Thursday, June 09, 2011

Guangzhou & Shenzhen Trip

Chinese Tea is said to have cleansing properties. You take it without sugar and as you gulp it down, you can almost feel the herbs working its magic on your digestive system.

Kak Yom & I drank so much Chinese Tea during our trip that we boldly declared that we'd only drink Chinese Tea from now onward.

But being a true-blue Malaysian, I started craving for Teh Tarik as soon as I got back from the trip. Papa & I had Nasi Lemak Sotong for breakfast the next morning and I looked longingly at the Teh Tarik he ordered.

Thus, my affair with Chinese Tea ended and my love for Teh Tarik rekindled.


The 4D3N trip was one of the activities organised by my school's Kelab Guru. We signed up with Everyone's Dream Holiday and they charged us only RM1650 per pax for the whole trip. The price included return airfare, 3 nights' accommodation & food.

We had Ms. Chong as our tour guide. She's unfailingly polite but I had trouble understanding her explanations because her English is heavily-accented.


China is fascinating. Its economy is developing rapidly and as soon as you exit the airport, you can see just how frantic the pace of development is.

A bus took us from Shenzhen Airport to Guangzhou and along the 2.5-hour journey, I spotted countless transporters carrying brand-new, shiny cars and trailers carrying various construction materials.

Further, the roads in Guangzhou & Shenzhen merge and diverge seamlessly in a manner that I find both impressive and confusing.

Cars choked the roads. At times, they resemble our very own LDP during peak hours. Thankfully, we were always on the smooth side of traffic.

The modern China also boasts awe-inspiring architecture. The Canton Tower is just an example. Together, these new buildings create an impressive skyline of the city.


However, despite these modern creations, you can still get glimpses of old China.

You can see roadside peddlers in front of restaurants and shops, selling roasted chestnuts or fruits on their wooden wheelbarrows.

Further, cycling is still prevalent here despite the quite extensive public transportation network.


China formally joined WTO and opened its economy to the world in 2001 but I sensed that in many ways, it is still an insular country.

The bookshops that I went to carry only Chinese titles. There wasn't even one English-language magazine on sale!

And the majority does not speak English at all. So, communication was fractured. When buying stuff, tourists and retailers had to pass the calculator back and forth as a means of negotiating.


I love these passages written by Tony Wheeler (taken from the book 'Best Travel Writing 2007):

"We travel to try to understand, a country, a people, perhaps ourselves. We may fail to find what we're searching for, but we're many miles ahead of the stay-at-homes who've not embarked on that search, and way ahead of the stay-at-homes who believe they understand the world, even though they've not even ventured out the front door."

"It's by traveling that we meet people and come face to face with how they see the world or, even better, start to see how the world looks from their viewpoint and begin to understand why they think they way they do. We're much less likely to discover that alternative perspective by sitting at home and watching the news on TV"

I used to be a staunch stay-at-home but the trip has reformed me.

Though I would have liked to do more sight-seeing and less shopping, and though we were brought to suspect establishments by our tour guide, I still enjoyed the trip tremendously.

Christopher Elliot wrote in the previous edition of Newsweek that "there is no such thing as a bad trip. Even when getting from point A to B seems like an unqualified catastrophe, the experience often makes you a seasoned, smarter, and more interesting traveler."

We are lucky to live in an age of low-cost carriers. Let's take full advantage of the bargain basements prices and acquire awesome life experiences! :)