Sunday, June 28, 2009

Exploring China - Guangzhou V

At Shangxiajiu Street, the teenie shopping haven of Guangzhou, we did actually go shopping a bit. However cool the shops looked though, the interior did disappoint.

The style was just missing a bit, and a lot was copied. I don’t mind the copying but I don’t want clothes with huge writing on them anyway. We eventually did find two belts and pants though.

The sales personnel were cute! We were of course the attraction of the night, as everyone else but the person serving us kept gossiping. I did understand that they thought I am American. Everyone who is white is American it seems…

The sales boys spoke a little bit of English and were curious about me and the bf. As part of their job, they have to clap their hands rhythmically in front of the shop to attract customers. When we entered, we always got a boy following us through the shop, making sure he doesn’t lose our trace.

Shangxiajiu Street

The next day was reserved for an excursion outside of Guangzhou. We first wanted to take the bus into the provinces, we were however far too exhausted from the heat and the continuous walking.

While browsing the tourist sites of Guangzhou, I found this small village called Xiaozhou Village (difficult to pronounceJ), which looked very scenic. Apparently it was a village from the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and there were old houses built on small waterways and temples to be seen.

We took the subway to a huge island called “university town”. The whole island is reserved for university campuses – talk about investment into education! From there, we tried to find a taxi or bus which would take us on the other side of the river.

Xiaozhou Village

That was more difficult than I had imagined. No one knew the village, even though it is meant to be a prime Guangzhou tourist attraction! I think most of the people we met were internal Chinese migrants, hence they didn’t know much about the city.

I also found that that much alike Thais, Chinese people do not read maps. I had a map exactly indicating where to find the village but the taxi driver decided to call his friend, who could not help him instead.

Xiaozhou Village

We still arrived somehow and made our way to the ancient village. It was not quite as scenic as I had thought, mainly due to the constant building works, which are underway to gear up Xiaozhou Village as a tourist spot for the 2010 Asian Games.

Nevertheless, wandering around freely in this ancient village with small alleyways, canals and houses we found some magic spots and the hassle of getting there was well worth it!

Xiaozhou Village

We then took a taxi to the main tourist attraction of Guangzhou, Shamian Island. Shamian Island was an enclave for foreigners during colonial times and now has developed into a tourist centre, sightseeing spot full of galleries, souvenir shops and restaurants.

We walked the tree-lined streets and passed dozens of gorgeous colonial-style buildings to find ourselves next to the river, sipping a cocktail. We were not alone though. Apparently, Shamian Island is known for being a gay cruising spot!

View from Shamian Island

We noticed that very quickly as quite a few people made distinct moves on us. However, the area just seemed to be a relaxing spot for couples and families, gay and straight, where one could enjoy the night views of the river.

Our tummies starting to rumble, we entered a fancy-looking restaurant and ordered baby pigeon soup and Lotus tea. It was a special and exquisite meal, and cheap too!

Tea House on Shamian Island


Anonymous said...

I'm loving your reports from Guangzhou ... thanks

BB said...

you are very welcome paulo! I hadnt gotten any feedback so I wasnt sure whether anyone liked it...

Prkmk said...

How was your experience with toilet in China? :) I remember 7 yrs ago, even in Shanghai, most toilets in all the nice buildings were super dirty! and I saw several local people (even women) peeing right on the street! Did you experience any of this? or was it just me? :D

BB said...

hey prkmk.

im not surprised you bring up cleanliness. every thai so far has asked me whether china was "sokkroprok" and they are surprised when I say that bangkok streets are much dirtier...

some people do spit and some smell a bit and I have seen a baby peeing into the gutter but that was all. I had the feeling I was in a more civilised and modern place, even richer than bangkok...

Prkmk said...

you're really the bitch of (about) Bangkok :D Strange but true, I like that.

BB said...

nono, you know I love bangkok:) no discussion. but lets admit, bangkok is dirty.