29th Aug 2016 – 30th Aug 2016. 1 night.
16,851km travelled. 4,772km travelled excluding flights.
China was the second and hopefully last country I'll need a visa for. I picked it up in Hong Kong because it was much easier, quicker and cheaper than getting it in Dublin. The company I got it through made me change my employment status when I filled it in as unemployed.
I got a two hour train from Hong Kong Hong Hum to Guangzhou East train station. I got a bit nervous when the immigration lady called over a few of her colleagues but she just couldn't figure out how to type the apostrophe in my name on her keyboard. I picked up my train tickets for the rest of my Chinese travelling at that station. It took a while to find out where to get them, they were hiding in the Long Distance Train Tickets area. I got the subway over to the hostel. The Guangzhou Metro is the sixth busiest in the world. There was a lot of extra security at all the train and metro stations.
I stayed at the Lazy Gaga hostel (Gaga means home in Cantonese apparently). It was fine.
Guangzhou is the third largest city in China with a population of Xm people. It is one of the four Tier 1 cities. It, or the city centre at least, is very clean and well organised, easily comparable to any western city or Hong Kong. The signage was slightly poorer than Hong Kong. The people were polite and had no problem queuing. There is a smog over the city, visibility more than around a kilometre was low.
I walked over to the People's Park and the Dr. Sen Yat-Sen memorial building behind it, which were all nearby the hostel. There were a lot of old people playing cards. I tried to get into the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees but it was just after closing.
I found a nearby dim sum place that was supposed to be highly rated. I picked some of the stuff on the menu that had pictures. I'm going to say it was pork and soup dumplings, vegetable dumplings and some sort of cardboard flavoured noodles.
Guangzhou and nearby Shenzhen have reputations mainly for business while Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong are more multifaceted. I got the subway over to the CBD which has a long thin park with skyscrapers lining it. They were mostly huge buildings on large plots so the area was probably only recently developed.
At the end of the strip, across the river, is the Canton Tower. Canton is the English for Guangzhou and Cantonese means Guangzhou-ese. The tower has the highest viewing platform in the world at 488m but I didn't head up there.