Part of the work that I do is to travel from time to time, whether it's to learn about the latest in TETRA technology or the latest cancer cures, I'll be there, sit in conferences, do interviews, and of course, take pictures. On a recent trip to Guangzhou, I was fortunate enough to squeeze in some bit of exploring and enjoyed this less-popular Chinese city for the first time.
Before I proceed, let me just say that I used CamScanner to upload my Instax Mini photos, some turned out normal while some turned out weird. Argh…technology fails me sometimes. Anyway, bear with me and don’t worry, I didn’t use any photo apps like Instagram for these. (So frustrating >_<)
Before going on this trip, Contagion was already showing in cinemas, and my friend Kat was like, “No, don’t watch it!” As I’m always too tired or too pressed for time to actually sit in a cinema to watch a full-length movie, I never did get the chance to see it although I pretty much had an inkling on why she didn’t want me to see it before my trip. She didn’t want it to spoil my expectations of Guangzhou.
To be honest, my expectations weren’t really that high. I’ve already been there before but only to catch a train headed to Shanghai and to be honest, it was just like any other “Mainland city” for me so I didn’t really psyched myself up for this trip, I only intended to do some work.
For this trip we took a China Southern flight, which was “bumpy” – I have no other words to describe it! It was so bumpy that one Chinese passenger even got up and pleaded with the flight attendants to let him stand for awhile because he was getting even more scared just strapped onto his seat. How did I understand that? Well, I was sitting beside our interpreter. ;) It was actually scary but what else could I do but to stay calm and pray for the best. (On a “redeeming note”, the flight back was a-okay!)
We actually had just one free day allotted for us, and whatever “free time” we had to enjoy was whatever was left in between lectures, “special dinners”, and other group activities. On our first day, we were able to visit Baiyun Mountain (also known as White Cloud Mountain), however, our “tour guide” took us to the other entrance of the attraction where it’s more of steep staircases leading far, far up. He said, “I thought you guys wanted to get some exercise,” when we wondered why the heck did he bring us there instead of the more touristy side (with the cable cars etc.) So if you’re planning to go to Baiyun Mountain, you know your options.
Next we headed to Beijing Road (also known as Beijing Lu or Peking Lu), locals prefer that you say “lu” instead of “road”, it’ll be easier to ask about it this way. It’s a long, long pedestrian shopping road. Yes, shopping road! In case you’re wondering, I’m actually an expert impulse shopper as well. Ahem ahem…haha so I was thrilled when we got to this place and saw the seemingly endless line of shops – of course there are a lot of restaurants, food stalls etc. there too so it’s a must-visit for any visitor. Given that I won’t be having much free time in Guangzhou, I made it a point to finish off buying gifts for my friends and family then and there. Giordano is always a popular choice when visiting Chinese cities, there’s also Baleno and some other brands but what’s even better is that it has outlet shops as well so you can expect great bargains. If you enjoy the “art of haggling” there’s also a market-type of shopping area in Beijing Road where you can haggle all you want for all sorts of goods.
As a “special treat” our host brought us to this restaurant at the top floor of a mall in Beijing Road, I forgot its name but it looks pretty fancy once you get inside. Our host ordered a bunch of local delicacies including this plate of boiled innards and sweet potato, which is supposed to be dipped into this bland soup so that the meat would soften. Eating intestines etc. is not really new to me and I’ve always been scolded for eating pig and chicken intestines because my mom thinks its “dirty” but I wasn’t feeling it that time so good thing there’s always beef hofan and the desserts were yummy as well. The only other thing that I had trouble with is that they kept serving hot water or tea, and when you’re from a tropical country, that’s weird, but our interpreter said it’s just their practice because it prevents people from getting fat from the cholesterol etc. that’s in the food. Okay then. After a few more days I actually got used to it.
After a long day out, we then went back to our hotel Donlord International to get some rest for a week filled with cancer-related activities.
PS. Sorry for the photos, I used an expired Instax film that my friend Diwi (skyphos) and I found at this thrift store. Five packs of film for only $4! Never mind that it’s been expired since 2005, it still produces photos albeit dark hehehe…;p
The Fuji Instax Mini 25 allows you to shoot sharp images from up to 35cm away with its close-up lens. This beauty has intelligent flash, a motorized 3-position collapsible lens, and uses wallet-sized Fuji Instax Mini film. Check it out with the rest of our Instant cameras here!