A new day in Zhuhai and the weather has changed from being comfortably warm to being chilly. We spent the morning relaxing and eating a leisurely breakfast and as noon approached Aunt Nancy announced that we were going to lunch with a former classmate of hers and her daughter.
The site of our next culinary adventure was the aptly named Mushroom Restaurant and, unsurprisingly, lunch began with a mushroom soup. The broth was nice and light and the mushrooms plentiful and varied. We were then presented with a huge white porcelain filled with red liquid and chillies covering the entire surface. Buried beneath the mountain a flaming goodness was a whole fish and a massive quantity of bean shoots, Szechuan food at its finest! Laura and I both enjoyed the fish and bean shoots immensely and when we were presented with fried rice made some very small delicate grains we were almost stuffed to bursting but, being good sports, we ate anyway.
After lunch Nancy had work to do and had arranged for her friend's daughter, Aileen, to take us to the New Summer Palace. The palace is a reconstruction of the one in Beijing before it was destroyed in 1860 during the Second Opium War by the French and the English. What's interesting is that there are Chinese and western parts of the palace, for example, the emperor built a western-style palace for one of his wives who favored that style. Normally there are performances throughout the day on the grounds but because of Chinese New Year they had none while we visited.
Once we had finished our tour of the palace grounds Aileen took us to another cultural exhibition. It seemed to be dedicated primarily to a man who had taken a western wife and who is supposed to have some kind of historic significance but all the signs were in Chinese and given that my entire Chinese vocabulary consists of two phrases I was ill equipped to make sense of any of the signs.
What Laura and I found most exciting was when Aileen took us to a big open-air market. She wanted to buy some flowers for Chinese New Year to give to her grandmother. The place was packed with people and there were plants and other goods jammed in everywhere. We didn't get much opportunity to explore as Aileen was on a mission and we didn't want to get lost in the press of people. Throughout the market were guys on three-wheeled bikes with cargo areas in the back to help you get your purchases back to your car. We can't wait to explore the markets in Hong Kong!
Having braved the crowds Aileen took us back to Aunt Nancy's house where we had an opportunity to rest and visit a little with Jeffrey before dinner. We had another hot-pot dinner, which was nice, although I was still quite full from lunch so only picked at it enough not to be disrespectful.
Afterwards Nancy took us on an evening adventure to see Macao at night and take a few pictures of all the beautiful red lanterns hung throughout the city.