This is part 2 of my recap of my trip to China…
My sister lives in Guangzhou a city of 10 million people, a two-hour train ride from Hong Kong, bustling with high rise apartments, shopping plazas, chaotic traffic congestion, trees and flowers planted on roadsides, streets full of garage shops and food stalls, located on the Pearl River which is a major southern port for commerce, making the city a major foreign trading community for world markets and export fairs. It’s home to the famous Canton Fair, a twice-a-year expo where foreign corporations go to export merchandise.
On our first full day in Guangzhou, we toured these beautiful botanical gardens, which are right in the middle of a busy business and residential district. Palm trees, hibiscus flowers, azalea bushes, waterfalls, and more. It was surprisingly lush and peaceful.
The next day, my sister took us to an Indian cooking class at a new Indian restaurant recently opened by friends of hers. That was neat because we got to try the dishes as we were making them and we also learned a little about Indian customs.
(the leather/purse market)
The end of that first week was my sister’s turn to host her International Craft Group, which was fun to meet her friends from all over the world who are expats living in Guangzhou. There was knitting, crochet, sashiko, hand quilting, and a lot of chatting. In the afternoon, we went to the wholesale Highsun Fabric Market, which I loved, of course.
For our second weekend in China, we took a road trip to Foshan – old pottery town where ceramics, pottery and tile are produced.
We took a walking tour of Guangzhou with my sister’s International group, where we saw busy streets, alleyways, garage shops, laundry hanging everywhere, and tried traditional dim sum, which is like a Chinese version of appetizers.
(restaurant where we had dim sum)
My sister taught me how to play mahjong. We only had time for one game, so I still have a lot more to learn.
Another day we toured the Pearl Market, the Jade Market, the Antique Market, a pedestrian mall, and Shamian Island, a pristine and peaceful neighborhood where many of the embassies used to be located and where many families adopting babies stay during their transition period.
One day we went on a cultural tour of Guangzhou, which included Yuexiu Park, the Guangzhou Art Museum, lunch at the China Hotel, and a tour of a mausoleum.
(GZ Art Center, which had a beautiful display of Cantonese embroidery)
For our final day in Guangzhou, we toured Qing Ping Market, which is an outdoor market selling bizarre foods (from dried sea horses to star fish, dried frogs to flies, a lot more I didn’t want to know about). We also went back to the Pearl Market, and shopped at IKEA for kitchen goodies for my sister.
My mom and I took the train to Hong Kong to catch our flight home. Speaking of the flight, OMG! Fourteen hours on a plane! We watched four movies, ate three meals, took at least two naps, read a book, played cards, did crossword puzzles, and walked up and down the aisles.
It was worth the pain to see another part of the world and to reunite with my sister and her family! Stay tuned… I have one more post of my favorites from the trip!