Oh, Ah, Canton…Yar

Totally deflated after coming from the tropical heat of Hăinán, back into the bitter cold of Kūnmíng, we have decided to abandon the trip into Northern Yúnnán and Sicuan due to bad weather at this time of year. The Tibetan areas will have to wait for another day, as will Shangri la, that’s if it exists anyway. My dream of opening up a bookys in China is now on hold, just as well, the Chinese don’t like Tibet…

While departing Kūnmíng we did get to see one last homeless dwarf at the train station. No wonder the Kingdom was such a shambles, as it seems they’ve paid some of their employees off around the festive period…

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Knowing it was my last long distance train on China still couldn’t suppress my boredom

Guangzhōu, formally known as Canton, is China’s third largest city and during the Chinese new year, it sees the world’s largest human migration. While travelling China we have been avoiding bars. Some shops sell beer and have a few tables and chairs outside. One in particular is nicely located underneath the bypass and draws in a mixed crowd, from drunken old men night capping to young students enjoying their first illegal drink. The night was spent eating peanuts and getting drunk at the ‘mother and son grocery shop’…

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One of the dwarves followed us all the way from Kunming!

Shamian Island, literally meaning ‘sandy surface’ in Chinese, was once a shared British and French concession. The tree lined streets are a subtle reminder of European colonialism.

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French Church

The Southern provinces of China and Northern Vietnam, was once an ancient kingdom known by the name of Nanyue. In 1983 when the government were reducing the earth to build new apartments, they stumbled across the tomb of Nanyue king Zhou Mo dating back to 122 BC. As well as old man Mo’s remains, the tomb contained hundreds of plates, weapons and other numerous junk items that the King had taken to the grave. It turned out to be one giant Blue Peter time capsule, as later, a sample of Anthea Turner’s extremely fuzzy hair was also discovered…

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The King’s Jade Burial Suit

Stumbled across Dr Sun Yat-sen’s memorial hall. Yat-sen was the first president of the republic of China and is often referred to as ‘the father of the nation’. Unheard of by a lot of people outside of China and normally overshadowed by the popularity of, erm… the M word…

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Yat-sen featured on the front of the old 100 Yuan note

The final days of our time in mainland China were spent in Phoenix city, just outside of Guangzhōu. A new city less than 10 years old and booming centre for real estate, the city is an alarming reminder of just how fast China is growing. And so that drew an end to our time in China, but like the phoenix, we’ll return. As the east and west are slowly blending together, let’s hope China doesn’t outgrow the inner beauty that as time goes by, will be harder to find. Until next time China, hoí tói jìan!

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Fenghuang Monument at the Entrance to Phoenix City

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One thought on “Oh, Ah, Canton…Yar

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