Friday, March 20, 2009

Over The Mountain Top : Day 3 - Guangzhou

Third day in Guangzhou, and this will be our last day of travelling in this city. A trip to Guangzhou would not be complete if one did not step foot on this place:

Bai Yun Shan (White Cloud Mountain)

One of the highest point in Guangzhou city, this place history backdated to many centuries ago, before Christ era. It was reported that many scholars came to this mountain to write poems. The serene and calm surrounding inspired the scholars to write beautiful poems. Standing high at 382m, it provides a breathtaking view of Guangzhou city from the top.

And this was where we decided to go on our third day of the trip.

One can opt to walk the way up to the mountain, journey taking approximately one and half hour by foot. Scores of people can be seen walking along the pathway leading to the hill top. But as every drop of energy is essential to us, we chose to take a cable car instead, a ride of only fifteen to twenty minutes, cost only RMB25 per ride. To be frank, it was rather shameful to see that our stamina were nowhere near to these healthy people of Guangzhou.



Again, being a typical Chinese city, it was not unusual to see the waves of people on top of the mountain. Just like some of the websites wrote, there were hundreds, if not thousands of people walking all the way from the foothill, coming in droves. As we walked downhill, we saw lots of people walking along too, uphill and downhill alike. The scene was almost similar like Xang Xia Jiu Lu and Beiing Lu; hordes of people littered all over the place! Perhaps it’s due to a Sunday, which explains the presence of a big crowd here.

There were actually more people than what was captured in this photo.

We were greeted by a group of people, approximately hundred of them, singing in the middle of the park. Young and old alike, they were singing song after song. My best guess was that they were from a society having a day out in the park, just like we were.

La la lala la~~

The hill top view would be magnificent, but thanks to the massive pollution and smog, the visibility from hill top was rather poor. Too bad the pollution in the city was bad or otherwise we can see the whole city of Guangzhou. I guess that's the price to pay for the rapid development which took place in this city since the past few decades.

"Spectacular" view hampered by the smog

After spending almost half hour around the top, we proceeded downhill. But this time, we were not going to take the cable car. We were going for an environment friendly way, which was by utilizing our feet. We could face some difficulty if we were to walk up the hill, but walking down would not pose much problem. Plus, there would be more things to be seen if we chose to walk down.


Temple (forgotten the name)

Poem. Too bad, I don't know how to appreciate it due to my Mandarin illiterate background.

And another temple. And a wishing tree to the right

And more temple....

Foot hill

After a walk of almost an hour, we finally reached the bottom. According to my research done before the trip, there was a garden of Sculpture nearby. Alas, we could not locate the place. So, we decided to head back downtown. (We later found out that the garden was located opposite BaiYun Shan, and one needed to go across the busy road).

Our next destination was to The Tomb of King of Nanyue. The tomb of the king was uncovered by mere luck in 1980’s, when there was a construction works ongoing at the same site. The tomb was dated in year 220 BC, which makes it 2200 years old. In this tomb, they found the remains of the king itself, buried together with various artifacts and some human remains, thought to be human sacrifice to accompany the king after-death. When the government found out how big this significant finding was, they put a stop to the construction work. Thank god for that!




By the time we finished the tour around the tomb, it was already 4pm. We were rather tired, so we decided to head back to hostel for a short rest. We had our dinner that night at the hawker stalls nearby our hostel. There were lots of hawkers selling by the roadside, and I tell you, the food were great! We ordered oyster bakar, sotong bakar, cendawan bakar, and some meatballs. Yes, most of the food here were barbequed-style. The food was cheap (oyster bakar sells for only RMB 2 per piece, which is only RM 1 per piece) and the hawkers were never stingy with the ingredients and sauces they put in. Our dinner cost less than RMB20 and that left us full. I decided to have that oyster bakar again later that night, with some Chinese beer. That would be awesome.

Jye Horng decided to retreat for the night, while I lepak lepak at the hostel lobby. One of the reason I chose to stay at these youth hostel is that one can mix around with people from various background. I met a few interesting individuals that night. Tim, an American, was retrenched from Citibank last few months. He decided to head off for a vacation in Asia after getting the compensation. This city was his third city, and before this, he was at Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

After a few rounds of beer session, more and more people joined in our conversation. A few Chinese came to join in, and soon our conversation became multi lingual. They were trying to converse with Tim, while I had to do the translation between Tim and the chinese. Lum Chee Kin was a chef in a restaurant nearby, and he was nice enough to offer us some cookies he made. Ma Bing Cheng was an engineer in another city, and he came to Guangzhou for a holiday with his friends (who later joined us in the conversation). He had wanted to practise his English with Tim but as he can only speak a handful of English, I had to translate his words into English in order for Tim to understand. Lum was a native Cantonese, while Ma speaks Putonghua, so the conversation on our table was a mixture of English, Cantonese and Mandarin.

Met also an Iraqi-British guy (father was an Iraqian, married to a British) who was studying in Beijing (or was it Nanjing?), currently doing Masters in Chinese history and politics. One thing interesting is that this guy can speak Mandarin very well. I have to admit that his ability did really put a dent on my confidence! Imagine a Mat Salleh who can converse in your very own native language much better than you are! God, that’s pretty humiliating I say!

As the night retreated, two of Ma’s friends joined the table. These two can speak really good English which really impressed me. But one of them had some strong American accent, which makes me think that either this guy had studied in US before, or he was trying to imitate the Americans.

Topics we talked that night range from American politics, Obama’s Make-The-Change, US army occupation in Iraq (this is what you get if you threw an American and Iraqi descendent together on the same table), Chinese history, economics, anthropology, love relationship and where-to-visit-in-HK-and-Guangzhou.

An interesting conversation, nice cookies and four bottles of beer later, it was already 3am. It’s a waste as I only managed to striked up the conversation on my last day at the hostel. Went back to sleep as we need to head to another city the next day. By the way, I missed out from tasting the nice juicy oyster bakar that night. Damn!

51 comments:

Mok Ken Loong (Marcus) said...

They say 'Eat at GuangZhou'. Guess must have been trying many nice food there. ^^

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