It is in July of 2016 when I first travel to Guangzhou. How foolish that I went where in midsummer! I was in Shanghai at that time when I have two days of vocation. It is wasteful if I didn’t travel to somewhere make use of the vocations. People who are rational may go north, nevertheless, I flew to the most southern city.
Sky ask for leave to accompany me roam around the street of Guangzhou when the temperature is at 36. We were both too tired to go out on the third day, so we slept all day in the air-conditioned room with the rhythm of the falling rain.
In Mar. 2017, I traveled for a long time after resigned in Shanghai. I thought I needed a period of rest to start again. I flew to Guangzhou again for I remembered Shameen where I missed for some reasons. It is the best time of this southern city when I didn’t feel colder or hotter. It is the time when all kinds of flowers bloom. I stayed in Guangzhou for only two days. In the rest of the time, I hung around in the nearby cities. What a pity that I had to be back home when I didn’t feel enough. It seemed desolate in the north where you can hardly find a green color.
I started to think about where to go from June. The destinations including Shandong, Henan, Anhui, and Jiangxi. I found that, however, the most beautiful places in October are in the northeast. I didn’t want to be at home because I had to be with my family no matter where they go. The vocations are the time to stay with the family when you live alone outside. If you stay with them in most time of a year, you will want to be alone. So I went to Guangzhou again.
I got there by train this time so that a lot of time would be spent on the train. I could stay in Guangzhou for only four days of my seven days holiday. There was no place to go to, for that was the third time I traveled to that city. I just want to meet with my friends, chat and eat, and enjoy the cute girls alongside.
In the four seasons of one year, only in winter, I haven’t gone there. However, I don’t think I will go there in winter, for there is neither red leaf nor snow.
Guangzhou is a city, a huge city. It is the third one after Beijing and Shanghai. I don’t know what’s the standard are they sorted by, the area, the population, or just from north to south. You even can’t know how big it really is if it is big enough. I have lived in Beijing and Shanghai, then traveled to Guangzhou three times. I even don’t know which is the biggest in my perception. However, when I went back to Jilin, I found it so small that it looks like a country.
A City(城) is not with a mere big area or a huge population. Shenzhen is a city but not a City, which is so young. Beijing is the Beijing City. Someone says Beijing is too old in Shanghai. It is the staleness that composes the culture base and promotes its confidence. It is because of the confidence that it can contain both new things and old things. It is different from Shanghai which is conservative in actuality. Shanghai is not suitable to be called a City. It has history but short, and mix with foreign things. Its another style, but not native.
Guangzhou is a City. It is not so well known as a City but is still a City. There isn’t enough description about it in our history textbook. From some academical papers, I learned that it has three thousands of years of history. He is not a boy. He is just low-key and lack of historical buildings like other Cities. You can learn its history from multiple resources if you are interested in that.
I went to Huangpu Port on the secondary day after I arrived at Guangzhou last year, where there is rarely a historical atmosphere. Sky took me to drink the Ginger Milk Pudding, nevertheless, I don’t like gingers. After we finished our lunch, we roamed around the port and didn’t go through that.
Huangpu Port is important in the Silk Road, which can prove the history of the Guangzhou City. There should be a Huangpu Village nearby where we didn’t go into. Sky sent me a booklet of the Temple of South China Sea God as a birthday gift, which is interesting.
When hearing the name of Shameen, I associate it with the ambru, and then the barbeque sauce. Finally, I want to eat hotpot(smile). Such an odd association impressed me in that place. I couldn’t go there because of the hot, the rain and our tiredness during my first travel. I went there in the second after I came back from Shenzhen. It is still a rainy day but a little bit cold. I had to take photos in the rains.
I like those buildings with western style and historical taste and the rains promoted the literature feelings. It was a little bit difficult to take photos, but I had practiced in the summit of the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum in Nanjing. It’s a pity that I was not skillful and the layouts of the photos are not so well.
For any big and famous city, there must be a pedestrian street. It will be old and conventional if it is so common and lack of features. Every pedestrian street of every city is making use of all kinds of gimmicks to express itself. In my opinion, Tianzifang is the most unique one. During a May vocation, the crowd flooded into a narrow alley almost bumped down the desk of some foreigners who were eating outside. That made a profound impression on our foreign friends, I think.
In short, Shangxiajiu didn’t make a deep impression on me. There are few photos left because the weather is too hot to press the shutter. The western style buildings are distinctive, but the buildings like that are so common everywhere in Guangzhou. There were rice noodle rolls which I’d like to eat earlier, but I forgot whether I ate them here.
Before I first went to Guangzhou, Sky said to me: “You should be prepared to get here for the environment is not so good.” She lived in an urban village in South Chebei. The urban villages are as well known as other resorts. At the evening peak period, the crowd surged into a shadow and crowd area. People who have never seen such a phenomenon would wonder how can such a small area contain so many buildings.
People’s living spaces in a city are shadow and small. Some are hanging in the air. The buildings are made higher and higher in order to make full use of the resources. The cost of construction is higher but the price of the land is lower. We live in a more enclosed and less steady space. There are hardly tall buildings in an urban village for the cost is too high and it takes more time. Instead, they occupied more land and squeeze the public space. There is no plot, no vegetation, and no estate here. The buildings are closed to buildings. The walls adhere to the walls. The windows catch up with other windows. These buildings are called Shake Hands Buildings. The wall composed with those buildings resist the entire sunshine.
In a rainy day, you are walking along the shadow, wet, bumpy and musty alley. The road is skew. You turn left, then turn right. There are still countless turns waiting for you and it seems that you can’t get in your destination. It is convenient to live in here. There are plenty of restaurants, snack shops, groceries, and markets. You should always get your curtains closed, and there is no sunshine anyway. There may be whispers alongside which you don’t know where they are from. It is lack of privacy. If you are careless, your entire life will be exposed outside.
I have no nightlife. On 9:00 pm, when other people start to enjoy their life, I have fallen into sleep. My life sounds dull, but I enjoy it. I wouldn’t stay up late or get up late even on weekends. So I hardly have midnight snacks. Last year when I had hotpot in Sky’s house, I listened to their conversations and nearly think into sleep.
There is a huge difference in the lifestyles between the South and the North. In Jilin, most people won’t stay up too late even little sleep early like me. And we go to work earlier than the big cities. The affluent nightlife in Guangzhou made a great impression on me during the three times I traveled here.
In the first time, I flew there, the plane was delayed. It was about 11:00 pm when I get out of the subway station. I remembered there were few persons on street at that time in Beijing and Shanghai. However, I didn’t feel like in a night at that time in Guangzhou. A lot of people were getting in and getting off the subway stations. The restaurants in the urban village were still open and full of people.
Alongside the BBQ stall, the young men and young women were sitting, eating the kababs, chatting or keeping silent but seeing the branches hanging on the river.
I think the most distinctive buildings in Guangzhou is neither the western ones like Shameen or Shangxiajiu nor the modern ones like Guangzhou Tower which called the “Tiny Waist”. It is the old buildings in some corners of the city which are old, to be dismantled, fossil but stubborn. These gray full of moss and Boston ivy are depressed, sticky and lack of refreshing. They may need sunshine, even the sunshine is abundant in Guangzhou.
I saw these buildings during my travel on the bus. So there is no photo of them. They are dying lonely and would be died out one day. People will try to perverse those historical buildings but not theses with fifty or sixty years of time. There are old buildings like these both in Beijing and Shanghai. They can’t be dismantled easily for kinds of reasons, but I don’t know how long it will be preserved. To make a huge effort to preserve these outdated and dangerous things, even I think that is unworthy as long as I feel regretful.