What happened to the nice train?

Guangzhou Travel Blog

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Older Chinese train

People who made my travels more enjoyable: Michelle (USA)

Michelle and I checked out of our hostel and took the elevator down to street level. It was the weekend and nearly all of the streets in our area were empty. It reminded me of Seoul in that way. At night everything was jam-packed, but early in the morning everyone would be home asleep. I must admit that sort of lifestyle suits me well. I tend to stay up late and get up late, if given the opportunity of course.

The subway station was also empty and we didn't have to wait long for a train. The trip from our hotel to the train station had been a breeze. Once we got to the station, things got a bit more complicated. For some reason, the ticket agent would not accept either a credit card or Chinese RMB. So Michelle and I had to track down and ATM, withdraw HK Dollars and then return and buy our ticket.

Outside view
Despite this inconvenience, the terminal was not busy, the station staff were very friendly, and they spoke English well.

Our experience in Hong Kong's train station turned out to be the complete opposite of our experience in the Guangzhou train station. Guangzhou's station was crowded and hot, but the train was nice and new. This time the station was cool and relatively uncrowded, but we got an old beat up train. Or at least that's how it seemed (I would find out later that there were much worse trains in China). Even the women working on the train were cold and gruff. But honestly, things were just fine. The train was on time and we had plenty of room to stretch out and relax. At first I watched as we traveled through the wilderness between Kowloon and China, but then I took the opportunity to sleep until we reached Guangzhou.

Guangzhou Stadium (I'm guessing it was built for the 2010 Asian Games)
 

At the station in Guangzhou Michelle and I had a bit of an awkard experience. Upon approaching the exit of the station we were greeted by the same Shangri-La staff member who helped us two days earlier. It was great to see her again, but we were not staying at her hotel this time around. Instead we had to say goodbye and then approach a representitive from the Westin Guangzhou. To make things worse, the Westin driver had just taken someone to the hotel and we had to wait for 10 minutes in the same area until he arrived. I shouldn't complain too much though, he did pick us up in an S-Class Mercedes :)

The Westin, while not quite as nice as the Shangri-La, had a much better location within the city. Michelle and I checked in, dropped off our bags in the room and immediately left the hotel to explore a bit.

Ikea!
Guangzhou was a likeable city. It wasn't particularly unique or special, but I could sense the positive energy. Like many cities in China, Guangzhou was working toward something exciting. The 2010 Asian Games were to be held in Guangzhou in August and the city was preparing for the event. 

The area surrounding our hotel had a large shopping mall, an Ikea and several other western chain restaurants. So what did I choose to eat? Pizza Hut! I know it's really embarrassing...

After lunch we spent the afternoon enjoying the air conditioning and comfort of our luxurious hotel. Once the sun set however, Michelle and I set out on a new adventure with two goals in mind. Find some food and get a proper foot massage. The food part was easy, but after our experience in Vietnam, we were a bit concerned about what to expect from a massage in China.

Inside pizza hut (why can't American Pizza Huts be like this?!)
It turned out that our fears were completely unfounded. Near our hotel, we located what I can only describe as a homeopathic treatment center. The waiting area was very professional and we saw men and women walking around in white coats. Honestly, I almost felt like I was in a feng shui friendly doctors office. After waiting for a few minutes, Michelle and I were ushered into a private room with two recliner style chairs and a TV. The room was spacious and had a large window with a clear view of the street below. Michelle and I stretched out and turned on the TV as we waited for the nurses to attend to us. We settled on a celebrity game show, similar to One Night, Two Days which is popular in Korea. Two nurses came in with two buckets of scalding hot water and some supplies. They poored some powder into the bucket and then had Michelle and I dunk our feet.
Street food!
HOTTTT! I almost jumped out of my chair. The women started chuckling at my animated response as they kindly added some cool water to my bucket. Next came the massage. Was it relaxing? At the time, not really. Was it painful? Very... That said, the nurses did a wonderful job and had a good laugh at my antics. And truth be told, it was a pretty awesome experience and my feet felt amazing after the fact, so it was absolutely worth it.

On the way back to our hotel, we passed a number of stalls selling Chinese street food. Michelle encouraged me to try, and I have to admit I was rather tempted, but in the end I chickened out. If I couldn't eat street food in Korea, where I knew exactly what I was up against, there was no way I'd be able to handle Chinese street food.

Another eventful day was in the books. Tomorrow we would fly to Shanghai and then transfer to Tunxi for our trip to Huangshan. I couldn't wait!

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Older Chinese train
Older Chinese train
Outside view
Outside view
Guangzhou Stadium (Im guessing it…
Guangzhou Stadium (I'm guessing i…
Ikea!
Ikea!
Inside pizza hut (why cant Americ…
Inside pizza hut (why can't Ameri…
Street food!
Street food!
Michelle and street food
Michelle and street food
Pizza Hut :)
Pizza Hut :)
Guangzhou skyline (Sorry about the…
Guangzhou skyline (Sorry about th…
Closer view
Closer view
Offices in Guangzhou
Offices in Guangzhou
Tower under construction (or aband…
Tower under construction (or aban…
Im lovin it!
I'm lovin it!
Guangzhou apartments
Guangzhou apartments
Outside the Westin
Outside the Westin
More construction
More construction
Guangzhou Hotels & Accommodations review
Great rooms, Good Location
Our stay at the Westin started with a ride from the train station, to the hotel, in a brand new S-Class Mercedes. The lobby was clean and nice, not as… read entire review
Guangzhou
photo by: westwind57