I tried to make it out to Foshan the day after coming back from Zhongshan, but as I mentioned before I struggled a little. And I found out that the GuangFo metro line wasn't under construction after all so I didn't need the bus. Three metro stops from where I was staying and I was at the end of metro line 1 and the beginning of the GuangFo line that took me to Zu Miao. My only real concrete plans were to go to the Nan Feng dragon kiln (there are three left in China and Foshan has the oldest one, it's over 500 years old) and possibly catch an opera performance at 2pm at Zu Miao temple.Since it was still pretty early, I wandered a bit to find my bus and head out to the kiln first. It took a while for it to register just how big the twin kilns were (30 meters). It's still in use too. Anyway, since traveling to Cortona I seem to have made a habit of picking up a ceramic item wherever I go and the area around the kiln was definitely the place to do that. I resisted for a while and found myself back at the window of one particular shop eyeing the zodiac teapots. So I am now the proud owner of a small sheep teapot. It's been my one big purchase thus far aside from getting a violin in ZhuZhou. I'd have loved to stay longer but I also get the feeling that I could have spent a lot of time just staring at tea cups so I took one last walk around the kiln and the surrounding area and caught the bus back to Zu Miao.
Zu Miao temple was a bit of a strange place for me. It was kind of an all in one culture and heritage site where you could light incense to Bei Di (the north god), watch some Cantonese opera, check out tributes to Ip Man and Wong Fei Huang, see some dancing and kung fu demonstrations, look at woodcarvings, visit a Confucian temple, look at an old boat, and buy Foshan's famous paper art. It was fun and Cantonese opera actually wasn't quite as unbearable as I wondered about (to my ears anyway). It definitely drew an older crowd. I've been told that interest in Chinese opera has been fading, and that the experience of going to Chinese opera is quite different from what we'd expect during a Western opera. People who go to such shows are usually familiar with the work and the stories so they just kind of wander out for a smoke and come back for their favorite parts. But it was a good way for me see it at a relatively cheap price without having to pay for a whole show in the opera house (and possibly find that the highly stylized movements, singing, and face makeup was hard for me to take).
I'm a 3rd year WorldTeach volunteer.