Trip Start Jul 28, 2009
51Trip End Jul 27, 2010
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Where I stayed
What I did
Again hang overs from the night before at Aladdin's (the local bar we all seem to spend our wages in) hampered how quick we left for new years in Guangzhou, it was a repeat of what happened when we went to Shenzhen. When will we ever learn? In fact, some of us were so hung over that it was only Tilde, Love and I (only half the group) who went on the Thursday, a couple of days before New Year.
This was the 3rd time I had been to Guangzhou, so getting from the bus station to my friends Henrik and Mortan’s place wasn’t too hard. The only annoyance was carrying my bedding around with me which was in a large suitcase like bag, which often bashed into the odd frantic Chinese person rushing by and sending both of us off our trajectories! When we got onto the subway we had to go to the 2nd workers temple. The obvious joke to make is where is the 1st workers temple? This made us laugh.
Mortan met us at the top of the subway station. By this time it was approaching 10 o’clock in the evening, so we there wasn’t much time to do anything other than go back to theirs and get up early the next day. We had a quick meal at a local street restaurant, i had chow mi fen and ji dan (fried noodles with egg, 炒米粉鸡蛋). I’ve definitely been having too much of that recently.
We arrived at their flat, and compared to ours its very nice. Similar in every way, 4 bed rooms, a kitchen, living room and TV etc, but theirs is just that one bit better. Plus they work half of what we do and get paid twice as much; I was feeling jealous very much.
After doing a little bit of lonely planet planning with Tilde and Love, we went to sleep. Love did some ‘maths’ and said that because he was taller than me he would have the larger bed. Riiight. So i had no choice but to sleep on the smaller sofa, and being a gentleman I gave Tilde the bed.
In the morning Morten woke me up, because we had discussed me joining him in school to check out his kindergarten group, but he informed me that there was no room in the shuttle bus to his school. Which was a bit of a shame, but to be honest i wouldn’t have gone anyway because i was so relaxed in my small sofa.
We eventually got up and ready by about 9 o’clock. Armed with my camera and a map, we were ready to explore the big city of Guangzhou. And when I say big, I mean big. With a population of over 15 million and an urban sprwal so badly planned you’d expect mother nature to have packed her bags years ago) We had decided to first go to a Cathedral, then a mosque, a Buddhist temple and finally a art gallery (which i was very much looking forward to the most, I’d seen enough temples at this point).
First we stocked up on some more fried noodles and egg, and then we set off. Our navigation of Guangzhou went surprisingly well, considering how basic our map was and the astronomical amount of small streets in Guangzhou (which is what I love about it). Of course, there was plenty of walking around, but the newly built subway system sufficed our every need. Also took some nice pictures on the way to the our first destination, the Cathedral. There is so much contrast of wealth in Guangzhou, epic skyscrapers situated right next to poverty stricken homes and hutongs (small Chinese style streets), which are all very photographic.
When we arrived at the Cathedral we were disappointed to realise that it was closed!! Only a few scattered people were beyond the gates, and some of them looked like priests. When considering it was new years eve, it was a fairly poor show. Determined to get in, we walked all the way around the perimeter, and still failed to get in. At one point there were several poor people well camouflaged within a rubbish heap, sleeping together. A reminder of the divide between rich and poor.
I asked a woman who was inside if we could get in. I noticed that she was welding a big camera like my own, so i also lifted my camera into her view to connect and show that i was one of her kind.
What she said was quite funny, so i wrote it down in my note book. I quote;
“Cathedral of the sacred house: to come in here is forbidden... until 2.30”
Forbidden has a time limit these days.
Next stop was the Mosque, but we weren't allowed to enter that either because we weren’t Muslim. We weren’t having much luck. Now, we had walked half the map of Guangzhou, and the next stop was the Buddhist temple, surely they would let us in! On the way there Tilde almost got mugged, and i snapped yet more great pictures. Our map was crap, and we weren’t quite sure where were the whole time, but we had it there without much pain.
And yes, it was open. AND yes, we were allowed inside, hooray!
This temple was quite impressive, because it was a massive pagoda (large tower), and had a sense that it was genuine, despite the tourists. However, a typical buddhist temple, with over sized Buddha's and a strong smell of incents where ever you go. So i wasn’t amazed, but glad to be in somewhere that welcomed me in, once i had paid my ¥5.
It was getting a little late, and we decided to miss out the art museum that day, and visit it tomorrow. Also, the others had finally caught up with us and were drinking beers in a restaurant near our mates flat, preparing for the messy night ahead that is new years. We rendezvoused with the Spanish girls at a train station because they had no idea how to get to their hostel. I gave them directions and before we knew it i was sitting down in the sofa i slept on drinking a beers with the others.
It was time to go out, and we met up with about 15 others teachers from the program we had taken. A mass reunion. However, I’m so bad with names and then combined with the alchol i was under the influence by, i had to keep repeating the question “and what was your name again”, shortly after them greeting me by my first name. Little bit bad, but at the time i didnt think it was offensive in anyway.
The frist stop was hot pot, but unlike the hot pot we have back in my home town Sanxiang, this was one shared pot where everyone was cooking together, meaning that meat juices would have been flowing into my lovely vegie meal. Too drunk to care, i ventured off on my own and found a sweet street restaurant and ordered (you guessed it) fried noodles with egg. Howver i got fried rice with egg, i welcomed the change with a smile!
The rest of the night has blurred slightly, so I will be minimal with any details and will write key points down in bullet point form
- Hated the venue, it was horribly Chinese and wanted to go somewhere else, moaned to many people.
- Got up on stage and did the mackarina (not sure about the spelling)
- Beers were expensive, so i shouted ‘Tai Guila’ all night (Too expensive)
- Smashed 1 beer off the table
- Smashed another beer in my hand when i fell over my own feet, this resulted in me bleeding all over myself and everyone who came into contact with me that night. So annoying, my hands still hurt.
- Celebrated new years in a Spanish style by putting 12 grapes into my mouth, after every second. Very fun..
- Admitting that i liked one of the colleagues I’m with in Sanxiang, Tilde
- Going to a new club, and eating stinky tofu (what the fuck was i thinking? Seriously)
- (I was told this in the morning) All of us, spending 2 hours waiting for a taxi, in the rain.
- Getting back, ordering 2 bowls of fried noodles and getting another 6 beers with Steffan.
- Pissing everyone off till 5 in the morning by waking them up on regular intervals,
- Talking about nazis to my friend Steffan (because he’s German)
That’s my night in a egg shell.
Half of that information was told to me afterwards in the morning.