In the morning I finished packing for what would be a whirlwind of an adventure in China. I traded the comforts of clean toilet facilities and good hygiene for an experience of a lifetime.
Hong Kong is where my father was born and that side of my family speaks Cantonese. It’s neat that the tiny, once British colonized city, speaks it’s own unique dialect but it wasn’t at all helpful for traveling in the mainland. I quickly self taught myself the 4 mandarin intonations and learned enough to help me “get by”.
I read on a blog once (and I couldn’t agree more) that if you’re planning a first time trip to China, Hong Kong is a good place to start because it’s mix of east and west culture so you can ease into “shock”. It truly is a blend of western practices and eastern traditions. Alternatively, Hong Kong is a good place to end your journey in China as you’ll be welcomed with the city’s conveniences and large English speaking population.
Guangzhou northwest of Hong Kong is another vibrant city. It’s considered the birthplace of dim sum and has a thriving food scene. It’s an overwhelmingly busy city with many tourists visiting as well.
Since it would be my first time traveling China alone, my grandfather said he would take the train with me to Guangzhou. In the past I’ve visited Beijing and Shanghai with my family but never seeing China on my own.
I was thankful for my grandfather bringing me to the city because I was already overwhelmed with the many other tabs I had running in my head. Since it was my first time in Guangzhou, my grandfather took me on a short site seeing tour.
We visited the Guangzhou Tower which is a neat building that stands out in the skyline. It’s not only the world’s tallest TV tower (600m), beating Toronto′s CN-tower (553m), but also a beautiful structure from the outside. In the evening once the sunset we took a river boat cruise and saw the city skyline from a different perspective.
I stayed at Sun Yat-Sen University Business and Conference Hotel which was newly built (under a year of being open). It was a pricey but a convenient hotel since my purpose was to be on campus to meet other members on the field work assignment.
Sun Yat-sen University was founded in 1924 by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the great pioneer of the Chinese democratic revolution. Sun Yat-Sen is a leader who is known as the Father of Modern China, Sun Yat-Sen played a key role in abolishing the Qing Dynasty in China and was the first provisional president of the Republic of China. The school is reputable for its rigourous academics and that was evident from the students I encountered who studied at Sun Yat-Sen University.
In the next several days I will be preparing mentally and physically for a long train ride and an adventure of a lifetime!