Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Wed 23 Nov - Hong Kong to Guangzhou

Well, we are writing this from Hotel Landmark in Guangzhou, China on Wednesday 23... and uploading it from Hotel Venetian in Macau on Sunday 27 Nov.

Why? Because in China, we do not have access to Blogger (or to Facebook) through the hotel provided broadband. We heard later that Twitter is also censored here...
We have access to Sydney Morning Herald and to Guangzhou weather forecast and a few other websites, but…
Hence, today's events are written down in MS Word on the day and... anyway, here they are...
Other days to follow...

Today we packed up, checked out from B P International and took the MTR from Austin to Hong Hum railway station.

Since we were leaving a SAR (Special Administrative Region) of China to go to the mainland, it was like going from one country to another. Passport control, xray scanners, filling in the immigration papers etc. The train trip was uneventful; lots of high rise buildings were passing by. You knew when you got into China as there were two uniformed and serious looking young gentlemen standing next to the train tracks as the train momentarily slowed down.
Arriving in Guangzhou, there was the usual spruiker trying to drum up taxi and hotel business as soon as you left the train, but further on, the main hotels had all their own reception desks with complimentary shuttle bus service to their respective hotels. Nice ride through town, wide boulevards, lots of parks and green patches and nowhere near as frantic as we thought it would be from various publications. Guangzhou seemed a lot less frantic than Hong Kong so far.
When we arrive at the hotel, one of the first information boards was a company advertising bus trips to Macao. How convenient is that. The buses depart from the front of our hotel.

The room is quite big and had a view over Pearl River eastwards. Very nice.

We got settled and then went out for a wander around the area. Across the street, there is a nice park area and just to the right is Pearl River. We got ourselves a pastry from a Chinese bakery and supplemented with a coffee from… McDonalds (which seemed very popular by the way).
We found a Christmas shopping street where they sold anything to do with Christmas, including a lot of things that you would never think that you needed for Xmas.

Other observations; the park gym with equipment for exercise is very popular here too, the mainland Chinese still clear their throats and spit a lot, old men sit in crowds everywhere and play a variety of games, not just Mah Jong, some people were living in kind of houseboats on water run-offs under a freeway, walking is not always easy as right of a sudden the footpath goes to the right only with a barrier between you and where you want to be.

We found an interesting alleyway which we had to explore and ended up outside a crèche of sort where parents but more often grandparents were waiting for the clock to turn 4.30pm so they could go in and pick up their grandchildren.
Back to the hotel for a rest before dinner at HongXing Seafood restaurant – looks fabulous with EVERYTHING you could ever eat from the sea or river – including snakes, turtles and crocodiles. Many are kept alive in tanks (not the crocs thank god!) but little sharks were alive. 

At 7pm we returned to the restaurant to a prime table reserved for us on the balcony. We knew the fish and prawns we ordered would be fresh, after Di wandered the seafood ”market” to decide.

For us, a whole fried catfish (last one as it’s very popular here) and some prawns in chilli salt and lots of garlic.  Delicious – especially washed down with our favourite beer – Harbin.
After dinner we promenaded with the locals along the river and over one of the bridges.  Lovely views and really “almost French” – quite romantic and the locals seem to think so too based on the number of cute couples by the river,

Back to our hotel around 10.15pm for a good night’s sleep. Another big day tomorrow.

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