Firstly, lets settle the age old debate on pronouncing the city of Guangzhou’s name. Its Guang-jo, not Guang-jow or Guang-show. OK now that’s settled, lets move on shall we… I will let you call it Canton, the locals still call it that sometimes.
I flew here in China Southerns premium economy and it isn’t that premium, but neither was the price. I did get more leg room though, so I was happy. The food was standard and I survived the 9 1/2 hour flight.
Guangzhou was never on the silk road, but it did effectively kill off the silk road, by becoming the port for everything shipped to and from the east. Today it is China’s 3rd biggest city and the province has 93 million people. Its about 100km from Hong Kong, although no high speed rail yet.I’m staying in the Fangcun district right on the Pearl river. The waterfront here has been done up a bit. I arrived about 8pm last night and went out for a quick meal. Found a nearby local restaurant, specialising in Cantonese cuisine. I ordered what looked to be duck. It was indeed delicious tasty duck. I’m sure there is a Chinese proverb that says “Man in China who do not eat duck is a fool”. I think the duck cost me 15Y which is about $2.50. Tonight I might go to the BBQ street with skewers of meat.
Of course a long day is always followed by a good nights sleep where possible. Chinese beds leave a lot to be desired. They are so hard, i don’t understand why they use a mattress. I did manage to sleep sort of, the temptation to get my self inflating camp mattress out and use that was narrowly avoided.
This morning I went to Shamian Island, a small island (one of many) in the pearl river delta. It was where the old colonials used to live and hang out and now its a lovely leafy lined neighbourhood, with a few nice parks. Seemed to be very popular for model and wedding photo shoots. That was until the thunderstorm came and washed them all away. I hid for a while under shelter and decided to then bolt for a restaurant I spotted to get some lunch. I still got drenched, but dried off while eating some delicious food
That’s all for now. I’m off to go find the 600m Canton Tower. Tomorrow is a travel day to Ashgabat. That is where the tour starts to wind its way along the silk road towards China.