we were picked up early on the last day of the National Holiday week- Monday October 7th- the transfer agent and driver took us to the Kowloon station and doubled checked that we had multiple entry visas before we left HKG- for Guangzhou.
on the other end - after clearing passport control and customs we met our new guide Dragon- who shuttled us off for a day of touring this city - known to most Americans as Canton- the home of our first round of Chinese immigrants and cuisine in the US. Today the city is roughly the size of Chicago with 2.5 million in the city and 8 million in the metropolitan area. we expected large Chinese city with lots of concrete- what we found was a quite lovely city on a large river with lots of green space, parks and trees.
our first stop was the Sun Yat Sen Memorial -
inside it is a giant auditorium in the western style (no pillars) where various events are held-
from there we went to the tomb of some ancient king- no photos allowed- Nanyue King Mausoleum Museum is the oldest and largest Han tomb. Hidden 65 feet underground, the tomb is made up of 750 huge stones with colorful murals. The over 1,000 pieces of cultural relics, bronze ware and terra cotta ware in particular, feature the Yue Culture of south China. The tomb was quite oppressive in that it was lacking in good ventilation and I really began to feel quite claustrophobic. But the most memorable thing we saw there was the family that let their two boys pee on the lawn right outside the tomb entrance- obviously a different culture- LOL - we told Dragon that if that happened at the Washington monument or Lincoln memorial in the US they would be arrested- here no one seemed to think there was a problem....
inside the museum there was an artist demonstrating an old plate painting technique -
outside the museum they were selling food items to those who were visiting during the Chinese National holiday week-
from there we went on to Panxi - our lunch place - a giant (really giant place) with lots of dining venues contained within the restaurant - where we had real Chinese food -including chicken feet (OK) and pork stomach ( couldn't stomach it- LOL) and various other things that Dragon recommended.
a map of the grounds- every thing is big in China - they have so many people to take care of-
they don't really have napkins in China so they give the westerners these little packets that are kind of like rough tissues - not quite napkins but you are always happy for something! LOL
this packet had the opening hours on it-
the tea service at each table-
a Chinese coke! I would later learn the Chinese words for Coke Zero are Ling Du cola (zero degrees cola)
the chicken feet and pork stomach - well - we did try them- but they were not going to become life long favorites-
some shrimp dumplings- we gobbled up more than half before I remembered to take a photo!
a wonderful rice noodle dish-
some cute bunny shaped dumplings but they were not rabbit- I think they had pork in them- or the others had pork and these had shrimp- LOL- it all runs together...
excellent meat balls wrapped in wontons that were almost translucent they were so thin!
stuffed peppers (mild) that were also very good-
sticky rice that we only opened to try we were so full!
and then the bill- LOL- luckily Dragon checked it for accuracy - LOL
some of our change- paper money worth like 1/16th of a cent US- LOL
the interesting thing about the money is these are representations of some of the 55 minorities in China - and the back of the money has a number of written languages on it - along the bottom edge so that each of the largest of the minority groups gets theirs-
after lunch we walked around the restaurant area to see the immense size of it- here were some boats where you could dine in small groups- on the water and the kitchen that serviced that area of the restaurant-
then it was on to a walk along the river and the old merchant homes area- and on one side was a walkway of shops selling food and other items-
below- don't ask- I haven't got a clue....
along the way we saw a short bit of this performance- in the park-
since this post has already gotten quite long I will finish Guangzhou in a second one- see you there!