Guangzhou and Hong Kong

Took a sleeper bus from Xiamen to Guangzhou. Three rows of bunks in two levels, feet facing towards the front of the car, 36 bunks in all, about 50cm wide and maybe 185 long, so not quite long enough for me. But i slept well enough. There was a toilet too but it was filthy. Towards morning the whole bus stank pretty bad.

Spent two days in Guangzhou in the end, trying to heal my bronchitis (thats what it turned out to be, when i went to see a doctor in Hong Kong, a few days later).

Guangzhou has the biggest urban park in China. It is big, 90 square km. Also a pretty big art museum, that had an exhibition of, guess what, chinese contemporary art, which was again not very interesting (see some photos below).

At the guangzhou food market you can find lots of live things: scorpions and other insects, turtles, dogs, birds, etc. Parts of exotic dead animals are also sold: tiger paws, teeth and penises, rhino horns, etc.

After two days took a bus to Hong Kong. The ride takes about 3 hours. There really is no countryside between Guangzhou and Shenzen at the Hong Kong border, urban areas all the way, but funnily enough, after the border the road goes through green mountains and forests for quite a while before reaching any urban areas.  The border has full formalities, foreigners getting an exit stamp from China. Seems to be almost as closed as it was 10 years ago.

As most budget travelers, i’m staying at what Time magazine calls the best example of  globalization in action (in Asia), the Chunking Mansions, that is. A very nice place. I got a bed for 5,5 euros a night, so about the same price as in Shanghai or Beijing. But with way lower standards. It’s OK if you don’t mind a few cockroaches in the toilet.

Walking around Central on sunday I run into a couple of thousand filipino women having a picnic on the overpasses around Exchange square. It turns out that they are maids working in Hong Kong, spending their day off like that. In addition to the filipinos, there are people from every other place in the world too. 

Some parts of the city seem to be from 22nd century, and others from eighties Hong Kong cinema, especially Mongkok. Shops  compete in extending their signs as far from the building wall as possible.  

Food and local transport is 3-4 times as expensive as on the mainland. There’s more variation in the cheap(ish) food than in Chinese cities so far: a lot of fairly cheap curry,  african and middle eastern food in Chunking Mansions. Thats nice after eating chinese for over a month. Electronics and camera equipment are really cheap. So, i gave in to gearheadism and got a new lens. The price was about half of what you’d pay at home.

I really like this city.

There were big fireworks for the national day. But people didn’t seem to be too thrilled about it otherwise. Someone said that “Hong Kong people don’t traditionally celebrate the National Day. Traditionally we organise demonstrations.” As expected, the chinese tourist are on the move, and some come to Hong Kong too. According to a local paper, half a million people crossed the border to Hong Kong on the 1st of october.

Went to see a doctor at the Hon Kong Central Hospital (a private one), which was pleasant. The SARS epidemic is still not that far back: all the nurses and doctors wear face masks. Paid 41 euros for a consultation, chest X-ray, and antibiotics and other drugs.

There’s way more nature in Hong Kong than i expected. From Kowloon it takes about 30 minutes with the metro and a bus through green mountain and forests to Shek O, a small village with a nice beach which is quite empty on weekdays. Lots of other beaches  and trails through forests are available. I’m not in hiking mood now, though.

A few more days here, then back to mainland. 

photos from Thursday, October 4th 2007
Central Honk Kong seen from Kowloon A beach in Sek O, Hong Kong
photos from Wednesday, October 3rd 2007
Chungking Mansions 1 Chungking Mansions 2 Chungking Mansions, main entrance a park in Mongkok Mongkok food in Mongkok Mongkok 2 2 hour hotel and foot massage Mongkok 3 Mongkok 5 Mongkok 4 Mongkok 6 Mongkok 7 A mall in Mongkok
photos from Monday, October 1st 2007
waiting for the national day fireworks
photos from Sunday, September 30th 2007
sunday in Central sunday in Central 3 sunday in Central 2 overpass overpass 2 ... Filipino maids on their sunday picnic overpass 3 sunday in Central 4 escalator to midlevels sunday in Central 5 escalator to midlevels 2
photos from Friday, September 28th 2007
guangzhou food renmin park, guangzhou bicycle repair fur ??? art in guangzhou art in guangzhou 2 art in guangzhou 3
photos from Thursday, September 27th 2007
a park in guangzhou 4 goats a park in guangzhou 2 Mr. tiger has lost its paws to Chinese medicine

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  1. From Massage Therapy Talk » Blog Archive » Guangzhou and Hong Kong on 04 Oct 2007 at 16:20

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