The Champagne Backpacker: Michael's Round the World Trip 2005-2007-- The Adventure of a Lifetime travel blog

Crowds In Central Guangzhou

Bruce Lee Is Still The Man

Dance Practice On Shamian Island, A Former Foreign Concession

Jade And Silk Funerary Covering


SUNDAY, JULY 30, 2006. GUANGZHOU, CHINA. On the long bus ride from Yangshuo to Guangzhou, I reconsidered my travel plans. I've decided to continue my travels in China by flying to Lijiang in Yunnan province to hike Tiger Leaping Gorge.

Guangzhou, formerly known as Canton, is, like many Chinese cities, urban sprawl. The province, Guangdong, is also where most of the early immigrants from China migrated to the West, including my family, for many reasons including economic opportunity, war, and (fleeing) Communism. For this reason, Cantonese, a separate dialect from Mandarin Chinese (China's official language), is largely spoken in Chinatowns throughout the world (although Mandarin is a lot more common today). My father's family left China beginning in the early 1940s to escape the war and for economic opportunity, settling in Honolulu, Hawaii, and Los Angeles, California. My mother's family fled to Australia in the late 1930s to escape Japanese bombings in Canton, settling in Sydney, Australia.

Guangdong, with Guangzhou as its capital, is the most prosperous province in China due largely to its manufacturing base and proximity to Hong Kong and its ports. As my bus entered the outskirts of Guangzhou, we passed factory after factory manufacturing the goods of the world. I've never seen so many factories before in such close proximity. I decided to stay on Shamian Island, a former foreign concession. The most interesting sight was seeing many caucasian couples (mostly American) pushing strollers with Chinese babies. The couples apparently need to stay in China for a short period of time during the adoption process. In addition, the US Consulate was originally located on Shamian Island making it convenient for adopting couples (It moved late last year). Many of the stores on Shamian Island sold baby clothes, strollers, and other infant related materials.



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