12-28-2010, 11:05 PM #1
Guangzhou in pictures during the recent Asian Games 2010
Thanks to China BCer Li Dequan who prompted us to make a last minute 5-day trip to Guangzhou for the Asian Games badminton extravaganza, hcyong and I were able to witness first hand what made this city the third largest in China relatively prosperous and still growing. It was noted that entrepreneurial Cantonese here migrated to nearby Hong Kong in the early days that has made the latter so economically powerful today.
Guangzhou is estimated to have a population of 12 million with about more than half of them residing in the city. There is a mixture of the old and the new in the city, with dainty Chinese and colonial architecture competing for attention against the modern skyscrapers. Travelling about the place in subways and the metered taxis is relatively cheap and easy. So are the famously delicious Cantonese cuisines available in posh restaurants or in endless small shops or on the humble side streets.
So we made use of whatever spare time from the busy badminton schedule to get a taste of Guangzhou. We even joined some inhabitants sitting on low stools at an alley where the tasty pig trotters cooked in ginger and thick black sweet sauce in a crock pot could be bought for about a Sing dollar. Before this we had enjoyed a bowl of pork ball noodles at a humble shop. And hcyong couldn't resist the temptation of getting some tidbits at the street mall stalls where many had congregated to get their favourite bites. All this while I was putting my camera into action!
Here are some pictures for your eyes only.
12-29-2010, 12:50 AM #2
Nice pics, thanks for sharing
12-29-2010, 11:42 PM #3
An extract from Wikipedia:
"Shamian Island was an important port for Guangzhou's foreign trade from the Song to the Qing Dynasty. From the 18th to the mid 19th century, the foreigners lived and did business in a row of houses known as the Thirteen Factories, near the present Shamian, which was then an anchorage for thousands of boat people. Shamian became a strategic point for city defense during the Opium Wars period. In 1859, the territory was divided in two concessions given to France and the United Kingdom (of which 4/5 belonged to the British and 1/5 to the French). It was connected to the mainland by two bridges, which were closed at 10pm as a security measure..."
Indeed Shamian Island has a rich and interesting European cultural heritage and the many colonial architectural styles and sculptures that remain are a testimony to its colourful past. A story goes that Europeans who want to adopt Chinese babies would wait patiently for their turn in one popular hotel.
That was one good reason why we spent our third day visiting this famous tree-lined and peaceful "island" to see things for ourselves. This so-called island is easily accessible on foot by just crossing one of a few bridges over a big canal that links the other side. Once there one can immediately feel a distinct difference of tranquility and relaxation and a much slower pace than the city across the canal and Pearl River.
No wonder many newly weds have their photos taken on Shamian Island and families with children on tow prefer this place as a picnic spot. And both young and senior citizens congregate near the Pearl River to exercise or just sit on the benches to stare
at the waters or the high rise buildings on the opposite side. At sunset, this tourist attraction will turn into an open-air restaurant for alfresco dining.
I like the small parks and gardens with an assortment of flowers and plants. And especially the many bronze sculptures of people in everyday life. I can't forget the lady fiddler who attracted young children to join her in queue. Even a real life pretty girl managed to squeeze into the queue to become a part of the scene.
12-30-2010, 02:41 AM #4
More pictures on Shamian Island
The sun is setting. But activities still continue till the night is over. It is time for the alfresco dining crowd to take over the esplanade. After dark the buildings and their surrounds become alive when coloured lights take over the sun to produce their brilliant magic.
Life goes on. But our tired legs can take no more. Our hotel is not too far away and we gladly hail a taxi to bring us "home" and retire to bed early with sweet dreams of Shamian.
12-30-2010, 03:15 AM #5
very nice Loh. thanks for sharing!
12-30-2010, 03:38 AM #6
12-30-2010, 10:58 PM #7
Renovated township opposite Tianhe Gymnasium
Just across busy Tianhe Gymnasium, where the badminton competitions were held, stands a small but interesting township which must have been recently upgraded to usher in the Asian Games since the huge Tianhe Sports Complex is just on the opposite side of the main road.
The red and white apartments are tastefully decorated with artificial flowers on the balconies and on the ground level are boutique shops, some selling branded names, and others that cater more to the local residents. We tried the Danish pastries and the local red bean dessert and they tasted delicious. It seems cafe and wine is quite a novelty here too.
The playground and the senior citizens corner were well used and the nearby school was a hive of sports activities.
Greenery, water and sculptures seem to be inherent in Guangzhou scenery and in the park we have a fair share of these at this delightful township.
Last edited by Loh; 12-30-2010 at 11:08 PM.
12-31-2010, 12:28 AM #8
Guang Zhou Hong Xing Seafood Restaurant
Guangzhou is famous for its Cantonese cuisines and this seafood restaurant commands a special place with tourists. Located strategically across the main road facing the Pearl River this "food supermarket" is unusually unique in that samples are on display as in a supermarket, including live birds and sea creatures, some like snakes that are not usually found in wet markets, and all the patron has to do is to pick what he wants. Certainly something new to me.
The three of us enjoyed a late dinner which was of course tastefully prepared.
Last edited by Loh; 12-31-2010 at 12:32 AM.
12-31-2010, 07:32 AM #9
Thanks uncle Loh for the beautiful pictures. In fact, I am currently in Guangzhou on a business trip (yeah....New Year's Eve at the hotel).
Guangzhou has indeed evolved much even though I pretty much come here every year. The 2 new attractions that I think are the highlights of Guangzhou now are the Canton Tower and the Haixinsha Island (venues for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Asian Games). Haixinsha is re-opened to public today but of course people have to pay RMB20 (morning & afternoon) and 30 (night) respectively to enter the "island".
12-31-2010, 09:10 AM #10
Well as for me I had originally intended to join thousands of others in Marina Bay for the festivities and thunderous fireworks at the stroke of midnight but changed my mind to stay home to watch instead. But I felt restless and at past 6 pm I changed into casual gear and headed for Hort Park and the elevated forest trail from Alexander Wave linking Telok Blangah Hill Park. It was raining earlier, therefore I enjoyed the cool evening walk on a stainless steel track held together by numerous pillars that take into account the hilly and forested contour of the area.
We had wanted to visit the Canton Tower but time did not permit. However we spent sometime at the AG opening venue where lots of people had gathered to soak in the colorful lights and Games atmosphere.
01-04-2011, 01:01 AM #11
As noted by badMania, Haixinsha "Island" is the famous place where the Asian Games opening and closing ceremonies were held.
It is actually located near Tianhe Sports Complex and we just had to go underground and up again to find ourselves unknowingly in the presence of Haixinsha. A beautiful elongated pond garden had been specially constructed in this newly developed piece of high class real estate, at the far end of which stood many first-class skyscrapers, including the famous Canton Tower, reputed to be the tallest tower (not building) in the world. We need not have to cross any waters or bridges to gain entry to this "island".
Here are some pictures showing the beginning of the long stretch that leads to the Canton Tower and the Haixinsha Stadium where the ceremonies were staged. Apart from some spectacular views, greenery and new buildings along the way, I found the grand old, colonial-style ABC (Agricultural Bank of China) the most spectacular!
01-04-2011, 02:21 AM #12
Dusk invades Haixinsha
Dusk is not all gloom in Haixinsha during this special time of the year when the Asian Games is still ongoing.
We were at the tail end of our long walk when dark began to set in. But it gave an opportunity for the brilliant lasers and colourful lights to take over and turn the entire place into another vibrant scene.
Canton Tower with its tall, sexy and dazzling image took centre stage. The other prominent skyscrapers did their bit to lift this valuable real estate to another high.
Seeing is believing!
01-04-2011, 04:06 AM #13
Did u went to the badminton event during the asian games? where's the badminton photos?
01-04-2011, 06:45 PM #14
01-04-2011, 06:53 PM #15
Absolutely captivating visual diary! Thank you for sharing, Loh!
01-04-2011, 08:52 PM #16
01-05-2011, 03:16 AM #17
This Saturday morning, 20 Nov 2010, saw us taking a slow walk from Guangzhou Hotel, where we stayed, across to the public park opposite where an open-air karaoke singing session was in progress.
Just below our hotel window was a major construction project, in front of which stood the giant concrete sculpture of a soldier with a rifle and a bouquet of flowers. From afar after dark, we could see the dazzling lights at Pearl River, dominated by the semi-circular arches of the well-used bridge which was itself illuminated by the headlights of moving vehicles and colourful neon boats plying up and down the river. BinBin Plaza stood adjacent to our hotel, which somehow must have regular visitors from Singapore since it had a clock showing Singapore time at the lobby, together with those from Tokyo, Beijing, New York, London, etc.
Our morning stroll took us to the side streets and eating haunts of the vicinity and Beijing Lo, some of which we patronized and reported earlier. We were also surprised to walk into a huge compound that was the perimeter of an elaborate Chinese temple.
But our main target was to get to the tourist resort of Baiyun Mountain in the afternoon and then return to Tianhe Gym to watch the semi-finals of the Badminton Men's Singles and finals of the Men's Doubles in the evening. We had paid an exhorbitant price for those tickets in the black market, at least double their face value!
So by 2 pm, we were well on our journey to Mt Baiyun via the underground Metro and then took another long walk to the entrance for our tickets. We chose the easier route of travelling by the buggy car to the peak, which was barely 382m above sea level. Time to take some pictures of the city from high above before the mist and darkness arrived. After that we descended on foot to take the cable car which took us right to the bottom where it was just timely for us to take our dinner before we adjourned to Tianhe Gym to enjoy the badminton matches.
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