Guangzhou

I’m back at the hotel after a 14-hour, 360-kilometre round trip between Hong Kong and Guangzhou via catamaran, bus and train. As a few of you know, one of the main reasons for this trip was to visit Guangzhou (or ‘Canton’ as it used to be called by early Western visitors) to research the novel I’ve been writing. It’s been an interesting and exhausting day.

The first leg of the journey was an hour’s journey by passenger catamaran to Shekou industrial zone which sits along what used to be (and still pretty much is) the Chinese / Hong Kong border.

Here I am, waiting at the boat terminal at Hong Kong Central. This is around 8am this morning and as you can see it’s a little misty…

This was a planned tour and in hindsight I’m glad I decided on this safer option instead of just trying to make it to Guangzhou on my own. Although there were a surprising number of English signs at our destination, it would have been pretty tough to get there and back on my own. I’ve seen so much today that’s it’s impossible to feature it all in a single blog post, so I’m just going to go for some of the most interesting moments.

At Shekou we passed through immigration control to enter mainland China. Then we spent a couple of hours on a bus to Guangzhou. We experienced a few Chinese traffic jams through the day. I guess Chinese roads are just like the roads we have elsewhere in the world…

But we eventually arrived in Guangzhou itself. We made brief stops at a kindergarten (where the kids practised their English on us and we watched them play ping pong and practice their wushu) and the city zoo where we got the chance to see a panda…

After visiting a museum to see three of the Terracotta Warriors and a vast array of jade (we also had to chance to taste–and buy!–some Chinese tea), we headed off for lunch at a great little restaurant somewhere in Guangzhou (please don’t ask me where it was!). They served Pearl River Beer…

The restaurant was over a brightly coloured shop which was some kind of bakery…

I think one of the most interesting points in our trip was when our guide took us on a quick detour (obviously planned) through a market street where–well have a look for yourself and keep your eyes open for the crocodile (or what’s left of it)…

After that we visited the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees (which I’m pretty sure I remember including in my novel somewhere)…

After a half-hour visit to the Dr Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall we took the bus to a local railway station in Guangzhou where we grabbed a train back to Kowloon

The tour bus started on its route to drop us all off at our individual hotels, but I decided to jump off a little early to experience Temple Street in Kowloon. Slightly tacky, but buzzing–and note the bat and coin neon sign to the left (an older, non-neon features in my novel)…

After that I grabbed a taxi back to my hotel–slight alteration of my original plan to take the Star Ferry due to a breakdown in communication! I finished the day off with a glass of Valpolicella on the ToTTs roof terrace of my hotel with an amazing view of Hong Kong…

I swear I could hear Vangelis playing…

Tomorrow: Kowloon and Victoria Peak

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Comments

  1. benjaminjudge says:

    Great post Craig. If you stay much longer that book is going to end up being a trilogy!

    • When funny you should say that, but once I finished the initial draft of my novel I had an idea for a sequel plus a loose concept for a total of seven books that take the characters into the second Opium War. But I’m going to to resist the urge to start something like that unless a publisher shows an interest in this one…or at least I’m going to try and focus on something else…

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