walking along, hand in hand, singing away. We watched the finish on TV, both male and female winners of the full marathon were from Kenya.

Life in China: A Picture A Day, March 19, 2016

Each spring in southern China, along with warmer weather, comes what they call huinantian 回南天 which literally translates as “back to the south.” We live in a subtropical monsoon climate, and March and April is when the cold northern air meets the warm moist air from the South China Sea: This is considered an annual meteorological phenomenon. Humidity at this time is basically 90% and above! Everything is dripping wet! Well, I shouldn’t say everything, luckily our apartment isn’t dripping inside, but the halls outside of the apartment are …. the walls and doors are literally dripping, and the floors are wet and very slippery! The ground outside is wet like it has rained even if it hasn’t. So, for the next week, we are supposed to have fog, mist, rain, and thunderstorms. It’s kind of a strange feeling being damp and sticky, yet slightly cool! I can’t walk outside without my glasses and camera fogging up. The mist and fog does give the lake quite a mystical look though. This picture of the lake was partially due to my fogged up lens. The other pictures are the glass doors in our building lobby, and the floor outside of our apartment.

Supermarket Fun

Life in China: A Picture a Day 2016, Feb 13 - Saturday Night at the supermarket…. A giant live Kinder egg, pandas having hot pot, furniture polish without the spray cap (we had to go to customer service and have them get it and put it on?), and chocolate covered taro candy …. there’s ALWAYS something new to find when grocery shopping in China!

Saturday Supermarket.jpg


I’ve always loved daffodils, so it’s the one flower I especially like to buy each year at the Spring Festival Flower Fair. In Chinese, it is called shui xian 水仙, which is literally “water immortal” and the English translation is often either “water fairy flower” or just “water narcissus”. They are put in shallow bowls, of all sizes, with just water or water and pebbles. It is believed that if they bloom on New Year’s Day, it will bring good fortune for the upcoming year, so, they are cultivated very carefully to do just that; And mine did have its first few blooms on New Year’s Day, today there are many more! The blooms are quite small and have a very sweet smell. I bought a small dish with a dozen bulbs and it cost 20rmb or about $3usd. Sometimes, you will also see “narcissus carving” where the bulbs have been cut a certain way in order to bloom with a certain curve, then they are put in a dish to grow as a bird or something else. I found this interesting article about the Chinese bringing daffodil bulbs to the USA in the late 1800’s: http://www.pacifichorticulture.org/articles/relict-gold-the-long-journey-of-the-chinese-narcissus/

Spring Festival Flower Fair

Life in China: A Picture a Day 2016, Feb 4 -Today we went to the Dongguan Spring Festival Flower Market or Flower Fair. I love these because there are so many beautiful flowers and other interesting things to look at! Since flowers represent the arrival of spring, they are a very important part of the Spring Festival celebration. Probably the most popular flowers are orchids and daffodils. The daffodils aren’t blooming yet, because they are supposed to bloom for New Year’s Day. In addition to flowers, there are Spring Festival decorations, gift items, toys for the children, cuttings from fruit trees, orange trees, nipplefruit “trees”, snacks and more! This particular fair is only open for one week. I bought some daffodils, colored pussy willows, a small plant that translated to “long life plant”? and some small hexagonal lantern decorations. It was really hard to choose a few pictures to represent this! If you are interested in seeing more pictures of the Flower Market, my daughter has started a blog and has quite a few pictures she posted. https://meitianadventure.wordpress.com/2016/02/04/dongguan-flower-fair/

Chili Pepper Decorations

Life in China: A Picture a Day 2016, Feb 3 -There is a Chinese idiom 红红火火 hóng hóng huǒ huǒ , literally “red red, fire fire.”

As you know by now, red is a very lucky, or auspicious color in China, and fire is considered to be very energetic. When you tell a person or business “hóng hóng huǒ huǒ”, it’s the equivalent of telling them “good luck.” During Chinese New Year, strings of chili peppers are used to represent this idiom.