Guangzhou has exceeded my expectations by far. Last night, we crossed Chinese customs and were met by China’s “greeting”: torrential downpour.
We metro-ed to Huang Sha district and ventured out. 45 minutes later, dripping wet, we finally arrived at Garden Inn, our home for the night. We booked the 15 USD “king bed hot deal” via Agoda, and were pleasantly surprised.
For the night, we explored Zhong Shan Ba Lu, one of Guangzhou’s big streets with restaurants open late. We discovered an RBT! RBT was one of my favorite cafes in Shanghai back in 2010. I still remember meeting Dan and Jeanie from Global China Connection, an international student-run NPO network I was extremely active in, at the RBT in Raffles City. RBT is a fresh eco-friendly cafe concept where the venues are decorated with lush trees and feature leafy swings as seats. It also offers creative drinks such as the potted milk tea, where Oreo crumbs and real leaves create the appearance of a literal plant. We ordered so much food, and were the last ones to leave. The workers stared, since we camwhored and took pictures of literally everything.
Today, we explored what we could uncover in the city, blanketed by gloom and rain. I will update more with pictures soon, as looking back we did quite a lot. We checked out around 10, and took a stroll to Liwan Lake Park. The trees were a beautiful green, the lake waters were clear, and happy old people went about their activities, whether it was opera singing, tai chi with a racket & ball, or “Jian Zi”, an ancient Chinese form of soccer with feathers attached to a coin as the “ball”. We climbed over gates to take pictures on boats, learned about Guangzhou’s international trade history at Shi Shan Hang, and watched old men get carried away at streetside karaoke.
Then, we explored Qing Ping Market, (in)famous for selling everything and anything. Including bugs, and allegedly cats in plastic bags. Thankfully we didn’t see any of that, but we did see adorable kitties going for only 60 RMB, rainbow colored frogs, and squirrels, among many many others.
We strolled down Shang Xia Jiu Bu Walking Street (literally translated Up Down Nine Steps, although it was in reality way more), where I got a cheap 10 RMB manicure, helped translate for a few African ladies getting ripped off, and experienced multiple power outages during round 2 at RBT.
We taxied to Shamian Island, famous for its European history and architecture. After walking around and exploring the Rose Garden, we quickly headed to Hai Jin Sha in Tian He District.
Hai Jin Sha is where Guangzhou hosted the opening ceremony for 2010 Asian Games. Although it was foggy and rainy, the view was still beautiful. Guangzhou has many unique buildings; some might not be skyscrapers, but each one rocks it’s own style.
After a walk around IFC, we headed to Tian He Cheng, one of Guangzhou’s trendiest malls. We dined on no other than Pizza Hut, which was amazingly nice. We ended our Guangzhou experience with arcade games, karaokeing in a machine, and driving legit bumper cars.
On the train back to Hong Kong. Until next time, Guangzhou.