68 PHOTOS: Inside Bundaberg's Chinese sister city
EVER wondered what our Chinese sister city, Nanning, is actually like?
Bundaberg woman Jody Griffiths went to find out and discovered a world far removed from the cane fields of her hometown.
Nanning, she says, is an exciting and eclectic melting pot of old and new.
One minute you might be snacking on a scorpion on a stick, the next you can be shopping in high-end fashion outlets.
"Tarantulas, crickets, centipedes, horse, camel, goat... it's a country where they eat everything," Ms Griffths said.
Nanning, with a population of 6.9 million, is off the tourist track and its relative anonymity allowed Ms Griffiths to experience Chinese life first-hand.
Hardly anyone there speaks English. One quick-thinking marketer let Ms Griffiths know what meat she was ordering with a simple "quack quack".
"It was interesting because it's not a big tourist city," Ms Griffiths said.
"Random strangers wanted photos with me because it's not a big touristy city."
Ms Griffiths made the self-funded trip after her photo of a breaching whale was included in a joint exhibition where Bundaberg photos would be displayed in Nanning's four-storey library and theirs would go on display at the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery.
When photographers were asked if they'd like to head over to the Nanning exhibition, Ms Griffiths was the only one to put her hand up.
She was joined in her travels by another Bundaberg woman who was born in Nanning.
"I wanted to go there and see my picture on display," she said.
When it came time to deliver a speech at the Nanning photo display, Ms Griffiths said the community went above and beyond to make her feel welcome.
"They were so friendly," she said.
"We got treated like rock stars at the exhibition."
What surprised Ms Griffiths about Nanning was how green a city it was.
"Everyone rides motorised scooters but they're all electric so there's no pollution," she said.
"Their parks and gardens are just beautiful, with people dancing, doing tai chi, singing and playing mahjong."
Ms Griffiths also made the trip to the Detian Waterfalls on the Vietnamese border, which she said were breath-taking.
Ms Griffiths is a keen traveller and says she can't wait to return to China and discover more of its charms.
Her next trip will be to New Zealand.