Asia 2010 China

On the Banks of the Pearl River

Greetings from Guangzhou (pronounced Guangjoe), my first stop in China! Located a couple of hours north of Hong Kong along the banks of the Pearl River (which is a block from my hotel), Guangzhou is a bustling town with a population of 10.5 million (compared with NYC’s 8 million). Some of you in the West may know this city as Canton, (in a similar fashion as how Beijing used to be known as Peking to the West).

For me, this is a jumping off point to the next part of my journey…Yangshuo, which is surrounded by supposedly stunning Karst landscapes.

The train ride from Hong Kong was a breeze, taking just under 2 hours. As we crossed the border into China, the shift from first world to second world was almost instantaneous! In stark contrast to Hong Kong, trash litters the streets and homeless beggars are a rather common sight.

Upon arrival, an older French gentleman befriended me in the immigration line. He had spent considerable time here and spoke a little bit of Chinese. We ended up sharing a taxi together and he negotiated a price for a rooms for us and settled on 120 RMB (nearly US $19…eeep!). My French friend is staying in the room next door.

I spent last night wandering the town. I took the Metro to a stop relatively close to my hotel, but in an area I was not familiar with. Armed with a map, I got a bit lost, but discovered a lovely (and very very bright) night market, which I perused.

One quick observation in comparison to Vietnam, the last communist country I visited, Mao does not seem to be nearly as big a deal here as Ho Chi Minh was in Vietnam, where his picture looked down on every corner and room. Here, the only place I’ve seen Mao so far is on the money!

At this particular moment, I’m attempting to figure out how to get out of here, as train tickets can be difficult to come by (and everything at the train station is in Chinese!) I will probably catch an overnight bus tonight.

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By Aaron

Hey there! I'm Aaron and this is my travel site, where I document my adventures to all corners of the world. My love for travel started at the ripe old age of four, when a midlife crisis uprooted my family to Ecuador for five years. Since then, I've been to countries on 4 different continents. When I'm not blissfully on the road, I reside in New York City, where I become the ultimate travel junkie and spend my days dreaming up my next great adventure! Read More...

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