Sunday, October 2, 2011

Middle Kingdom 2010 Part IV: Guangzhou and Zhuhai

Pier for the ferry-taxi service.
21 July 2010:
Arrived in Guangzhou around 8.30 in the morning. Hit a spot of trouble- couldn't find the bus that was listed in the guide I compiled back home- a problem easily surmounted by asking around and taking a different bus, though after getting off I walked blindly past my street and had to double back. Not fun at all, especially with the sky threatening to leak on me again.

Finally reached the river- the hostel was somewhere there. I knew I was on the right bank, but had no idea whether to turn left or right. Grabbed hold of a passing lady who offered to walk with me in the right direction- coincidentally the direction she was taking to work. The whole exchange was a lot more peaceful than it sounds, really.

Fancy old postbox instead of that horrible sight temporarily carved into my eyeballs.
Grabbed a can of iced Coke before entering my room- was sweating all over. There was another guy in there- sleeping face down, partially covered by a sheet, with only his underwear on- tight, white and transparent. I'm just grateful that he wasn't lying on his back. And no, I did not take any pictures of that horrible sight, you perverts. Unpacked, had a shower, and scrammed.
Lanterns, a long fall down- all we need now is an expendable Jackie Chan or two.
Took a ferry across the river, and wandered into a large shopping district. That's the popular One-Link mall in the photo above- think of it as a cheap looking version of Sungei Wang plaza back home.
Wanton mee. Gotta love the unintended double entendre.
Stomach felt a little peckish- I'd been avoiding all the restaurants I passed by as they were all packed- and if there's one thing I don't like it's a crowd- especially noisy ones. Finally settled on a quiet hole-in-the-wall restaurant (a lot larger, really- hunger made me squint). Had a disappointing bowl of wanton noodles- not even a single green in there.
Construction everywhere, for the Asian Games. That's gotta be dangerous...
The sky got darker, and nudged me indoors with the occasional burst of thunder. I wandered through more wholesale malls- if there's one thing the Chinese are good at, it's doing things big, it seems. Got myself a cheap shirt for RMB20, which didn't take long to end up looking rather pathetic.
An island of peace (relatively speaking)
Checked out a Guardian pharmacy, and asked for a pair of tweezers. They didn't have the model I wanted- the lady I asked must have been surprised. I don't think many men walk in asking for dainty hair plucking tools. Oh, and for some strange reason the chain isn't called Guardian here, but Mannings... either that or they just pirated the logo and store design.
A lot prettier at night.
Dinner was a plate of Singapore Fried Meehoon. Nothing like the ones I'm used to having back home- this one was just horrible. I didn't even bother taking a photo of it. The city was rather unpleasant, to be honest- no thanks to all the construction going on. It seemed as if they were rebuilding the entire city- while it went on as if not realizing it was being gutted and refilled on a daily basis.
I blame Dan Brown.
Any symbologists reading this post? All we need to complete this picture is a bunch of female university students with boiling hormones. I wonder if a world record would be possible here... 'largest simultaneous penile-looking concrete thingamajig pseudo-humping session'? ...nah.
Oh look, someone just fired a positron cannon... =.=;
Ferry back to my side of the river. Had a brief moment of panic when I found out that the pier I disembarked at earlier was closed- luckily some of the other piers were still operational.
Guangzhou is the place for Tong Sui
After a long and largely damp day- not to mention grime in my shoes from walking through a wet market on the way to the alternative pier earlier on- what better way to end it than with a bowl of tong sui? There was a cafe near the hostel specializing in it. This one's called... yam and egg something. Anyway, lovely stuff. *muffled burp*
Again. Two bowls at a time- the waitresses must have been thinking 'greedy capitalist pig' the whole while.
22 July 2010:
Windy in the morning, but a little warm. The Metro here is expensive, but there weren't any x-ray machines, for once. My first stop was romanized as 'Tiyuxilu'- which I thought meant 'Western Hell Road', but which turned out to be nothing more than a dull and anything but hellish West Sports Road.

I came across a Jusco supermarket in the oddly named Tee Mall- had a slice of microwaved pizza and a box of fruit juice for breakfast. Lightning, rain. Went in search of an 'exotic foodstuff market'- the sort selling oddities like crocodile penises and monkey brains- but got lost and ended up in Shang Xia Jiu Pedestrian Shopping Street instead- why it's called 'Up Down Nine' is beyond me.

Bloody heavy rain again. Would have been shoecide (my shoes felt more like sponges at this point, really) to go out. Just spent time wandering the streets, dashing from shade to shade, which accounts for the lack of photos. Got myself a brown 'manbag' for RMB70- a 50% cut from the price originally quoted, and three boxes of Jasmine tea to take to Hong Kong as war trophies souvenirs.

Had dinner at Pizza Hut, since the local food so far was just vaguely depressing, with the exception of the Tong Sui. Bloody expensive though, RMB29 for a small personal pizza. Tsk.
Even the temples are under renovation.
 23 July 2010:
My last day in Guangzhou. More rain in the morning.  Headed for Beijing Road Pedestrian Street- more malls, that's pretty much it. Brunch at 11- fish cake noodles. Found a Uniqlo outlet- with a sale going on, and got myself a pair of skinny jeans at a fantastic price. Unlike back home, sales here are for real, I think. Despite my non-knowledge of Cantonese I managed to come out unscathed- the cashier there spoke the fastest Canton I've heard since setting foot in the region.
Red brick building.
Went looking for an 'antiquity street'- found it, but it wasn't much, just a few shops selling antiques and crafts on a nondescript street.
I thought I saw a puddy tat...
Thunder and lightning again. Headed back to the hostel- got a ticket for the night cruise, and messed with the hostel's mascot kitten (well if it isn't, it should be).
Night lights
On the night cruise. The city always manages to look prettier at night.
Big guy there's dominating the pic...=.=
Looks like an old Chinese junk. Must look pretty tacky during the day, though.
Oh look, England must have gone broke while I wasn't looking- they've rented out Stonehenge, and the Chinese have fixed it up.
View from my room
24 July 2010:
Took a bus to Zhuhai, which is famous for being... well, nothing more than the gateway to Macau, the land of casinos and egg tarts, really. Thought I was the only passenger on the RMB60 bus, but was proven wrong when it filled up at the next stop. Took a taxi from the Zhuhai busport to the hostel- a sacrilegious act for a backpacker, but I didn't have much of a choice, with my hostel being located further inland, in a rather odd location- the 11th floor of a condominium.

Didn't do much today. Was glad that I only booked two nights here- there's nothing much to see or do. Must have been trying to kill myself at night, in my small room with the air-con set to 16 degrees- 16 being a lot colder when there's so little space for it to go around.
Gongbei-Macau border crossing
25 July 2010:
The Gongbei-Macau border crossing. So long that it ended up looking rather bent in some of the other pictures I took.
Coconut milk
Coconut milk to wash down the spicy noodles I had for lunch- a bad move considering the ungodly heat.
Tree lined boulevard
Palm trees. In my heat-induced delusional state it almost looked like a Los Angelesian boulevard, minus the bikini wearing roller bladers.
Too much for me
Massive dinner. I don't know how I managed to finish it off, but I did. Tomorrow- I'm out of this boring place, and on to Macau. I can't wait:P

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