Saturday, 13 August 2011


Guangzhou is the third largest city in China, with almost 13 million people, and is one of the five National Central Cities. The area around Guangzhou is one large "mega-city", including Shenzhen and other cities, and in total about 40 million people live in the surrounding area. Throughout history, Guangzhou has been a major trading port and has a long history of foreign contact (the city was formerly known as Canton). The city has come of age in recent times due to the proximity of many of the export-producing factories.

Day One - Arrive in Guangzhou

We met up with F2 in the Guangzhou subway and walked to her house. The central areas of Guangzhou were more ordered and clean than in Wuhan, but the weather has still very humid. After a quick stop we went to our hotel, and then onto Jianhe park, an oasis in the midst of the urban jungle.

Jianhe Park in Guangzhou

After walking around the park, we had a late lunch at Chanli studio (delicious!).

Chanli Studio (restaurant) in Jianhe Park

In the evening, F2 and C went out shopping and I retreated back to the hotel, still not feeling one hundred percent.

Day Two - Central Guangzhou

We started the morning with a breakfast buffet in the hotel and then a walk around Jianhe Park. Of note were the mass aerobics and tai chi. Lots of seperate groups of people with one instructor and everyone else following, all spread out over the park

On the way back to the hotel, we were stopped by a road block. There were police and civilians acting as guards. I didn't risk taking a photo. We were told to wait on one side of the road, even though our hotel was very close by. It turned out that the president was visiting a new company in the area, and the security was to create an empty zone of X metres around the president. We could almost see the entrance to the building. We patiently waited for the cars (one surely was a decoy) to leave and then the road was accessible again.

Yum Cha

We met up with F2 and had Yum Cha for lunch. Of course, we had a bowl of chicken feet. Tastes quite fatty and the only problem is when you have to pick the foot bones from out of your teeth.

Chicken feet

After lunch, we walked around central Guangzhou, amongst all the new skyscrapers and shopping malls. A 21st century city!

Modern architecture in central Guangzhou

Street view in central Guangzhou

After shopping, we went to Shamian Island, situated along the banks of the Pearl river which runs through the city. In the 18th and 19th century, foreigners used the island as a trade outpost. Bridges segregate the island from the main parts of the city which kept the evil foreigners from starting trouble. On the island, there were various old colonial buildings, but what made our visit interesting were the many fashion shoots. All over the island were small groups of photographers taking photos of different fashion models. Every 50 metres we would come across another group.

Hot pot and coconut juice

For dinner we had hot pot and coconut juices. I think this was a "foreigner-friendly" hot pot with a large part tomato and the other part spicy.

City lights of Guangzhou

After dinner, we drove around the city looking at all the lights. Many of the buildings and bridges light up at night. Often we had to park illegally to quickly walk along promenades or bridges to take in the view, then scurry back when we thought we saw inspectors coming.

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