Sunday, June 28, 2009

Exploring China - Guangzhou IV

The next day was meant to be the cultural day. Isnt it always amazing how many things you can do in cities? You travel there and at the end of the first day you think: “what am I going to do here for 5 days?”

When you are on your way back to the airport, you think: “Omg, why didn’t I see this/do that/go there?”

The bf and I walked to another park, where we encountered the Tourist office. This is worth mentioning. The Guangzhou tourist office is basically a desk with a frowning lady who does NOT speak English. They also have only one mini-brochure with some English content.

That told us a lot about tourism in this city: it’s mainly domestic, and if there are foreigners coming, they will be on package China tours. This should change with the Asian Games 2010 though.

We walked around in the biggest park of the city, Yuexiu Park, where we found Korean gardens, pagodas, museums, various trees, playgrounds which won national prizes and memorials.

Stadium in Yuexiu Park

After stumbling across the Dr Sun Yat-Sen memorial hall, where the bf lost “his lifeline, the umbrella” (I cite him) we continued to the temple area. Umbrella against the heat not the rain by the way!

Sun Yat-Sen Memorial to the left in the background and the Memorial Hall in the middle

Living in Bangkok, we are familiar with temples of course. In Guangzhou, there are a lot less temples, yet Liurong Temple with the Six Banyan Pagoda was impressive. It was a small haven of calm but revealed a lot about Chinese pragmatism and reality.

The visitors were only rich people – I could tell from their clothes. They are presumably the only people with a bit of time – the others are probably busy working in the factories.

Street near Liurong Temple

Six Banyan Pagoda

The cleaning ladies who swiped the floor did not like people standing in their way. They even pushed away praying people so they could clean the floor. This would be unimaginable in Thailand!

Cleaning lady doing her work without sentimentalities

We continued and wandered through markets and shop-houses, past 7elevens and giant new hospitals and finally ended up at the biggest teenie-shopping street of Guangzhou: Shangxiajiu Street.

Selling meat at the market

Selling fish at the market

Shangxiajiu Street at night

The street was alight with neon shop-signs and in the main square, thousands of people gathered to watch other people, hang out with their friends and watch CCTV on the huge screen. There were many cute guys around, but not so fashionable.

Imagine a Thai country-boy with a Chinese face, a girlfriend and without gel in the hair. Some of them however were dressing up a bit – and many were eyeing this odd couple, the Asian and foreign young men who looked so cool together ;)

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