China, Photo Friday

Photo Friday #9: China

August 20, 2010

A world away

A world away

In Guangzhou, China, on the other side of a tangle of flyovers and the concrete mess of subway station renovations in preparation for the Asian Games, is Shamian Island, a peaceful enclave full of colonial buildings on the Pearl River. It was the only place I made an effort to visit during my unexpected time in Guangzhou (the hostel’s tourist information unfairly stated that if you wanted culture or history, you’d come to the wrong city).

I’d read that Shamian is the address of choice for westerners staying in the country to adopt Chinese babies. Sure enough, the island was full of western families and their new children. It was also packed with Chinese couples having wedding photos taken.

I sat in a park overlooking the river and watched groups singing, men performing tai chi moves and one couple practicing ballroom dance moves incredibly seriously. After a while, I realised that as I was watching people, they were watching me – in fact, one man even stopped his son right in front of me to point me out.

Click the image to see it full size.

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  • Reply Michael August 22, 2010 at 2:59 am

    Interesting. I didn't know about the Asian Games being in China this year. Maybe I'll check it out. I'm super excited for China.

    • Reply Megan August 23, 2010 at 9:06 am

      If you do go, make sure you have your passport on you at all times! The hostel staff reiterated to guests several times a day that police were performing frequent random checks, and the police themselves showed up during my stay to remind everyone to carry their passports with them, or expect an on-the-spot fine…it was all very odd!!

      • Reply Michael August 23, 2010 at 2:46 pm

        Having been to China before, I never had any issues with this. I would usually carry a printed copy of my passport in my wallet. I don't like carrying my passport around just in case. I usually lock it up back I'm staying. I was only there a month compared to ten months that'll I'll be staying there for now.

        • Reply Megan August 24, 2010 at 10:36 pm

          Yeah, it was very strange. It was the only place so far that I've come across something like that – and it was made even weirder by the police themselves turning up at the hostel to remind everyone! Like you, I typically carry a copy, unless there's no secure storage where I'm staying.

          I spoke to a girl who was moving to Guangzhou and she said that she wasn't going to carry hers every day for a year – that would just be ridiculous! Surely if you've got a copy of it, that should be okay.

  • Reply Suzy Lounge Bar October 7, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Great shot! The river looks very relaxing, it makes me want to visit China.

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