The Yue Hui Garden Scenery Spot

Trip Start Dec 22, 2006
Trip End Dec 31, 2006

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Where I stayed
Jinjiang Inn - Dongguang

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

The breakfast was not bad, with quite a variety - fried noodles, juk, dumplings, spring rolls, and, to cater for the occasional foreigner, toast and jam. There were a lot of customers and they ran out of chong (sticky rice with chicken, wrapped in pandan leaves) before we had a chance to get any, so, presumably to save face, they prepared two big bowls of won-ton noodles for us. We could see that one would be plenty, so the other one went to another lucky table. In the meantime, satay pork kebabs came out. Not a bad deal for the price.

For our sightseeing today we decided to visit Yue Hui Garden Scenery Spot, which, according to the brochure we picked up at the hotel, is "the biggest private garden in China". The descriptions were full of the usual hyperbole and we were sceptical of their claims, but the alternative seemed to be shopping, which is not what we came for.

The hotel looked up some kind of transport guide and told us to take bus 2A to Daojiao and get a taxi from there. At the bus station we found that Bus 2A does not run from this part of the city, but 77 would get us there. (Y3) After quite a long ride there we found that a mini-bus 3 which would take us quite close to our destination for Y1 each. The conductress tried to dissuade us, saying it didn't go there, but other passengers assured us we were on the right track. This ride was away from the main roads along little back streets. From the terminus there were no more buses but there were motorcycle taxis waiting. Y5 each seemed a fair price for the ride across bridges and past piggeries to the grand entrance of the Yue Hui Garden.

The entry price was a steep Y70, but we managed to get discounted seniors' tickets for Y35 each. The park was almost deserted, despite it being a Sunday, but there were a few tour groups being ushered around. We had missed the morning show but were told there was another one at 2:30 pm so we spent a few hours wandering around the artificial, but attractive, pavilions, waterfalls, rock gardens and lakes. There was something on at 12:30, but it turned out to be a movie in Mandarin, so we didn't stay for long.

The show at 2:30 was quite good, with singers, musicians and acrobats. The audience at first were about a dozen people in a vast auditorium, though it did grow somewhat as the show progressed. It was all over in half an hour and we went out to find some transport back to the hotel. This was not as easy as getting there as there was no big group of motorcycle taxis waiting around. There were a few vehicles and we eventually negotiated a Y25 fare down to Y10 to get back to the minibus 3, from where we could retrace our steps back to the hotel.

We had not eaten since breakfast and had decided to try the buffet at the Nile Villa International Hotel across the road - part of the South China Mall. The "International" did not extend to very much English around the place, but the buffet, for Y97, was quite spectacular. Lots of seafood - delicious fresh prawns, oysters, sashimi, sushi and bamboo clams. The special theme for the evening was a hotpot, available if we wanted one on our table and, of course, Yoong wouldn't say no to this. Unlimited Tsingtao beer was included, but two bottles were enough for me. Real cheesecake and other authentic desserts rounded off this excellent meal. The only thing missing was cheese but, as we only saw one other Westerner, a Dutch girl who Yoong had a conversation with, there wouldn't be much point. There was even a singer, performing quite well, mainly in English, accompanied by a guy on keyboards. Altogether a very pleasant evening.

We were not very pleased when we came back this afternoon to find that our hotel room had not been made up. We asked for some fresh towels, which alerted them to the omission. They called us and wanted to tidy the room at 5 pm. We asked them to come after 6 pm, when we would be gone, but they stop work at 6, so we compromised on 5:30, which was okay because the buffet, supposed to start at 6 pm, had actually started when we reached at about 5:45. We realised later that we should have hung out the little sign asking for our room to be cleaned. Having lived in a hotel for two years, we had no excuse for overlooking this.

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