Tuesday, July 16, 2013

China Day Nine - Cultural Tour of Guangzhou

Another beautiful morning in Guangzhou and 
we spent some time feeding the fish again after breakfast. 

Afterwards it was time for a little touring. One of the things that agencies do with their families in between all of the official appointments is to concentrate on helping them appreciate the culture and the heritage of the place where their child is from. So our group this day headed out first to the Five Rams Statue. This statue is located in Yuexiu Park, the largest part in downtown Guangzhou. The statue is a very famous symbol of the city. Legend has it that more than 2000 years ago, the city was a barren land with people who were suffering from famine, despite hard work. One day five immortals in five-color garments came riding on five rams, playing their legendary music. The rams held sheaves of rice in their mouths. The immortals left the sheaves of rice for the local people, gave blessings to the city and left. The rams turned into stone and the city became a rich and populous place. 

The Lifeline families - Allens, Cooks and Fowlers. 

After our climb, we took the bus over to LiuHua Lake Park. It's over 100 acres and has multiple lakes. It has several sections and we really only went through the west end section, famous for its bonsai garden, birds and banyan trees. Even though it was super hot, we really enjoyed the walk through the park - kind of like New York's Central Park right in the heart of Guangzhou. We saw a lot of vegetation that was familiar to us from Florida. The climate in Guangzhou is on the same latitude as Miami, Florida. 

At the very end of our walk was a small amusement park section - we were all so tired and hot that we just walked by on our way to the bus. 

Back at the hotel, we grabbed some lunch and then it was time for a rest! In the afternoon we went back to Trust Mart to pick up some items for our orphanage donation the next day (undies and socks). 

Then we decided to do something completely on our own as a family. We took the subway and navigated our way over to the Canton Tower in Guangzhou for a tour. The machines for subway tokens were in Mandarin and English, as were all of the signs and the announcements. We looked a little lost in the first station and lovely Chinese woman who spoke impeccable English helped us out as she was headed the same direction. We were the only non-Asian people that we saw on the subway and it turned out to be rush hour, so it was super crowded. We managed a transfer between lines and finally arrived at the Canton Tower. 

Canton Tower was built in 2010 for the Asian Games and is the tallest building in China and the fourth tallest building in the world. You are able to go up inside the tower with an express elevator and look out at the observatory on the 107th floor. 

A pre-visit movie area with views of the city from the Tower. 

A beautiful piano on display in the lobby
used at the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Asian Games. 

Views from the observatory floor - it was so beautiful! 

While we were up in the air, the sun started to go down and the city started to light up.
So we decided to head up to the 112th floor for our ride on the bubble tram around the outside of the building. The view was even more impressive from the outside!

As we were headed out through the lobby, there were these viewing panels where you could look up and see the color changes on the outside of the building. It went through a series of solid colors and then eventually turned into a rainbow. 

The subway was much less crowded on the way back. It was getting pretty late and everyone was ravenous, so we headed for a guaranteed quick fix at Burger King. When we got out from the subway stop at the Garden, all the buildings there were lit up in neon as well.

Someone really enjoyed his Whopper Jr! 

Finally we went back to the hotel to crash out. Here's a couple of pictures of the Garden Hotel from out front. Both of these towers belong to The Garden. The left tower is all apartments and offices (including the Japanese consulate complete with military guards). The right tower is all of the hotel rooms, with a large revolving restaurant on the top. 

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