Mar 28, 2010

Welcome to Guangzhou

The very first we did in our first morning in Guangzhou was.. well, shower and have snack as breakfast. But I mean after that, we got out as early as we could to see the city center by Metro, that’s what they call the subway intercity train system. Our hotel, Guangzhou Shanshui Trends Hotel, is located exactly next to the East Railway Station. We had things quite easy, it feels like the city was saying "Hello, Welcome to Guangzhou!"

Shanshui Trends Hotel, the main entrance and lobby

Finding Metro

However, it took us a while to even find the Metro within the station. Like usual, we asked and asked and asked, but the language barrier remained a problem. After asking 315 people, including an officer who sat behind a counter that says “English-Speaking Counter” but answered us in Chinese, we finally found the stairs down to the Metro. So, after you walk in the Entrance, turn right, and then you’ll see stairs on your left. Go down there, and you’ll find ticket booths and finally the train platforms. Phew!

Automatic ticket machine... all writings in Chinese!

We bought tickets to Changsoulu Station which cost us RMB 4 / pax. We wanted to check out the Xia Jiu Street to check out its old buildings, as told in the internet. I was holding a Guangzhou map while sitting in the Metro next to Renny, and we were discussing about where to get off etc, when suddenly an old man that stood in front of us asked us where we were going, and he spoke in Indonesia. Hey!

Uncle Leo, as later we called him, was having a stroll with his wife, Aunt Ani. Apparently they have a daughter who lives in Guangzhou with her husband and kid, and they were visiting the little family since the Chinese New Year, which was about 10 days before that.

Me and Uncle Leo


We ended up spending the day with the kind couple who knew Guangzhou by heart. It was great because it was like we had a free guided tour. I even put my city map to rest for the day.

Xia Jiu Lu

Getting off at Changshoulu station and walked about 5 minutes to Xia Jiu direction, we got to a sidewalk diner that serves Uncle Leo and Aunt Ani’s favorite food.

** Lu means street or road **

--> Um.. darn.. I took too little notes on this trip.. I forgot what the dish is called. But here’s a peek of our lunch then, paid by our dear hosts.

After that, it was time for the old buildings sightseeing.. and of course shopping. Wow, the whole street exclusively for shoppers! No vehicles allowed, not even bicycles.

Sale and discount signs everywhere, almost in every store! I guess they’re getting rid of the Winter collection because Spring was coming near. Well, lucky us! A lot of the clothes were indeed cheap.

But unfortunately, some weren’t right for us because they were too wintry, not suitable to be worn in the tropical country of Indonesia, especially that we live in the hot hot hot Jakarta.

A tired lady in her stationery booth

Afternoon tea time with.. Gandhi?

This snack seller guy certainly got people's attention
with his rooster in the middle of the street

Jade Hunting

I’ve received jade bracelets and pendants as gifts from people who just visited China (including from Yanwen about 16 yrs ago when her Dad went to China for a while). That’s because jade is the gem of China, I guess. And so I wanted to get some jade for my friends back home.

Uncle Leo took us to this jade market not far from the Xia Jiu Street. Oh boy, are they expensive or what. Thousands and ten thousands of RMB jade small statues and jewelries are available there. Man, I didn’t even dare to touch them, I was afraid I might drop and break them or sumthin.

The way they are displayed,
I wouldn't have thought the prices are so high


Then, Uncle Leo took us to an area where there are much more affordable gems available. Here is the thing with being guided rather than finding my own route: I don’t take much notice on the streets’ names, the directions, etc; I just followed along and now I can’t give you much detailed info.

Anyway, Uncle Leo took us to a store whose owner he knew well. So we bought some bracelets made of various gems for discounted prices. The average price per bracelet was RMB 8, but you’d be paying way more if you didn’t go there with Uncle Leo. Or with anyone who’s a good friend of the shop owner.

"How many bracelets should I buy?"

Antique Shop

One of my main quests in this whole trip was to get a nice little figurine to add to my collection at home. So I was so happy to get this little God of Money statuette in an antique shop for RMB 200.

The antique store


There were actually a lot of options but I had to get the small one because I had to consider the baggage weight limit on our way back home. And it was priced about RMB 400 in the beginning, but thanks to Uncle Leo I got it for half the price! Yay!! Uncle Leo, you’re the best! ^_^

Beijing Lu

Next stop: the famous street for shopping. Again?? Yes, again. To get to this street called Beijing Lu, we took the Metro and got off at Gongyuanqian station, then walked through Zhongshan Wu Lu,...

Cherry blossom decoratin on Zhongshan Wu Lu sidewalk

A muslim food seller who got a privilege to do business
on the sidewalk because they're considered as minors


...then turn right to Beijing Lu, a paved pedestrian walk walled with shops on both sides.

They loooove lotteries...!
This booth is right in the middle
of Beijing Lu pavement road

Nope, not exactly the famous Crocodile


There was a little problem before we got there. Aunt Ani missed the Gongyuanqian stop. At first, Uncle Leo was sure that she’d get her way to meet us again in no time, but after a while Renny and I could see how worried he was. She didn’t bring a mobile, so he couldn’t track where she was. He left messages to their daughter at home just in case she called home or decided to just go home. Uncle Leo insisted us to continue with him checking out the People’s Park (right next to an exit of the Gongyuanqian station) and then went on our shopping trip at Beijing Lu.

We still saw a worried look on his face, but then surprisingly Aunt Ani showed up! She’s been sitting and waiting for us for a while on Beijing Lu, and it was obvious how happy and relieved her husband was… That was so sweet ^_^

We shopped ‘til dark. Discount was almost in every store, and I loved the pretty lantern decorations hanging at the trees. Again, I got pretty exhausted by walking all day long and carrying my sling bag and shopping bags.

--> Then, it was time to go back. Our new friends Unce Leo and his wife took the same Metro line with us, but we got off a few stops ahead of them at Tiyu Xilu, and then changed line to the Guangzhou Dongzhan (that’s the Guangzhou East Railway Station). We couldn’t be more grateful to their kindness, and we promised to send them our pictures with them when we’re back in Jakarta :)

Bruce Lee the legend

Hunger struck. And I was curious about the fast food restaurant next to our hotel which has Bruce Lee the kung fu master as their icon. Not that I’m a big fan or anything, but the restaurant’s strategy to sell using the fact that he’s a legend… well… I bought it :D

--> Because we had eaten some stick of seafood at a stall at the end of Beijing Lu, here we just had some light dish consisted of vegetables and chicken with spicy and very salty sauce. Renny didn’t enjoy it very much, but it was not that bad for my liking. I kinda have a broad tolerance for food taste, I guess :P
Repacking and repacking before hitting the bed


  1. hahaha
    the lunch dish you ate is called juu chueng fun. they are yummy. hehe. i am glad you had a tour guide for guangzhou. Some of the street names I actually still remember!
    And i gave you a piece of jade?! i can reassure you it's not those super expensive ones, haha...

  2. yes, you did say that it wasn't the expensive one you gave me.. hahaha.. that's alright, I really liked it! :)

  3. hate the repacking but love the trip... :)

    btw, thank God we came across uncle Leo and aunty Ani. if not, the trip would be that succesful.