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Guangzhou Trip

2007-10-01

                    Guangzhou Trip

 

Guangzhou is the capital city of the province we live in.

 

The city itself has over 1,000 years of rich history, and many of the locals there scoff at the people from Shenzhen, our city that has a history of 30 years, give or take.

 

After Chinese class on Friday, we met Mary, the sister of of good friend Jimmy. She is visiting for three weeks before venturing off to Eastern Europe for the Peace Corps. We all had dinner at the vegetarian restaurant we like downtown, and slowly made our way back to Jimmy and Cali's apartment to enjoy the rest of the evening. We woke up saturday and left shortly before 10am, which was good for us as we all stayed up pretty late. 

 

On our walk to the bus stop, we were almost run over by a bicycle on the sidewalk. Not just any person on a bike either. This bike was carrying the corpse of a very large pig that had been gutted. Not a pretty sight to see, especially for the vegetarians.

 

Our bus ride to the train station was not fun. The buses can get very crowded very fast. When we got on, we had to stand while holding the rails, which is pretty common, but we had a ways to go and more people kept cramming in. Kids started crying, and some of us felt sick due to the bouncy, hot and crowded bus.

 

Finally, we made it to Luohu Train Station. We grabbed a bite to eat and got our bullet train tickets to Guangzhou.

 

The train station was actually quite easy to figure out and the whole process was as well. We waited a few minutes and boarded the train where we were able to sit in comfortable sits. The train ride lasted a but under an hour and we were there, in a city we've heard a lot about and where anxious to see.

 

First things first. We found our hostel, which is on Shamian Island, a quick subway trip then walk from the train station. We stayed at Guangzhou Youth Hostel. Our travel book indicated that it was cheap, but not too fancy. We found it to be cheap, but fancier than we had imagined, so we were pleasantly surprised. The staff were nice enough, and the rooms were large and clean.

 

We were all hungry, so we took another short walk to Lucy's, a place we had read about that served a lot of "WESTERN FOOD". The restaurant sure had an extensive menu, and the decor was a mixture between Red Robin and a 50's diner. Tons of random things on the walls and pictures of celebrities.

 

I ordered a Hawaiian chicken sandwich and Staci, refried bean enchilada. The food was not very good. We also ordered equally disappointing onion rings. Jimmy, Cali, and Mary agreed. Nothing special, tilting on the side of disappointing. While eating, an observation we all made was the high number of White people with young Asian children eating with us and walking around outside. We later learned that Guangzhou is were the USA consulate is and where all adoptions are finalized.

 

As mentioned earlier, the city has a lot of history, and it was fascinating just walking around the streets seeing the old buildings. We tried to visit the Huaisheng Mosque, which is over 1,300 years old. For some reason we, were unable to get in to visit. We assume it was off hours, or a time of prayer. we were able to take some pictures from the street.

 

Guangzhou seems to value having pets more so than in Shenzhen, where they seem to value eating them. Well, maybe not eating them, but we never see people with pets here. In Guangzhou, everywhere we went we saw dogs on leashes and various other pets. At one point, we found ourselves walking down an alley specifically for selling animals. It was quite depressing, but interesting nonetheless.

 

Later on in the afternoon, we stopped for a short visit at the Temple of Bright Filial Piety, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the city. Our visit was short due to it closing 20 minutes after we got in, and we were all ready to find our prized destination for the day: all you can eat and drink Italian food.

 

Yes, you read correctly. Guangzhou is home to a lot of history, but also the all-you-can-eat-buffet.

 

After a few subway stops and a lengthy walk through the city and a park, we finally found it. The restaurant's name is simple: THE ITALIAN RESTAURANT. For slightly under 100RMB a person, we each were able to gorge ourselves on salad, soup, bread, pizza, pasta, veggies, and so on. My favorite was the spinach alfredo gnocchi. As much as we love Hong Kong, Guangzhou is now the place for us to go and get a fix of the food we miss and crave. To still have room for copious amounts of eating, I opted out on drinking as much as I could. A wise choice, as after dinner, there was an all-you-can-eat dessert bar. I never thought I'd be eating tiramisu in China, so I made sure to have seconds. Total cost per person: less than 15 US dollars. 

 

After two hours of eating, we crawled out and noticed a sign for the place we will try the next time we come to Guangzhou: "THE MEXICAN RESTAURANT".

 

Since everyone was in a major state of food-coma, we had no energy to socialize once back at the hostel. We attempted to watch a movie but found ourselves quickly counting sheep, or in this case raviolis.

 

The next morning, we woke up, checked out, and had breakfast before making one last tourist stop: Guangzhou Peasant Movement Institute (PMI). The PMI was where Mao Zedong taught as in instructor before tensions rose between the Chinese Nationalist party.

 

Our trip back home was again easy, and we found ourselves eating dinner at the airport. The dinner was not very good and expensive. Not the best follow-up to the previous night's feast. As always, it was nice to be back home.

Click and see more about Guangzhou Tours Blog.

 

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