Day 4 began in Guangzhou. It was a cold morning, and the motivation to get out of bed on such a cold morning just was not there. It warmed up quickly making it much easier to get up and get a shower. As Coco was getting ready I ventured out to her patio and noticed the Japanese style garden her neighbors below were working on during my last visit was finished (See pictures!) It was a typical GZ morning, hazy but bright.
Coco came out wearing a nice Chinese dress with gold patterns and we went off to restaurant we had our first brunch (dim sum) at to have dim sum again. On the way we stopped of and looked at all the New Year’s decorations at the housing complex. There were many colorful displays, from paintings, to flower arrangements, to a wish wall and grain box! After taking in all the sights and taking a few pictures we walked up the hill to the restaurant. The restaurant was pretty busy as it was before, and the food was good. Everyone was coming home for the Chinese New Year celebrations and enjoying their time off. After brunch we walked around talking and Coco asked me if I knew how to play pool and if I wanted to play. I said yes and we went to the rec-room where she went to get the balls from the desk. It was a large room, mainly because of the snooker tables.
They had 5 snooker tables and 4 pool tables in the room and all those not in use were covered. As I was waiting for Coco to come back I went to get a cue and noticed all the sticks were straight, short, and had odd tips that were all varnished. She came back and the duty guy showed up and got the balls from a locker and took the cover off the table. Coco and I talked a bit and I found there are way different rules in China! First off if you scratch it is ball in hand like in 9 ball. Second if you miss your ball the opponent gets 2 shots! Seeing a lot of my game is defensive ball placement… I have to alter my strategy. No calling pockets, no ball on bumper rule (ok this is not an official rule here either), and the break rules are a little different too, but I never quite got our break rules either except scratching on the break is a loss and sinking the 8 is a win.
The first game was quite an adjustment. The table had tired felt and its speed was not consistent, but it was level. Coco took the first game that ended up us both chasing the 8 ball around the table. I was watching how she was shooting and during the second game was trying to teach her about touch shooting, and bank shots when I noticed… there are no dots on their pool tables between pockets! Odd how you come to rely on such small things when they are always there, at least you always think they are there. With tired felt and varnished tips it was almost impossible to get predictable English on the cue ball. We again ended up chasing the 8 again, but this time I had adjusted to the rules and made a medium length shot. We were done with pool at this point, and Coco had improved her ball choice decision making and was trying to make the cut shots better, but the table was not working the way it should have.
Next we went to the pools; there are many pools, and we enjoyed the warming day and blooming flowers while walking around the pools. Coco took over the camera for a bit and took some nice pictures of a red climbing flower plant on a trellis. We then talked a little more, and walked back to her place where we strolled around all the lakes and decorations we first past. I could not resist asking her to pose for some pictures. I have seldom gotten the opportunity to take portraits before but all came out very nice, of course I had a great subject! We stopped off at the local grocery store to shop for DVDs, there is a man who sells them out front. Coco, who loves scary movies, picked a few movies to last the rest of the week. We went back to her place to watch them, but of course not back to back. We saw this obscure murder mystery and Coco picked the correct killer before I could put it together… I guess all those years of Law & Order and CSI have not paid off (good thing I am not a lawyer or detective!). We then watched 1.5 other movies… we looked at the clock to see we had 12 min to make it to the bus for our second dinner with her parents. I was more nervous as the first dinner meeting did not go so well.
We made the bus just in time but had to sit apart because everyone seemed to be waiting on the bus also. The trip was ok, it was getting dark and traffic was getting packed. The bus dropped us off and we walked to and crossed the bridge over the Pearl Rives to her parent’s place. It was quite a walk and I was regretting wearing a turtle neck and a jacket, the temperature was much warmer then the first night here. At the building we ended up being in a people jam waiting for the elevators. Too many people kept trying to get onto each elevator as it opened and all you could here was the overweight alarm going off, but no one wanted to get off! It took us almost 20 minutes to get onto an elevator! Dinner seemed to be the same, not the food, and again I was left out of what was being said, however I think this was good in that some things were discussed and said that would not have been said had I known the language. There were some surprises, I got to see Coco and her mother offer a prayer to Coco’s grandmother… and was asked to do the same, also her mother gave me a charm and wanted Coco to tell me to be mindful as being born in the year of the dog this was going to be a good or bad year… Coco gathered some clothing she wanted to take to Shanghai with her and we headed back to the river side and then the bus stop. We were able to make it in time to catch the bus back to her place. It was a little late when we got back so we finished the movie we left on pause while we went to dinner and then called it a day.