Nǐ hǎo China

Trip Start Sep 05, 2011
Trip End Nov 07, 2011

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Flag of China  , Guangdong,
Saturday, September 17, 2011

The train from Hong Kong to Guangzhou took only a couple of hours. We travelled just over 100 miles north and crossed the border into mainland China without any problem; we already got our visa's sorted in the UK before we left. We were hoping that it might be a little cooler than in Hong Kong, however it doesn't seem to be, soon we will be cold and probably moaning about that so we shouldn't complain about some warm weather, typical British!

We have met up with Chris & Sally who have been kind enough to let us stay with them in Guangzhou and when we arrived they kindly arranged for us to go on a river cruise that evening. The cruise was really nice; we sat on the top deck in the open air looking at the buildings passing by. Canton Tower looked especially impressive as it continuously changed colours. It was so nice to relax with a few drinks in the warm night sailing down the river.

The next day we went for a 'Dim Sum' breakfast where you select and share a number of small dishes. We tried chicken feet and Mike ate some animal stomach - not sure which animal! We spent the day exploring Guangzhou, which seems to be much quieter than Hong Kong.

The Guangzhou Metro is a lot more crowded than in Hong Kong. Everyone pushes to get on and off, they have little patience! The train ticket is in the form of a plastic coin which is very advanced and eco-friendly compared to England. Apparently China has been trying hard recently to cut back on its carbon emissions.

Today we braved dumplings for breakfast before heading off to see some sights with Chris & Sally. We visited a Chinese meat market where they kill chickens right in front of you! The Chinese like to believe fresh is best and often buy meat in this way. At least it hasn't been sitting on the shelf in Tesco for the past week, haha.

We also visited a traditional Buddhist temple which was fascinating. Chris took us for a Chinese massage in the afternoon, it is incredibly cheap compared to England, only 7 for a full hour! The Chinese are known for their brutal massages and this was no different. They really push their fingers in hard and we might have some bruises in the morning! We all got a bit worried when in broken English they asked us to remove our t-shirts for oil to be applied, Rachel declined quickly! It was a good experience though.

We took a walk round a nearby lake before hiring motorised boats. This was a nice way to relax after a busy day of walking. In the evening we visited 'Shamian Island' which is a tourist area of Guangzhou. The area is full of nice restaurants and hotels for holiday makers. They even have an open air restaurant on the river!

People speak a lot less English here and we have learnt a couple of Chinese words which we are trying out, nothing adventurous just Hello and Thank you. We are also being a little more wild with the food, going to "proper" Chinese restaurants, thanks to the help of Chris and Sally.

Alcohol is amazingly cheap if you do not go to a tourist area. Rachel had a glass of wine for 60p this afternoon. The insect repellent has had to come out of the bag. Rachel has a total of 12 bites which is annoying. Mike has none which is even more annoying. We have three more days left in Guangzhou before we move on into the Chinese countryside!  
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