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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Guangzhou, China 2011 - Part 3

Day 3

The day started out pretty good actually. We woke up early and after a quick breakfast, we quickly set out for… Shenzhen. The route is relatively simple. We take the Guangzhou Metro towards the last stop at Tianhe District. From there we jump on the Guangzhou-Shenzhen intra-city train and for a mere RMB 80, we can take the 45 train ride to Shenzhen.

However, horror of horrors, the one thing which my research did not tell me – foreigners require a passport for identification when buying train tickets to Shenzhen. Obviously without this knowledge, we were stranded there without tickets. My bad. But the group took it well, and we decided to make the best of it. We took the opportunity to have a look around the Tianhe District. There wasn’t much to see on a Monday morning in a business district so we took a walk around JUSCO in Tianhe(couldn’t resist that) and after that we shot a couple of tourist shots with the city’s skyscrapers as the backdrop.

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Lunch was super special! We finally visited China’s largest fast-food chain – the Bruce Lee Kung-Fu shop! The signboards display the words ‘Kung Fu’ in English and some Chinese characters which probably meant the same thing, as well as an artist’s rendition of Master Bruce Lee wearing his iconic yellow jumpsuit as seen in the movie ‘Game of Death’. If you’re wondering, they serve Chinese food + rice. Not even soft drinks, but bubble tea.

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After lunch we headed back to Guangzhou. Joe headed back to the hotel because he wasn’t feeling too well so Jerry, Emily and myself decided to explore the metropolitan city a little further. After making our way in what appeared to be a commercial part of the city, we found one of our pre-determined tourist destinations – The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. Believe it or not, this lovely structure was found smack in between modern commercial buildings, on a sliver of land.

The Sacred Heart Cathedral took 25 years to built, and was extremely problematic.  For one, the all-granite structure had to be constructed without the aid of machinery. Further, the Gothic theme of the Cathedral was alien to the local Chinese workers who were not familiar with such designs or method of construction.

Interesting fact: The superstitious Chinese locals felt that the tall, twin spires of the Cathedral affected the feng shui of the area and detested the structure.

Another interesting fact: The East and West foundation stone has the words, ‘Jerusalem 1863’ and ‘Roma 1863’ respectively inscribed on them. Under the Eastern foundation stone, a brick straight from Jerusalem is buried beneath it, and under the Western foundation stone, a kilogram of earth straight from Rome is buried underneath.

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After buying some souvenirs at the Cathedral, dusk was approaching soon. We continued walking and happily settled for dinner at a quaint little restaurant. I noted that the eating joint probably didn’t receive many foreign visitors since as soon as they realized we were not locals, they almost seemed fascinated by our presence and the fact that we spoke English to each other. As expected in Guangzhou, the food was good and cheap.

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By the time we finished dinner, it was well after dark. Note that in Guangzhou, the sun rises earlier and sets much earlier than what we’re used to in Kuala Lumpur. We paid the bill and left the restaurant, to head towards one of the ports along the iconic Pearl River. Next up, the Pearl River cruise.

Tickets were purchased relatively easily and we were in luck because we didn’t have to wait long for the next boat to come in. We proceeded to board an extremely colorful looking boat, decked-out in neon signs. Garish as hell but entertaining nevertheless. The boat set out in a course which runs for 45 minutes one way, a U-turn, then 45 minutes to get back. Just right I might add, because any longer and it was starting to get really boring. The sights were decent enough of course, but in terms of photography, unless you had a tripod and got the boat to stop getting proper landscapes were a little difficult. And there is also the matter about lighting. But it was a decent enough experience and I was glad to have been there.

After the Pearl River cruise, we took a taxi to the nearby commercial district for a spot of walking and shopping!

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Thank you for viewing! The adventure continues in Part 4... 

For a quick link to the other parts in this Series, kindly click on the hyperlinks below:

For those of you who like statistics:
Vital Stats for September: 6 post 479 pics
Vital Stats So Far: 107 posts 4,342 pics

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1 comment:

  1. What the hell is Manning?!?! Its GUARDIAN!! Freaking Chinese!!!