Guangzhou 2011

Ni hao ma! After nine and a half days in Guanzhou, I didn’t learn any new Chinese words but all is well, it was still quite a trip to remember. In my experience, Guangzhou isn’t as popular as a tourist area compared to Beijing and Shanghai so I wasn’t as excited to go as I was when we went to Beijing. Safe to say that Guangzhou still did not disappoint with everything it had to offer.

The city

For a bustling metro with skyscrapers and bright lights, it’s still quite environment friendly. The city’s filled with lines of trees and garden parks that I hardly see in Manila. The greens in Ayala are nothing compared the ones in Guangzhou – they had shrubs on the sides of the fly-overs and skyways and trees that some taxi drivers actually have to avoid ’cause their branches have spilled beyond the street railings.

The traffic in Guangzhou is a lot like Manila. Guangzhou isn’t as modern as Beijing or Shenzhen yet so the roads are still quite narrow but still better then in Manila. I must say, however, that the drivers in Guangzhou are far more daring than home. Buses overtake and accelerate despite the fact that there’s another bus on the other lane opposite it. So basically, they’re just driving head to head and yet, it was still disaster-free. Personally, I was already gripping the sides of my bus chair in fear but everyone else seemed so used to it.

Shopping

Shopping was the one thing I knew to expect in Guangzhou but to my displeasure, I hardly got to shop for the simple reason that shopping in Guangzhou is insanely expensive. The first thing I made sure to go to was the Sephora in Teemall. I was more than set to use up my allowance in Sephora but it broke my heart when I found out that their products were twice the price than listed online. I regretfully only had fun sampling and swatching but had to leave very empty-handed.

Because of my initial heartbreak with Sephora, I tried to seek refuge in shopping for clothes, shoes and bags but my oh my the bits of my broken heart turned into dust when I saw the price tags! I’m not even overreacting! The first thing that caught my eye in Zara was this big, orange, sack-like leather bag that I estimated to be around four to five thousand pesos but when I converted it, it was a whopping seven thousand! I had to put the beautiful bag on its rack and let it linger.

Their local brands were also really expensive. Unlike here in Manila, we have CMG, SO! F.A.B, SM, etc., that sell beautiful yet still affordable heels. Most of their branded and gorgeous shoes were above 4.5k to around 9k. However, there were good buys in H&M, Stradivarius and a local brand called Yishion, which reminded me a lot of Forever 21 in both style and price.

Milk Tea

After all the heartbreaking brought about by shopping for my vanity, it was time to resort to something that would inevitably put all the pieces back together with its good taste and cheap price: Milk tea. Since one of the origins of milk tea is China, I expected to see a lot of milk tea shops scattered across the city. True enough, there were but only the chain milk tea stores had english menus so I had to settle for Lucky Lemon (Happy Lemon counterpart), Tea Monkey, RBT and my favorite, Dakasi.

Lucky Lemon didn’t have my Happy Lemon favorite, Oreo Cookie Milk Tea so I tried their Milk Tea with Egg Pudding and egg tart. Unfortunately, I ate the egg tart – very very good stuff – before I drank the milk tea so my taste was already affected and so the milk tea ended up tasting like water with bits of pudding in it. Tea Monkey was my least favorite as it didn’t tasted more of water than tea or milk and I regrettably bought the large cup. RBT was the priciest and with good reason, it seemed to be like their gourmet milk tea since it was a cute tea shop that served meals and was almost always full. Their Creme Brulee milk tea really caught my eye cause I thought it’d simply be Creme Brulee flavored. Surprise, surprise, THERE WAS CREME BRULEE ON TOP OF MY MILK TEA! As much as I wanted to keep the creme brulee intact on top, I had to mix it in since the milk tea didn’t taste much without it.

Dakasi became my instant favorite when I took my first sip from the Oreo Cookie Milk Tea. It wasn’t too bubbly nor was it too selfish with the oreo cookies. Whenever I saw a Dakasi stall, no matter how full I was, I’d make it a point to buy and try out a new flavor. On my succeeding trips to Dakasi, I bought Peanut Milk Tea and their Classic Milk Tea – my favorite. Dakasi also has this special machine wherein they put the shaker and let the machine do the shaking instead. It was really efficient since the shaking takes a lot of time if you really want a well-shaken and slightly frothy milk tea in the local milk tea shops here in  Manila.

The best thing about these milk teas is that it’s way cheaper of the milk teas here in Manila. The average milk tea would range from about 7-10 Yuan, 49-70 pesos whereas here in Manila it’d be around 15-20 Yuan. The most expensive milk tea I had was the Creme Brulee milk tea in RBT and I ain’t even complainin’, it had creme brulee on top for chrissakes!

Chinese (junk) food

While we’re on the subject of food, I’ll go on with talking about their wide and slightly peculiar junk food selection in their supermarket, Vanguard. Have you ever imagined lemon tea flavored Lay’s Stax, cucumber flavored Lay’s and chicken flavored Cheetos? If you have, I applaud your imagination for I have never thought they could exist! It was quite interesting really that I wanted to buy all possible flavors but I could possibly just be throwing my money away so I just tried the chicken flavored Cheetos, which was good!

I wanted to take pictures of all of the flavors of Lay’s but some supermarket employees were already looking at me and they could easily throw me out and I wouldn’t even know why.

Bits of history on the most random places

Guangzhou isn’t really known for its historical places but they made it a point to have a few picture-worthy spots (and by spots, I really do mean just spots) in the middle of the shopping roads or just in the mini parks in between malls.

The upside down singer

He’s a sight to behold all on his own.

Funny signages

English is a little hard to get by in China and there are a selection of huge and funny store signs around their shopping districts.

I’d love to post pictures but wordpress won’t let me. Maybe I’ll post pictures when it fixes up and hopefully that’ll be soon! 🙂

Nicole x

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