广州 / Canton

I’m going to blast through the past week and give you the quick summary of what I’ve been up to. The daily posts I did while in Hong Kong and Seoul last year took a lot of work, and it isn’t something I could maintain for three weeks on the road. However, these brief comments don’t mean the places I’ve been recently weren’t interesting. Quite the contrary.

I spent five days last week visiting friends and the sights of Guangzhou. I already told you about visiting to see the Diaolou in the nearby city of Kaiping. Now for the quick rundown on Guangzhou (formerly known as Canton) itself.

It turns out I have a lot of friends in Guangzhou, despite the fact that I’ve never been there before. Some are friends of friends, a friend I’ve known for a few years who recently moved home to Guangzhou, and then some university students I met a few weeks ago while travelling in Guilin. As a result, I was accompanied by friends everywhere I went in Guangzhou.

I visited the old European concessions on Shamian Island, two obligatory visits to local temples, the Guangdong Provincial Museum, the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King, the Whampoa Military Academy (jointly established by the KMT and the Communist Party to train officers to fight the Japanese in WWII) and the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial hall. I had no idea that so many important figures in Chinese history call Guangdong home, and that so many important historical events and movements started there as well.

I went south in China this time because I wanted to understand more about a part of China that is quite different from where I’ve spent the last six months. It has its own history of kingdoms, its own language and very unique cuisine. I really only got a taste, so I’ll have to go back some time to learn more.

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