Middle Kingdom

By Cubie - April 17, 2013

Fisher girl in Zhuhai
Middle Kingdom is the literal translation of China in Mandarin. China in Mandarin read as "zhōngguó" where the first character zhōng (中) means middle and second character guó (國/国) means country or nation. Therefore - middle kingdom.

This brain of mine was easily reminded of Lord of the Rings, just because of the same word 'middle'. Lord of the Rings was set in a fictional Middle-Earth. As a result of this connection my brain make, I do think Middle Kingdom sounds exceptionally interesting. Grin. Anyway, the concept of the term "zhōngguó" was also used in the past in reference to centre of civilisation as oppose to the rest of the states.

As for the photo above, it was taken in Zhuhai sometime in 2006 when I did a day trip from Macau. It is probably one of the most iconic attraction in Zhuhai.

Like any famous statue, this one also has a story behind it. It is said that the Fisher Girl was originally the daughter of the Southern Sea Dragon King. She came for a visit but stayed on as a common fisher girl as she loved the place. Being the daughter of  a Dragon King, she had a magical bracelet that kept her immortal. She fell in love with a young man named Hai Peng but he wanted her bracelet as token of affection after believing in some malicious accusations (silly boy!). The fisher girl gave him the bracelet and died. Of course he regretted his foolishness and long story short, he found/given a herb which could bring Fisher Girl back to life but first he must grow and water the herb with his own blood. As how fairy tale always end, the girl was revived, married Hai Peng and they lived happily ever after. The version in wikitravel also mentioned that on the day of their wedding, a gigantic magic pearl was found and presented to an Elder who taught Hai Peng where to get the herb.

Out of so many historically rich, interesting, beautiful places in China, surprisingly Zhuhai was my first destination in this Middle Kingdom. Despite Zhuhai is unlike Hong Kong and Macau which are the Special Administrative Regions and well located in Guangdong Province, very much a part of China, it is hard for me to register the fact that I have been to China. Anyway, I have fixed that now - after my recent 2 weeks travel to Beijing and a couple of cities in East China.
^ ^

The itinerary was simple - seven days in Beijing with my sister and I extended additional six days to East China (excluding travel days). Of course, East China deserves more than the measley six days, but due to time factor and it was partly visiting friends, it would do for the time being. Oh, and also that I was almost convinced that everybody has been to Shanghai. Seriously, only two out of many friends who I have asked have been to Shanghai. That was why I ended up on a solo trip on the Eastern China leg.

Side note: Today I found out that there was a time when smoking were allowed on flight.

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  1. Sometimes - but only sometimes - I can figure out the meaning of written Chinese words thanks to my meagre knowledge of Japanese kanji. 中 (naka or chū) and 国 (kuni or koku) are both common signs in Japanese.

    I've learned my lesson, though: the food I get in a Chinese restaurant is never the food I thought I'd ordered! :D

    I'm looking forward to more China stories. It's a fascinating country.

    1. My Chinese sucks.. but I would try to guess the meaning of Kanji based on the written Chinese words, it works sometimes but it isn't much help with the pronounciation side of things.

      Haha - I thought Chinese restaurant in Japan would come with photographs as well?

    2. The main menu, yes, usually; but the day's specials are often just scribbled on the wall.

      Even photos can be misleading. I don't eat seafood (I know, I know, so what am I doing in Japan?!), so I'm always trying to figure out if there's a shrimp hiding under the cabbage leaf. ;)