This morning Aunt Nancy took Laura and myself to see some of the building projects undertaken by Uncle Po's company of which he is the chairman. Like a lot of Asia, Zhuhai is densely populated with most people living in apartments that they either rent or own. In some places there are developments where some homes have been completed and others were started but the builders ran out of money so they abandoned the project leaving derelict shells behind.
Uncle Po's company, Huafa Industrial Share, has apparently done quite well despite the downturn in the economy that has effected the rest of the world. First we went to see the new towering apartment building that they are currently working on. It is composed of three identical towers with large and exquisitely appointed apartment. The materials used are amazing and below are some photos from one of the finished smaller units. We were also permitted to tour the incomplete penthouse which was three floors plus the rooftop terrace. They use stone throughout for flooring and accent with wood, the doors for the closets are wood and leather, the ceiling in the master suite is silver leaf and the bookshelves in the study are backed in gold leaf. Rare woods are used for the cabinets and there is even a private swimming pool on the second floor balcony (probably 10 feet wide by 25 feet long).
Nancy then took us to a townhouse development where she and cousin Chris have each purchased units. They aren't yet complete but the setting is very nice with a small river meandering through the property (on which both her and Chris's house back) and stunning landscaping throughout. She reports that her new home is scheduled for completion in June of this year.
After seeing Nancy's future home we went to a kindergarden that Uncle Po built and that is run by his company. It is truly massive and really well appointed. The bathrooms have diminutive toilets for really small children, they all have sleeping areas and the classrooms are large and bright. Tuition for this marvelous school is 50,000 yuan annually (about $6,000 USD) and they admit children as young as 6 months old!
We wrapped up our visits to Uncle Po's projects by visiting another planned townhouse development. The model was housed inside another building and the actual construction site was some distance away. The materials used were innovative but I think perhaps a little impractical. It was nice just not as nice as the other projects.
Oh, and the best part of all, you can buy these homes fulled furnished with all that you see in the photos! You don't have to have taste at all but in the photos below it will cost you 6,000 yuan per square meter for furnishing (and the include outdoor space in their calculations, so balconies count). To illustrate, the apartment pictured is almost 400 square meters so it would cost about $275,000 USD to furnish it as you see it!
After we finished our real estate tour we returned to the house to have lunch and relax for a bit after which Nancy's boyfriend took us to the park to explore on our own for a bit. Other than some monks trying to coerce us into lighting incense (we were reluctant because of the language barrier) and some treacherous foot paths it was quiet enjoyable. They have decorated for the new year by hanging lanterns in the trees and it is beautiful. There was also "bird paradise" there so included are some photos of Laura reluctantly become Queen of the Bird people.
On the other side of the economic scale I've included some of the pictures that I took on our way to the hot springs yesterday and of the park today. Communisticalism certainly doesn't seem to breed equality!
We made one quick stop after the park to see the Zhuhai Pearl Lady for which Aunt Nancy's photo was used as a model for the face. It's a beautiful piece of art and the setting is magnificent!
Back to Nancy's house to rest for a little bit before going out to dinner and because the hot pot as so successful last night we went out for a different kind of hot pot again. This one had a jook base and was delicious but quite different from what we had previously. Laura struggled with the huge prawns that we had (I didn't partake as I can't stomach water bugs) and Aunt Nancy kindly assisted her in peeling the shrimp. Our meal was accompanied by a flakey peanutty sandwich (Laura has pictures that she will probably share at some point) that were heavenly if potentially deadly to cousin Gabby.
After dinner we took a walk along the ocean but because of the fog we were unable to see Macao.
One last stop before turning in for the evening at the fruit market. I pointed to a fruit to ask Laura if she knew what it was and she conjectured it was some kind of eggplant. Being a skeptic by nature, I asked Aunt Nancy and she said it is a Thai fruit but didn't know the name but she did later remember it is the Queen of Fruits while the durian is the King of Fruits.