My very last trip was to a small town called Zhaoqing 肇庆 in Guangdong province, just a few hours’ drive from Hong Kong. It was a three day field trip for a class I took on Confucianism. I knew I wouldn’t know anyone else on the trip, so that was okay. What I didn’t know, however, was that the field trip would be conducted entirely in Cantonese. Even though the class was taught in English. Great.
We went to some pretty cool places, but since I didn’t understand any of the explanation and no one was nice enough to translate for me, I really couldn’t learn anything more than what I could see.
We went to an old Hakka village, which was pretty cool to look at, but honestly I have no idea if the place had any historical significance.
Also a couple of temples: one Confucian temple that used to double as a school, and one for the Dragon Mother, a goddess in a local folk religion. Or something like that.
We also took a boat tour around the lake at the Seven Star Crags park, which was gorgeous…
…and hiked to a very beautiful waterfall in Dinghushan.
We had a bit of free time each day, so I got to do some people-watching, too.
It was definitely cool to see a part of China that wasn’t a huge city completely overrun by tourists like Beijing is. That being said, I don’t feel like I really got anything out of the trip. We saw so many beautiful things, but I never knew what I was looking at. I wish I had known beforehand about the language issue – I still don’t understand why they didn’t tell me. I would have rather gone on another trip with friends instead.