Guangzhou might very well be the crappiest, ugliest city in all of China. There is no tourism here, no sights to see, nothing to do, per se. That's ok though, Guangzhou doesn't claim to be anything that it's not. With a population of 12 million, it exists as a highly productive city involved with international trade and manufacturing of all kinds.
Between meeting with the current First Drop factories to dial in everything for 10/11 and interviewing new factories, I was able to get out and do a little exploring. Although Guangzhou might not posses the beauty, attractions, or culture of other areas of China, I still wanted to try to capture the beauty of everyday life as seen through my eyes.
After getting off the plane, I was able to figure out the general area of town to head to, thanks to some great body language and patient locals. I grabbed a bus, headed downtown, and began taking in my first views of China.
I began in search of a decent hotel and found a modestly priced one down a dark alley way, overlooking a large train yard. Not the fanciest place in the world, but then again, I'm really not that fancy either. I ditched my bag and began scoping the neighborhood and getting a sense of my surroundings.
I realized that after a few days of travel, I was pretty much as far from home as I could ever get, and almost exactly on the other side of the earth from Colorado. I guess this is how people transport water on the other side of the planet.
Hanging out one minute, supper the next. Just kidding. Well, not really.
Although Guangzhou isn't the most polluted city in China, it's damn close. After only a few hours of being in China, I developed a bad cough which has lasted the entire trip. This picture was taken well before sunset, and gives a sense to how dense the smog actually is. Never once did I ever see the sun, or clouds. Usually the smog is so dense that you can only see a few blocks at the most.
After a day of strong winds blowing a lot of the smog away, this was the closest I came to seeing the sun.
Lunch time. Yummm..... balls. Actually balls.
Duck is a very common food here, whic is usually roasted and hung in all the windows, unrefrigerated. I watched these guys rip out the organs of hundreds of ducks which filled these bins in preparation for roasting. Having pet ducks as a kid, this was a little unnerving.
Lots of random back-alley fish and meat markets to wander into. Nothing is refrigerated or sanitized so the smell can become a bit overwhelming. Yep, that's some sort of black bird. Delicious black bird.
My friend Alex Bohn decided to join me in China after a few days. In search of something touristy to do, we found a park that overlooks Guangzhou. Having badly sprained his ankle the day of his flight, he was confined to this cheap Chinese wheelchair. Over the course of a few days, we broke numerous wheelchairs due to our extreme wheelin' and dippin'.
Heading up the mountain by electric mini-cart.
The view from the top, overlooking the city on an unusually clear day.
We headed back down and grabbed some street-side hand carved pineapple treats.
The next night, we headed down to Pearl river to take in the lights, and grab some fresh seafood. And I do mean fresh, like still alive.
Alex scopes out our dinner.
Yummy, chewy sea fungus.
The selection of live animals to choose from was staggering. They have waiters on hand to help you catch your dinner which is then handed over to the chef for a speedy death and preparation.
These crabs are actually still alive, all tied up to prevent their escape.
Other animals however are already dead and ready to eat.
With business out of the way, we bought train tickets to Hong Kong to spend our remaining week checking out one of the most amazing cities in the world. Next up, Hong Kong.