Guangzhou highlights.

Having not been to China for nearly three years, I have almost forgotten how phenomenal and interesting the country is. Last weekend, I was in Guangzhou and was reminded exactly that. Although it isn’t the most picturesque of all places, the capital of Guangdong province boasted itself as a key national transportation hub and trading port. In shopaholic terms, this means that it is the wholesale market of the world!

I can see why though. Buildings and buildings of wholesale markets selling everything from clothes to jewellery to toy cockroaches… However, since I’m not exactly big on shopping, I tried to spot what other things Guangzhou was made of. Here are some highlights of my four-day visit.

First up, as always, the food. I love Cantonese food. Dim sum is the obvious choice but there is so much more to Cantonese food than just that. We had this awesome fishball stuffed with crab roe just across the street from our apartment. It was delicious.

Photo and bite enlarged to show texture.
Photo and bite enlarged to show texture.

Although, to be frank, the plane food that I had on my Singapore Airlines flight was not too bad either.

I get ridiculously excited over plane food.
I get ridiculously excited over plane food.

To start off our trip, we visited the Canton Fair, which was held at the humongous Canton Fair Complex.

One of the MANY buildings at the complex. Walking around one level takes up pretty much the whole day.
One of the MANY buildings at the complex. Walking around one level takes up pretty much the whole day.

I guess it makes sense that the site is so cavernous since the Fair serves as a one-stop shop for anything that you can import and export. Like clothes, food and beverages, or even this gold-coated massage chair that looks like something Tony Stark designed to go along with his Iron Man costume.

Clearly, I wasn't the only one staring.
Clearly, I wasn’t the only one staring.

This is perhaps where new and hip chat languages may be born. I may just start to pick up some of these in my daily conversations. Like, “Oh I gotta go. HAND!”

guangzhou3No visit to China is ever complete without Chinglish spotting. Here is one that I spotted at the Expo, although I think it is rather mild and looks like something straight out of Google Translate.

guangzhou5
I think what they are trying to say is “Official meal supplier for the Asian Games”.

While we are back in the topic of food, this chocolate thick toast is to die for. It came with generous serving of ice cream and the toast was crispy outside but soft and juicy with honey inside. You can find them at Charme restaurant at the top floor of Tian He City Mall.

guangzhou7

As excellent as the food in Guangzhou was, people were not lining up early in the morning for that.

guangzhou9
At first I thought they stood for hours before an excellent restaurant opens.

Instead, this is what they were queuing for.

Mannings sale.
Mannings sale.

To be fair, it is better than Singaporeans who spent hours queuing for Hello Kitty Happy Meal toys and even got into a fight over the mouthless fictional cat character.

In fact, they are not just better than Singaporeans. The Chinese are pretty cool people if you think about it. They can make everything out of anything, like if you don’t have a pen and paper to write down your thoughts, just use the pedestrian walkway and convert it into your very own personal diary. I think the title of this entry is ‘My Misery’.

I think one of the lines say: "It is pretty difficult to find a girlfriend in the village." Miserable life, indeed.
I’m pretty sure one of the lines says: “It is pretty difficult to find a girlfriend in the village.” Miserable life, indeed.

Another cool thing that I found was this world map made of the country names, spotted at a cosy and cool cafe at a bookshop called unBook Cafe located at the start of Beijing Lu.

guangzhou11

Granted, there is always a line between what is cool and what is… weird. I can’t decide how I feel about this luxurious karaoke place…guangzhou12Which keeps sharks as pets. Apparently they have feeding sessions for people to watch how these hungry sharks snatched their food from one another or eat poor unsuspecting small fish that were about to become their scrumptious dinner.

guangzhou13

Although I’m not exactly fond of shopping, I would be lying if I say that I didn’t shop at all. With the many buildings and every nook and croner covered with shops, it is hard not to be tempted by anything. I officially declare this my best buy from Guangzhou.

The Union Jack briefcase that took up half of my suitcase.
The Union Jack vintage briefcase that took up half of my suitcase.

Having said all that, the people are what make China distinctively… Chinese. We were “lucky” enough to travel there during the 1st of May Labour Day holiday, which meant that the whole of 1 billion Chinese population seemed to be on holiday and were out and about. The sheer number of people were overwhelming, but I suppose you can’t find an endless stream of people for miles and miles from morning till night anywhere else.

guangzhou15 guangzhou16

What can I say? After all, it’s the PEOPLE’s Republic of China!

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