We have been falling down on the blog here lately, so will try to catch up. We left Wuhan on China Southern Airlines on another flight packed with businessmen. As near as I can tell, there at least six airlines inside China. Reading in the paper, all are government owned, but now some privately owned airlines are also starting up. Some fly airbuses and some fly Boeing 737’s. Also in the paper, Airbus just inked an order for an additional 150 airplanes, and the Chinese aircraft company which up to now has made only up to RJ size is planning to start manufacturing larger aircraft to compete with Airbus and Boeing.
More newspaper trivia, there are 2 million private automobiles in Beijing, and the number is exploding.
We are now in Guangzhou (Canton) which is more southern and tropical. very balmy this time of year, and they get no snow, population 11 million. The streets and blvds have a lot of trees, noticeably more than Beijing and Wuhan. Some of the streets are very pretty. The Pearl River which is the second largest river in China runs thru Guanzhou on its way to Hong Kong, and it is a freeway for freight. There is a constant stream of motorized barges up and down the river. The smallest are sampan class, about 20 ft long, the largest maybe 200 to 300 feet long. Coal, containers, lot of sand and gravel going up and down the river. At any given time, there are probably 8 to 10 in view from our hotel room.
Guangzhou has a very modern international airport and the expressways into the city worked remarkably well. In the city center, the expressways are elevated up about 3 or 4 stories and snake through the buildings. The upper level is like a freeway with no redlights and you exit to the side and down to the lower level which is the city streets with all the redlights and heavy traffic. Amazing.
We are staying at the White Swan Hotel on the Pearl River, very nice and plush, and definitely the hotel of choice for tourists. Just down the street is a restaurant called Lucy’s which specializes in western food. It is really funny to go down there and see all the Americans ordering hamburgers, french fries, pizza, fish and chips. We are back into a tourist section with all the souvenir stands, although they are not as aggressive as in Beijing.
Yesterday or the day before, we took the ferry across the Pearl River, cost us 7 cents each. We landed in the west part of Guangzhou and walked around. I think we were in an old upscale section, no high rises, just low rise 3 or 4 story apartments, wide tree lined streets, very nice area.
We just got back from a trip to the jewelry mart, an amazing concentration of jewelry shops in a 7 story open mall, must have been a thousand shops all in one place. Took a cab to get there for 7 yuan, walked back following our guide through: a really upscale shopping street, no traffic allowed, and then down a bunch of side streets. One street was devoted to tropical fish for aquariums (the whole darn street), one street devoted to pets (dogs, cats, mice, hermit crabs), one street devoted to medicinal herbs, I do not see how anybody can make a living when there are so many shops/stalls in one place.
Included is a bunch of pictures of the last couple days. (Well, maybe, not doing too well on pictures right now, check back later)
Just click on any picture for a larger version and maybe even a caption.....