03.09.07

The beauty of Chinese parks – 7. 3. 2007

Posted in China, Guangzhou at 20:27

Another big day for me today. I would go to China 😀 . Only with a small backbag, the main luggage I could deposite in the HK Hostel, I started to Kowloon Hung Hom railway station. Approximately every hour an intercity of the KCR is connecting Hong Kong, Dongguan and Guangzhou. Like mentioned before my target today was Guangzhou. A return ticket for the less than two hours ride in Standard Class was 380HK$ (CHF 57). The procedure before the departure is the same like on the airport. Passport check and then customs. The travel in the modern rolling stock was very comfortable. The train crew even handed out a free bottle of water to every passenger. When passing the border you still could see the difference between Hong Kong and Chinese mainland territory. Floodlight constructions, high barbwire fences, guarding towers and plane areas are still marking the boarding line near Shen Zhen. Before arrival in Guangzhou everybody has to fill out two blanks. Firstly an arrival card where you had to write down who you are, where you will stay and why you come to China. The second one was more interesting. It was a health form that cared about who the avian flu. You had to answer if you were in close contact with birds within the last few days, if you carry any blood or animal products or human tissues (?) and if you felt well at the moment. Of course I was very curious about the entry procedure. But nothing special there. Handing out the forms, waiting until the customs clerk made his stamp into the passport, passing a drug detection dog and suddenly I was definitely in China.

Like the cities I visited before also Guangzhou has a very modern Metro system (photo). The stations where announced and named in both English and Standard Cantonese. The confusing difference to Taipei and Hong Kong metro however was that they translated the entire station name into English. So for example NongJiangSuo became suddenly “Peasant Movement Institute”. Guangzhou is one of the most important cities in south China and attracting a lot of poor people from the countryside who try their luck to find work in this city. Because of this it is not really known to be very safe for travelers. Therefore I decided to stay in a decent four-star hotel, the Guangdong Hotel, that I could book for 43$ for one night. It was also next to the main sightseeing spots and easy to find. The luxury was in first sight quite amazing. Several doormen, a big entrance hall, own restaurant, health center, communication room, travel agency, bank agency and also an own jewellery and watch store. My room was on the 9th floor and had a nice view to the surrounding district (photo). I did not find a Tourist Information at the train station but fortunately I had previously copied the chapter about Guangzhou from a China guide of a friend (thank you Gregor. It had the value of gold) and the hotel provided me with a useful tourist map so I was ready now to explore Guangzhou.

Just next to the hotel was the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall (photo). It is a big concert and theater hall. In the inside people were practicing for a scene. After read about all the glorious performances that took place in this hall I went a few blocks down to the Yuexiu Park 越秀公园. Already at the entry people were welcomed by classical music spreading a coherent ambiance. It is China’s biggest urban park, encompassing over ninety hectares (0,9 km²; Hyde Park London 1.4km²). It is not an open area with green but a hilly forest with many branching paths and cultivated places to sit down and relax. A lot of historic monuments like the Sun Yat-Sen Monument (photo), a long section of the ancient city wall from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) (photo), with a guard tower, that is the Municipal Museum today and a lot of other monuments and themed areas like Flower Garden, Garden of Chinese Idiom or Bamboo Forest, make this place to an interesting and very beautiful green island in the 12 million people city. Here you could easily spend half a day by only enjoying the hundreds of exotic plants which are home for many voiceful birds. With a heavy heart I had to leave this paradise again. Unfortunately five a clock already passed and so most of the temples and other sight-seeing places where closing their doors. It was time to experience Chinese street life. Along the Perl River (photo) I made my way towards Tianhe district a commercial center in Guangzhou down town. The life here did not seem that busy like in Hong Kong anymore. Arrived at the City Plaza on the Tianhe Lu nothing remembered me of the China how I did imagine before. Modern skyscrapers, shops and restaurant from western chains were stamping the cityscape here (photo). The only thing that made me aware that I am in China were the numerous soldiers and policemen which were patrolling in their traditional coats and uniforms. On every street corner, near every half-important building, in every subway station they were taking care of the behavior of the people.

After I futilly tried to find a bar for one hour, how I found out the next day this was definitely the wrong district, I returned to the hotel to plan my second day. In the hotel description wireless Internet was mentionned but when I asked at the reception they only ordered the housekeeping service for me. This one never appeard in my room and later I found out that I could only go online over the analog phone line where I had to pay the costs myself. Even in the cheapest hotel before I could use Internet from my laptop for free but here it seemed impossible. Or are they just not trusting a western tourist?

2 Comments

  1. mitsus said,

    03.10.07 at 13:27

    die tämple u das angere züg gseht würklech schön us

  2. greg. said,

    03.11.07 at 15:10

    🙂 – internet. too late but: ask them about 7 times and they will get off their butt. hostel would certainly have been a better/cheaper choice. so glad you made it to the mainland! parks are amazing. I love the translations. they are wild. – 加油加油 ganto. 🙂 –

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