Early March 2010: it was my first overseas trip in almost 10 years.
The People’s Republic of China – I kept reminding myself: remember, you’re in a communist country. That wasn’t too difficult to keep up: at many buildings the red flag could be seen.
It takes less than 3 hours direct flight via Air Asia from Kota Kinabalu.
5 days, 4 nights – first 2 days were surprisingly warm – only slightly less warm than El Nino shrouded Sabah. Then the last 2 days were cold: must’ve been below 10C at night.
Other tidbits seen/learnt:
I was quite surprised to see a Malaysian connection at Huanghuagang Martyrs Memorial Park in Guangzhou. Amongst the 72 stones representing the 72 people who died in the unsuccessful 1911 uprising by revolutionaries against the Qing Dynasty was one referencing Kuala Lumpur and another referencing Muar:
China is really Feng Shui-land, and Engrish-land:
They really take International Women’s Day seriously, which fell on 8th March, our last day there. Women get preferential treatment, like jumping queues at popular shows, on that day. We ordered takeaway at McDonald’s on Monday morning, and they included FOC what else but tea for my wife.
Rosedale Hotel in Guangzhou (4 stars) had spacious, excellent rooms. The other one at Shenzhen, Malaysian-owned Sunon Holiday Villa had much smaller rooms (like Cititel MidValley KL). But they had astoundingly many channels on the hotel TV: 42 in Guangzhou and 63 at Shenzhen!
Every meal in the tour was heavy. 11-course lunches are the norm. Some dishes are not quite what one would expect in typical Malaysian Chinese cuisine:
They serve local beer with every meal: either Tsingtao or Kingway. There’s another local brand I saw: Pearl River. All very cheap, equivalent of about RM2 even at 7-11.
Some said I could find pork at KFC / McDonald’s there but went I went to check them out – couldn’t find any in the menu.
Went to one of those 3-door-to-go-thru “warehouses” at Lo Wu City, Shenzhen (I’d call them Sarang Tikus Sdn Bhd) where fake (some say “used actual raw material”) designer goods can be bought at probably a quarter of the original asking price, and merely observing negotiations underway is an interesting social experiment in itself, even if you don’t understand a word being said. If I learnt and applied anything in this respect, it’s “stand your ground, no matter what tantrum they throw, then walk away slowly”: most of the time they’d call out and give you what you want.
Another person said prices at Shenzen, probably the fake goods capital of the world, is not like it used to be: much higher now.
Anything and everything was on sale, electronic cigarettes included. But perhaps the most unforgettable sight of the whole trip was seeing, with my own eyes, centipedes and scorpions on sticks being sold on one of the pedestrian streets in Guangzhou.