Monday, August 27, 2018

a day around Yongqingfang

Yes, still discovering little corners of this city. On Saturday we went to a play called "The censors" (审查者) at the Watermelon Theatre (西瓜剧院). The play was curious – it had a queer subject, and it was spoken in Cantonese. Well, the early afternoon session was like that, the evening one was a straight version and was spoken in Mandarin. Interesting, right? This was the habibi's idea and, of course, I was up for anything with the slightest whiff of alternative to it. 

The play... Well, I'll be brief – it's about a censor and his own personal desires, and it's itself a heavily self-censored play so as not to incur the wrath of real life censors. It could've been sarcastic, but given the external and self-imposed censorship, it's simply sad with an ironic soupcon. Still, glad to see people are trying to push at the borders, both in subject and language (with its massive influx of immigrants, Mandarin is now the preeminent language of Guangzhou).

But guess what, the theatre was located in an area of Liwan (荔湾) we hadn't explored fully yet – Yongqingfang (永庆坊), a series of restored alleys full of charming things, like coffee shops (I got a "cotton latté" at one; I have no idea how it was made, but the texture was amazing), an old printing shop with tons of metal movable type characters (loved this!), Bruce Lee's ancestral home (yes, his family origins are here), cafés where women go to be watched from outside...

At the end of Yongqingfang, the alleys connect with the area behind the Cantonese Opera Museum (I wrote a post on that museum back in June), which is another delightful place with the museum's building to one side, the canal, the old houses on the other side, the red bridge, the contemporary city all around you... So nice. 

Glad the weather cooled down a bit, and that the habibi found out about that play, so we could enjoy all of this.

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