GZ to SZ

It was one of those amazing trips that proved I just like challenges : spending your time in a city that almost cannot understand you (well, I’m used to that in PH too), going to the next one – 150 km apart – just with Google Translate in the palm of your hands, rushing through efficient trains  just to be able to make time for a lot of different things and places, and a lot more.

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It was just a year after my first GZ trip and while there’s still so much to culturally explore – traditional temples, preserved museums, etc in this old city which I’l prolly visit next year – my friend Michelle got transferred to Shenzen, which is just a 27-year old city in China . It was not my first time in the latter as I remembered being treated there for traditional medicine when I was like 10 years old. There’s just so much development now in that city that’s referred now as a “tech center” in China, and one of the fastest-growing cities.

The first few days were spent in Guangzhou. We didn’t live in Beijing Lu ( a famous shopping destination), but the sight of the Pearl River which I got to really see this time was enough for quite some time.

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The Pearl River

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Haizhu Square

Few snaps of my fav places in Guangzhou that i revisited..

Aside from shopping, most of the time really was spent on commuting and learning the system and I wanna talk about this more in this blog post because I think that’s important when you travel in this city. GZ is big and there’s so much to explore (and buy too!) so if you’re up for those experiences but with a tight budget and time, one must really learn the metro. I personally think that while the GZ metro map can help you, it’s much easier to learn it by experience  (call a friend who is living there and who can speak your language too and let him or her walk you through), especially when you’re coming from a country that doesn’t have 4-5 exits per station or more than 3 lines. It was just my second time to take the train but i still had a difficult time especially because of the language barrier, despite how high-tech already their trains and ticket machines are. Those will be positively charged to experience.

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I was really scared when i decided to leave my mom and commute by myself from GZ to Shenzen at night to meet my friend Michelle. I don’t know how to speak their language and the signs and environment seemed overwhelming but I guess I just had to overcome it (just a feeling! haha) especially when you have a very loving and overprotective mother LOL

I arrived at Shenzhen at night (see picture below), thanks to Michelle and her boyfriend Anton for fetching me (because really, I had a bad experience with cab drivers not understanding any of my languages, signs and even the internet’s). I must say that despite all these being lost in translation, they’re very nice and friendly to travellers!

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Michelle lives at Shenzhen East (near Tianji station) and it’s 14 stations from CRH station but the trip is really fast. The train system in the city is also efficient as GZ’s so exploring this one is recommendable via this way.

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Not a fan of this green burger!

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Tunnels

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They have yummy seafood here!

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Fire trees!!

We went to the Happiness Tree Cafe which had amazing instagrammable interiors, and good food as well.

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It was so nice catching up with Michelle. So much has happened since my trip last year. We were just discussing my plans then for Digify then months after, we got to work with each other and now we’re here! She also got promoted in Baidu and I’m so proud of her!!

We then went to a temple and museum called Chiwan Tianhou Temple, located in Nanshan District (near Sea World!0, which can be accessed via train or bus. Entrance is just 15 RMB and it’s worth the commute because of the history of the palace temple.

It is said that the first temple was completed on this site in 1410 when the famois admiral-eunuch Zheng commissioned by emperor Zhu Di to “sail west.” “Reaching the Pearl River Delta near Chiwan, the fleet encountered a storm and was enabled to carry on. Tian Hou appeared to the emperor, saying it was she that saved the fleet, and that the emperor was to built a temple near the site to show his thanks. Thus the temple was built, and the Wish-Giving Tree in the courtyard (or perhaps its ancestor?) was planted by Zhang He and his staff.
The temple has since been destroyed and rebuilt several times, most recently by the Shenzhen Municipal Government in the 1990’s.” (http://mi-le-fo.thetempleguy.com/temples/SZ0002.html)

I haven’t been to a lot of temples but this is one of the oldest and biggest in the city (and Hong Kong) and I found it beautiful and well taken care of. See all parts of the temple here.

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After our visit here, I travelled back to GZ just for a few hours (already got the hang of it yey!) and I thought I was so ready for more adventures in the next trips! I must say I really felt accomplished and happy doing this!

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Some of my friends will be back to visit a beach in Shenzen, and cross to Hong Kong. That sounds fun and challenging, right? =)

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Flashing GZ China

Known as the economic, trading and cultural center of Guangdong province of Southern China, Guangzhou is a very prosperous city which amazed me with its strengths and opportunities. It was not my first time to go to Guangzhou. When I was a kid, my mom took me to Hong Kong and I remembered our short trip to the busy city of Schenzen, Guangzhou, China, which was just a few hours away from the former. A few weeks ago, nonetheless, I was able to explore it more and its key destinations even if I was just riding on my mom’s trip hehe. See my photo diary below:

Guangzhou is located on the Pearl River which is in sight almost everywhere (I took the picture above in our hotel in Beijing Lu which I’ll tell more about later on). The colorful bridges at night can also be seen. At day, nonetheless, the yellowish river is very prominent in contrast with the bluish-gray colors of the condo’s and buildings.

View of the Canton Tower

During my first day, I remembered that one fellow blogger, co-worker and former batch mate in Ateneo, Michelle, has been working as an expat in the country. She told me that she would tour me to the Zhujiang New Town, which is definitely the most beautiful part of the city. It has the combination of the tallest and busiest buildings, cultural centers, fancy clubs, bars and restaurants, and tourist attractions.

It was a very cloudy night. The sunset at Guangzhou is quite delayed and the day is quite longer, which makes one feel very productive. I arrived the Zhujiang via train at around 8pm together with my cousin to meet Mich and Anton, who took time after work to tour us. Thanks both!!!

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Cantonese library and musuem

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Their theatre which really looks good!

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A view of the Canton tower and my dramatic self haha

I really liked the fact that there is that modern feel – structures and the flashing lights – but the identity and remains housed in the cultural centers present there contrasted the tall corporate buildings. But then I am reminded that most condominiums there are not owned by the people.

After the tour, we walked to the nearest bar in Zhujiang New Town which is called The Tavern Sports Bar. The interiors and feels are really nice and vintage, with amazing food and drinks that are quite costly but the servings are really big! This is where most expats go to unwind and chill.

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Playing a sport I used to master when I was a kid! haha

This was one of the nights where I left without my mom and her interpreter but it’s quite hard to communicate in English with people in the city. I was supposed to have a date (thanks to Tinder haha) but ever since day 1, we were having hard time talking to cab drivers/ people around and even showing them pictures with English text (like places in google maps) so I was really not sure about going out by myself. A friend told me that it’s helpful to have a translator app on your device =)

As we roamed around the city, the most convenient and efficient (and effective also for those who can’t read and speak the language) way is through the Guangzhou Metro train which would let you access lots of major urban areas in the city through lines 1-8. My friend told me that their transportation system is really good and effective which she had considered before working there. Same as the airport, their public places are well-organized, clean and not so populated (I hope we have this in the Philippines!!)

Supposedly a candid photo (well it as haha) taken by my cousin. People look at me differently here. hmmm…

The other days were spent accompanying my mom and her partner canvassing some materials and goods. China, especially Guangzhou, has almost everything that can be made and bought such that they’re called cities: Bags City, Cosmetics City, Wedding City, etc. I tried buying some for myself but unlike Bangkok, here, they focus on wholesalers who search for volume and lower prices. I had the chance to check on some raw materials and suppliers for cosmetics like lashes, skin care, bottles, etc and gosh, if I’m not considering the competitive beauty industry locally, I would definitely build a business right there on.

We went also to suburban areas in Guangdong where trading and goods are cheaper.

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I saw these lychees which are really good and in season!

While going to the province, we saw this nuclear power plant at Yangjiang! Guangdong has lots of major nuclear and renewable power plants that operate the busy city.

Last few days I spent touring Beijing Lu, known as the shopping center of Guangzhou, which is where we were staying. “It has absolutely everything; cheap clothes, good food and even a little history. There is a display of the original road from the song dynasty (960 – 1279 A.D).

And it was really heaven for people who want to shop! I could compare it to Divisoria and Platinum Mall of Thailand but this  covers almost the whole urban area with street markets, malls, shopping/export centers, etc. We went to Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street which is the most prosperous business center in Guanzhou. I was able to buy clothes, makeup (lashes!!!), and some shoes – they would require MOQ of around 2-5 so I had advanced gifts for the holidays hehe. To bargain prices, it would be nice if you can speak Chinese (Cantonese or Mandarin). Below would show sample of items I bought!

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#OOTD of items I bought at the centers. Taken at the Beijing Lu Walking Street

The nearest I could go to just by walking is the Beijing Lu Walking Street which is a more modern and international shopping center or area (couldn’t call it a mall, because there big malls located also here) . It’s flocked by Chinese people who would go to restaurants and stores, tourists and expats.

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We liked walking around because the lights are cool and feel is lively. There are different food options (including international ones) and lots of stores (even global brands on sale!!)

We ate twice at this local Vietnamese restaurant that’s really famous and jampacked always! i really liked their food and for it’s price which is Ok, I’m contented!

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Lastly, I visited a “department store”  with around 5 floors, in Beijing Lu Walking Street. For me, this is already a mall haha. The first level houses famous dept store brands mixed with luxury labels – that’s how complete it is!!! Of course that visit took me 1-2 hours haha.

Overall, I liked Guangzhou for all the good things I mentioned. I just hoped I could speak a bit of Mandarin so i could ride cabs and talk to sales ladies and bargain. When i go back for some serious shopping or potentially, a business, I should be able to at least say a few phrases or words! =)

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