I can’t remember exactly where we stayed in Guangzhou, but it probably looks different now anyway, because it was mostly under construction at the time – probably why it was affordable. The hotel was nearly empty and so were most of the buildings round about, including a brand new shopping mall, but there was a Shanghai Metro station nearby, so it was possible to get around fairly easily, if a little uncomfortably because of the crowded trains and stations.

In the evenings, we went to the Zhujiang New City area, in Tianhe District, which was basically a business area, but with several international bars and restaurants, and even an “Irish pub” showing Australian rugby on multiple screens. Fortunately, the Guinness was just fine.
We did manage to avoid the most American of the venues (offering basketball and American Football (aka armoured rugby)), and even found a French restaurant run by a Frenchwoman, where the food seemed pretty authentic. On my own, I would probably have gone native, but that wasn’t to be. In fact, I really didn’t see many opportunities for that, since most of the Guangzhou business folk seemed to like to try the more exotic options available, despite – or possibly even because of – the higher prices.

Yuexiu Park

This is a large, and quite hilly city park, built on one of the various steep ridges that cut across the Zhuijiang river valley and through Guangzhou proper. There are carnival rides, boating lakes, formal gardens, a stadium (which used to be home to Guangzhou City FC, then Guangzhou FC), a number of gallery buildings belonging to the Guangzhou City Museum, and the Sun Yat-sen Monument (not to be confused with the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, which is lower down; it’s quite a climb to the monument).

Guangzhou’s famous Five Rams Sculpture is located atop Yuexiu Hill. It was built in 1960.

The park was not too busy when we were there, trying to do the high places before it became too hot to climb, but is normally pretty crowded.

Chen Clan Ancestral Hall – Folk Craft Museum

Another day, I wandered off on my own to this absolute gem.

The buildings here are famous for their decorations, such as the brick carvings of historic figures. The temple also functions as a museum under the auspices of Guangdong Folk Arts Museum, exhibiting a variety of folk arts and crafts.

I had never seen so much decoration on any buildings before (I would again later, in Cambodia), and thought it was deliciously over the top. I took too many photos again, of which the above are only a small selection, but there was just so much of it worth the effort. Not to be missed, if you find yourself in Guangzhou.

Shamian Island

Shamian Island, connected to mainland Guangzhou by a bridge, was the area where foreign embassies were built in Guangzhou, and it is now a major tourist attraction, because of its mostly European architecture, although it is also popular with locals for dancing and exercise. We had a walk around, looking for an interesting place to eat, but wound up back on the mainland, because places were not yet open or too expensive.

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