Guangzhou #1: An Evening Stroll

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Asia » China » Guangdong » Guangzhou
May 1st 2019
Published: December 6th 2019
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Labour Day holiday! Four days off work! I had booked an early flight to take me south to Guangzhou. However, when I turned up the airport my flight had been cancelled. Cheers Air China. I am seriously contemplating about whether I will use them again in the future as they also messed up my flight at the National Day holiday. I headed to the ticketing desk and was rebooked onto a flight 5 hours later, so much for getting to spend the day in Guangzhou. Instead I spent most of it in Beijing airport, which is a pretty boring place. At least, I got to try a chain noodle place that I have been meaning to try for while. Ajisen Ramen was quite nice, not the worst Japanese style noodles I've ever had, but not the best either. My new flight left on time and I had a nice, rather spacious seat in preminum economy. We were obviously on a tight schedule with the pilot wanting to make the take off slot as the flight crew were still doing their safety checks as we headed down the runway. It was funny watching them run to their seats. Also the safety video was playing as we were taking off and climbing. It was good to be able to watch a movie to pass the time, but the food was still crappy. The flight landed early in Guangzhou and soon I was on the metro heading into the city. The subway was rammed and I, luckily, got a seat onthe first train. I headed to my accommodation, which was located near Beijing Lu, a busy shopping district.

After checking in and enjoying the view from the 29th floor, I headed out. I really wanted to see the Canton Tower. I could see it from my bed, but I wanted to get a bit closer. Since the subway was crazy busy (there were lines just to get into the station), I decided to walk. My walk took me down Beijing Lu and near to the Pearl River. It definitely looks better at night, as the water's brown colour was hidden. It reminded me of the Mekong River and my travels through South East Asia. There was a boat terminal at the water's edge and it was packed with people wanting to take a night cruise. It was nice to walk along by the water and see the Canton Tower lit up in the distance and the bridges were lit up nicely, too. The boats that ply the water offerimg dinner cruises were a bit of a monstrosity. They were very bright with neon flashing lights, very bling bling. However, I did feel like they kind of fitted in.

My walk took me through a small park next to the river, it was filled with people out enjoying the evening. I wasn't sure if they were locals or tourists or a mix. I came to a small marina, which had some boats docked in it, and I got a great view of the bridge I had just passed under. The path headed away from the water, over another and the next part was quite boring, nothing interesting to see. It was also really quiet on this part of the walk as there weren't many people around apart from the odd cyclist or jogger. Now, I was on a smallish (by Chinese standards) island called Ersha Island. There were a few different path across the island, so I too the one straight through the centre. It was eeriely quiet. There were barely any other people about. The streets althrough lit were still pretty dark and the trees had long drooping branches. The buildings were also fenced off behind high barbwire and camouflage covered walls. I also came across the largest cockroaches I had ever seen in my life. These little bastards were huge, a good few inches long. It cemented the idea that I can never move to the south of China in my mind, giant bugs and humidity, no thank you.

As I got to the edge of the island, the Canton Tower reemerged into view. There was a bridge to cross the river to get closer to the Tower, but I decided agsainst going across as I thought it would look better from a distance. The Canton Tower stands 604 metres high and was opened to the public in 2010. It had been the tallest building in the world for a while, but that is a hard record to keep a hold of. I don't really know why, but I wasn't interested in going up the Canton Tower, maybe it was due to the crowds because of the holiday, the price as I had read online it was pretty expensive and also the weather wasn't great, which meant cloudy skies and a limited view. I crossed onto a smaller island, which had a bit more life to it. I walked along the promenade, snapping pictures of the Canton Tower as the colours continually changed. I kind of wished I could read Chinese to understand what the words that kept going around it said, but that isn't enough motivation for me to start studying. It was just nice to take an evening stroll and take in the views. Beyond the Cantom Tower, there was another bridge. It looked pretty cool, as it was all lit up.and looked like it was covered in pictures, which I presume where to celebrate the May Day holiday. However, by the time I reached the edge of the island, the bridge was still quite far away, so I couldn't get a good enough view of it.

Since I couldn't really go any further, I decided to make my way back to where I was staying. I didn't fancy the long walk back and was feeling a but hungery, so decided to head to Zhujiang New Town, which had a lot of skyscrapers. It looked like quite an impressive area. However, on my walk I realised that there was no way I could get to the restaurant I wanted to eat at, so scrapped that plan and found a place near to the nearest subway station. The subway station was still really busy for it being quite late at night. I was pleased to discover that the ticket machines accepted Alipay and WeChat pay, no more faffing around with notes and coins. The subway journey was fairly quick although I did have to transfer. As I was walking through the transfer station, I heard the announcements that some trains had stopped running, and I prayed it wasn't mine. I was in luck as when I got to the platform, my train was due in a few minutes. I don't think my legs could have handled the walk. I was happy that the hostel I was staying in was only a short walk away from Beijing Lu Station because I ready to collapse into my bed.

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