Tag Archives: canton

Canton, From Chuhai to Peking

The worst thing about Canton

Is leaving. How can one not miss the beauty, sun, warmth, cleanliness, liveliness, and happiness of China’s most prosperous province?

On the last day we took a drive and went for a swim, but first…


Early morning rising, and exploring the area around the hotel.


But no open coffee shops!

Once we were both up, it was down for breakfast:


But no grand staircase!

Finally, the drive. We asked the taxi driver to take us to Zhuhai’s sculpture of the goddess who became human for true love.. Somewhat anticlimactically, it was a mile away, and completely inaccessible. Oh well.


Nice view, though

We drove around, but there was much beauty but little new. One area had a whole lot of little traditional boats, but the taxi drove by them too fast… The region is hilly, and for part of the way the Pearl Ocean was to one side and the green flowery hillside was to the other:

We had the morning to kill before we needed to be back at the airport, so one last dive in the water:

On my very last swim I took the digital camera in as far as I dared. The scene was actually a lot bluer than this. (Blame me, I guess). Still, a neat shot:


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But at last, it was time to say good bye to the beach…


Our (rented) beach camp

… and head home. Back to crowded Beijing. The bus from the airport let us off near a supermarket. It was rush hour, and we figured nearly everything was better than a two hour stuck-in-traffic commute home (as after our visit to the Arts District).


Jumping, over a gate, into traffic

A crowded bus

Still, the final day was not melancholy. Amidst all the people and vehicles we saw pack animals brining goods to market.


Seller of Watermelons

The day was extremely windy, and apparently the previous day featured rain. Thus everything was in place for the most gorgeous sunset I have ever seen in Beijing. As the light grew dimmer and dimmer


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The city grew more and more beautiful

Eventually the day ended. A perfect trip grew to a close.

I hope you enjoyed it!


Canton, a tdaxp travelogue
1. Peking to Chungshan
2. Yatsen City
3. Chunshan to Chuhai
4. Pearl Ocean
5. Chuhai to Peking

Canton, in the City of the Pearl Ocean

Our last full day in Canton.

Zhuhai (Pearl Ocean — the meeting point between the Pearl River Delta and the South China Sea) is gorgeous. Our hotel spot was gorgeous. A trip back would be gorgeous.

The beach:

But wait until you check the view from the room…


Looking Left

Looking right

We — I should say I — found out to my peril that low tide is in the afternoon and high tide is in the morning. My initial swim went badly — I actually cut myself on a submerged walk — and until I re-swam the next morning I was left confused about what was going on. Heh. So fairs the South Dakotan in the Pacific.

We went for an amazing jetski ride, which is beyond words and far too dangerous for photos. But trust me, it was fun.

I also had Macau Beer for the first time, which was quite good and (like virtually everything else) better than Tsingtao.


Hands off my Macau!

Then as late afternoon came around, we retreated for tea time. Or quite sophisicated espresso-and-South-China-Morning-Post time…


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… which was all the more pleasurable because virtually every other guest at the hotel was there for “FourthShift Exchange Asia,” some HR software convention, and where much too busy learning about SQL and business rules to be at tea. So it was us alone! On the top floor! Fun!

Slowly the perfect day ended. After the sun went down we went out to the beach again (a brave experience because it’s across a busy highway). Some final photos:


Canton, a tdaxp travelogue
1. Peking to Chungshan
2. Yatsen City
3. Chunshan to Chuhai
4. Pearl Ocean
5. Chuhai to Peking

Canton, From Chungshan to Chuhai

The morning’s adventures must be told without pictures. You can, however, use the encyclopedia entry for Zhongshan for generic photos of what I saw.

I decided to look for Apple chips (having had some delicious ones on the plane), and took a taxi to supermarket. The driver overcharged me for a total of 10 RMB ($1.30), and — worse — the store didn’t have apple chips.

I looked around and thought I knew where I was, because I saw a KFC similar to one I had seen the day before. So I began walking, and after a few blocks I realized that that was in fact a different KFC. I back-tracked, and saw a pink tower in the French quarte,r and began walking to it.

This was quite a walk, but the oxygen high made it a breeze. I got to the Sunwen Road West and took this sideroad and that, as I felt quite good. I was thirsty so I ducked into the McDonalds, asked for a “Fanta,” nearly got an Orange Juice, pointed to the Fanta, and the manager said “Ah — Fanta.” So I got my Fanta.

Full of energy, I walked up the hill at Zhongshan Park and saw the Fufeng Pagoda. Generally older women and a few men were practicing tiji, though somehow I missed the largest bronze sculpture of San Yatsen in the world, which apparently was feet from me. (D’oh!)

I accidentally took the wrong way down, and walked into part of the unimproved (actually, literally smashed) section of the French quarter. Part of the wall of the steps contained mortor and with still-embedded glass shards. The old road was sub-divded into houses.

Following my re-emergence on Sunwen, I walked back to the river. I saw the elevated pedestrian bridge over the river I eyed yesterday, so I went out of my way to take that. It was very cool — neat staircase, and I was the only one on it. (Being alone in a public corridor is an unusual experience during midmorning in a country of 1.6 billion people.) The bridge ends at a mad-gorgeous park, with fountains, statues, game-playing stations, flowers, an artificial lake — you name it.

Finally, I took a new road back to the hotel. While on the street a guy approached me to buy the watch — owning a knockoff would have been a neat sovernier, but I that he only had one made me think it may be stolen, so I refused. At last, I was outside my hotel. I bought a Vanilla Coke (China — a country where they still have this most delicious of colas!) and a Gatorade, and walked inside.

Anyway, enough of my rambling — photos of move from Chonghsan to Chuahi are below the fold
.

 


A look at the free dining room in Zhongshan

 


Checking out, the Zhongshan hotel

 


Final shot of Zhongshan — note the logos on the skyskraper

 


The bus line ends at the Zhuhai-Macao border. Chinese need a visa to got to the Macao SAR (formerly the Portuguese colony).

 


Zhuhai! Palm trees and blue skies!

 


Macao’s skyline

 


Our hotel

 


Canton, a tdaxp travelogue
1. Peking to Chungshan
2. Yatsen City
3. Chunshan to Chuhai
4. Pearl Ocean
5. Chuhai to Peking

Canton, in the City of Yatsen

Zhongshan is gorgeous. The photo that I’m using to headline my travels to Canton

is from that city’s Sunwen West Road pedestrian shopping mall. The town is named after Sun Yatsen, a Christian medical doctor who sidelined as an anti-Qing revolutionary, President of the Republic of China, and Founder of the KMT.

But that is the past. Nowadays Zhongshan is a busy hub city, but one that’s still very walkable (more than any other city in China’s I’ve visited)


Elevated Pedestrian Intersection

Compared to the smogginess of northern China, everything is embarrassingly beautiful…


The renovated portions of Sunwen West Road are a nicer shopping district than any I’ve seen, anywhere. Palm trees and French architecture reach to the sky…

While almost anything you could name (Cantonese tea, McDonalds, pirated DVDs, women’s fashion, and western wear) filled the shops and stalls


Ride’em cowboy!

Sadly, if you walked off the beaten past, you saw the corpses of French colonialism. The houses-turned-into-apartments were not at all bad by the local standards of this class-society, but seeing the barren houses reminded me of the horror of Mao Zedong murderous separation from the outside world.

Not quite finished with our shopping, climed a small mountain to see what we could see. (The pure air, full of oxygen and free of rustbelt pollutants, is invigorating.)

What’s beyond this door is neat: it’s an actual Buddhist temple, with actual Buddhist monks.

As a Catholic, it’s interesting to see how similar Buddhist religious iconography is to the Catholic Church’s. Over the alter the Buddha looked down, flanked by his disciples and various other good guys. In the room monks ate dinner on the floor, and asked us if we would like to convert.

The reason I don’t have pictures of the inside is that we weren’t actually supposed to be there. The reason the door was open was that a worshiper accidentally left it so. The monks were awesome — funny, kind, all the rest — though as we proceeded to leave the guard unmistakably was escorting us out.

The last outside photo for the day is a cityskape from that hill.

The last story will be on Cantonese cuisine, which I liked quite a lot.

Cantonese are over-represented in the Chinese diaspora, and American-Chinese Food, which tastes nothign at all like mandarin fair, is nearly identicla to authentic restaurant-style Cantonese. The only real difference is that desert was sweet fresh fruit, as opposed to a tasteless fortune cookie.

Thus ended a perfect day.


Canton, a tdaxp travelogue
1. Peking to Chungshan
2. Yatsen City
3. Chunshan to Chuhai
4. Pearl Ocean
5. Chuhai to Peking

Canton, From Peking to Chungshan

Let’s go to Canton!

The trip started unauspiciously… The bus ride to the airport (which won’t be needed next year because of the Beijing Subway expansion!!) was packed and slow, though the chairs themselves were comfortable

The bus ride was doubly uncomfortable because the Beijing haze was thicker than usual, though not as bad as some days

Finally, we arrived at the airport — and our flight to Zhuhai (Pearl Ocean) was on time

and a meer four hours later, we arrived in a sunny, bright, clean, warm, wonderland (or, at least, a very comfortable airport)

The drive was amazingly beautiful. The Pearl Ocean (where the Pearl River meets the South China Sea) was right next door to the airport, and the beautiful and neerly empty highway traveled along it for quite some time. Old-fashioned fishing boats dotted the waters, on the blue waves and under the blue sky.

Our driver took us to 中山(Zhongshan, formerly transliterated as Chungshan, named after Sun Yatsen and meaning “Chinese Mountain”) without a hitch. The car was nice and air conditioned, and his music taste good.

What a way to start a vacation (to Canton) in a vacation (to China) in a vacation (summer break)!


Canton, a tdaxp travelogue
1. Peking to Chungshan
2. Yatsen City
3. Chunshan to Chuhai
4. Pearl Ocean
5. Chuhai to Peking
5. Chuhai to Peking

Canton, a tdaxp Travelogue

Our engagement called for celebration, and what better way to celebrate that visiting Canton — no, not Canton, South Dakota (which we visited just prior to this year’s China trip), but the Eastern Vastness of the People’s Republic of China.

Canton was previously in the French sphere of influence, and is the richest province in the country. While immigration is a political question — other Chinese keep trying to move here — the country has long been open to the outside world. The two most recent revolutionary movements with strong Western influence — the Taiping and the KMT — both got their start here.

Fff to another adventure involving train travel, so I am not sure how often new material will be posted. Until then… enjoy!


Canton, a tdaxp travelogue
1. Peking to Chungshan
2. Yatsen City
3. Chunshan to Chuhai
4. Pearl Ocean
5. Chuhai to Peking