Monday, June 4, 2012


My first trip to Guangzhou, the former Canton, was relatively uneventful as I slowly get more worn down from the long series of journey I have taken. Though I have been to Shenzhen and Hong Kong in Guangdong, Guangzhou is the first inland city in the province for me to see. As expected, it was quite humid, though very lush and green owing to its valuable location at the mouth of the Pearl River delta. Dim sum was the order of the day, and I had a fantastic chicken soup boiled in a coconut so that the broth (which was only the original coconut juice) was delicately coconut-flavored and the chicken was softly falling off of the bone. In the south, and specifically in Guangdong, breakfast is very important, and chatting for hours over steamed delicacies is the pastime. The din of chatter was significantly greater than in other regions, and felt very much like Chinatowns in Honolulu and San Francisco, from which most Chinese Americans emigrated.

My lectures at Jinan University and Guangdong Foreign Studies University (Guangwai) were to smaller groups of classes, though pleasant. Guangdong is more liberal and open, and that seemed to be reflected in the nature of the questions, more regarding human rights and transparency in government and media in China. In between, I did have the chance to visit the Chen Jia Si (Chen Family Ancestral Hall) which was quite ornate and striking. The collected members of the Chen family built the hall in the late Qing dynasty as a residence for taking the Confucian exams or to honor the legacy of the family. I also hiked part way up Baiyun Mountain, amid of festive atmosphere of local revelry. The mountain park was very green, with tropical plants, bamboo, and peach blossoms, though rather steamy. It was an attractive setting, though my recent visits have been to awe-inspiring sceneries, so Guangdong as expected did not match the beauty of China’s great hinterlands like neighboring Guangxi, or Sichuan or Xinjiang. Glad to have visited, especially its more modern importance as home to Sun Zhongshan (Sun Yatsen) and the Western colonial project.

Next up, Xi’an, former capital, and lastly Tianjin.

1 comment:

  1. Hi James, I am glad you have visited two of the most famous tourism places in Guangzhou. I am a Guangzhou local, studied at Jinan University, and worked at Xi'an last year. I am interested in how foreign visitors view the places in China. Looking forward to your next post about Xi'an.