Arriving to China.
I left Hong Kong and jumped on a train to get me to Guangzhou (广州), a big capital close to HK (12 million people). This was my first experience and it was not so nice as I arrived in the evening during the rush hour.
Grabbing the underground is madness. The trains are overcrowded and the only way to get in or out is to push people like there’s no tomorrow. I learned this when a woman in her sixties pushed me like I was a laowai (老外)…
Anyway, I arrived to the East Station and had to go to the other main station and then take a taxi. Quite an experience for me being here in China for the first time. I didn’t see any westerner that evening (actually, I didn’t see any during my stay in Guangzhou), and had my first experience with people looking, no, staring at you. The thing is that they look at you as if you just came from a spaceship. Interesting.
Anyway, when I got out of the station, I felt a bit overwhelmed by the amount of people and the mess there. People queuing to get into the station and to grab a taxi. So I jumped on a taxi, thanks to some random lady who had written the address of where I had to go in Chinese. She wanted me to take the bus, but no way, no, I was not going to jump on a bus without even knowing where I had to stop. 10 minutes later, the taxi driver left me on a road, but not the hostel despite having given him the number. Now picture this, you’ve just arrived to mainland China and are left in the middle of a street, which is not light flooded at all, at the number 450 and you have to get to number 140. And you don’t even know if that’s the street you are looking for. It’s a bit unsettling.
Thankfully it was and 15 minutes later I arrived to this really nice hostel where they didn’t speak any English. Well, they did, but very basic. To illustrate how basic, I was trying to explain in basic English that I was going to stay for two nights and that I was leaving on the 22nd. But they wouldn’t understand me, so what I had to do is draw and airplane under the 22nd. That did the trick.
I didn’t see much of Guangzhou, as I only wandered around during the morning, walking in this huge park. I was gladly surprised by the people in the park. There are lots of old people doing activities. From what I saw:
- Dancing. Many different kind of dances. I even saw people learning how to dance pasodoble!!!
- Martial Arts.
- Working out. On their own or using the playground for children.
- Singing and playing instruments
Anyway, the weather was good, in their 20s. I even tried boiled peanuts, which seems to be something typical here. But didn’t like them very much to be honest.
But probably the most interesting place was this eatery right in front of where I was staying where they had bowls of soup with noodles, vegetables and dumplings for 10 yuan. Yeah, I used their chopsticks and still thinking that they were not looking very nice, but they were nice people (they were all the time smiling at me), I guess they don’t get to see much people like me at their place anyway. That, or they were cracking up with me…
That was my trip to Guangzhou. Next day, a flight to Guilin.
Will I come back? To Guangzhou? If I’m in China, probably not, unless I have to, but don’t know, I spent only a day and a half here, so not enough time to decide if it’s worth it or not.