Skyscrapers and "super model" towers

China is booming economically and wants to show it, mainly cities display wealth and prosperity by building gigantic skyscrapers and futuristic buildings, which is exactly what is happening in Guangzhou. Some days ago, I went into Guangzhou to take a closer look at some of the impressive new buildings popping up in Zhujiang New Town. This area is being built as a "showing off" area for the Asian games in November. The exteriors of the buildings are finished but the interiors are being finalized now, and since the Asian games start off the 12th of November, time is ticking!

The futuristic Opera house with angles that define gravity. Looks like a space ship to me, designed by famous British architect Zaha Hadid. Cost? About 1.6 billion Swedish kronor (120 million USD). More info here

This is the new Guangdong museum, formed like a Chinese treasure box. Designed by Rocco Design Architects Limited. Cost? About 950 million Swedish kronor. Nice news when I arrived was that the entry was free! I will post photos taken inside at a later point.

Well, this was a bridge I crossed, no more, no less. But still a stylish bridge.

This is the Guangzhou TV & Sightseeing Tower, also known as Canton Tower. Designed by Dutch architects Mark Hemel and Barbara Kuit. It is designed with a female form in mind, a supermodel, tall and slender. It reminds me a lot of Turning Torso in Malmö, but it's more than twice the height of Turning Torso with its 610 meters. They are still working on it, but I look forward to be able to go all the way up and get a nice view of the city. It is the world's tallest concrete tower and on third place for tallest structures in the world - all categories. Source.

This is one of the new stadiums being built in preparation for the Asian games. In the background we can see the following building:

This is Guangzhou International Finance Center, also not really finished yet. But it dwarfs every other building in its vicinity with its 440 meters. Its height is also one reason why its hard to get a good photo of it to show it in relation to other buildings. It will receive a "sister" building, named Chow Tai Fook Centre which will be 560 meters!

I was unable to identify this structure but found it interesting.


Yesterday I decided to take a trip to Foshan, a small city 30 km outside Guangzhou with a population of 6 million. I read in my Lonely Planet guide that Foshan is an important ceramics / pottery centre for all of China and also hosts a few notable temples. It took some time trying to figure out how to get to Foshan from downtown Guangzhou since everybody I asked kept pointing in different directions. That happens a lot here in China, you ask for directions and they point to somewhere off in the distance, when you get there and ask for further directions people will point you to a totally different place. It's frustrating but at some point you will come across someone who will literally go out of their way to help you, even if it means walking with you for 10 minutes to show you the right spot. So I guess China is like everywhere else, some people have no clue and just want to get rid of you, some people think they know but don't and some people actually know and want to help you, which is the golden combination.

So after some time wandering around various coach and train stations I took a bus to Foshan which took an hour, which was strange since it should only be 30 km from Guangzhou. Another thing which makes travelling in China a bit of a bother sometimes is that it takes more time than you'd think to go from point A to point B. Mainly due to the large amount of traffic. But when you've done it once, it becomes easier to find ways that are quicker (thank god for the metro!).

Foshan wasn't what I had expected, even though it's supposed to have 6 million inhabitants it felt like a smaller city, the temples weren't very impressive either but one thing I really liked was Liang's Garden, it was beautiful! Here are some photos:

Always bring an umbrella with you! Even if the sun is shining in the morning a thunderstorm is never far away.

I planned to go to a neighbouring village named Shiwan where it is possible to make your own pottery but the rain started pouring down as thunder closed in on Foshan. Well, when the metro goes all the way to Foshan from Guangzhou I'll make another attempt on Shiwan. I'll also try to see some Wing Chun sparring as there are many martial art academies in Foshan.

A very small bus station in a very populous city.

On my way home I stopped by in a Tesco shop, it does not have the same kind of brands as in U.K though.

But what it does have is oddly dressed sample girls! In every major supermarket there are loads of samples given out, some companies apparently take their campaign one step further.

Licha Cun

Continuing where I left of in my last post, we left the first village, Xiangang Cun and went to a restaurant for dinner. While it took us ages to get the food it was nothing compared to how many hours we would waste away in the bus in search of the second octagonal village, Licha Cun. We left the restaurant at 1:30 p.m and what should've been a half an hour drive took us four hours. We arrived at Licha Cun at 7 pm when we according to the schedule should have arrived there at 1:30. It was a very interesting place to visit though and in some ways worth those hours on the bus.

Finally got our food! It was okay but nothing special.

A Pagoda we stopped at while we were lost.

Interesting way of keeping out non wanted visitors. A wall of glass shards.

Finally arrived at Licha Cun! It is almost abandoned these days and only a very few people still live here. Which added to the deserted mysterious feeling of the village.

A tranquil lake on one side of the village.

I think the red is remains from firecrackers.

Very narrow circular streets.

The entrance to one of the larger houses here.

One might understand why people have moved on.

At the centre of this octagonal shaped village one of course finds the source of why the village was built the way it was. The Taijitu ("yin and yang") symbol 太極圖 as well as the Ba gua 八卦 ("Eight Trigrams").

The french teacher Nathalie is taking a photo of the Taijitu..

..while I mostly take pictures of myself.

They offered me a really good price for these two cars!

However, it turned out the lacked a few important features.

Making the last part of the journey home after a total 10 hours on the bus during the same day.

Xiangang Cun and Licha Cun

Yesterday I went on a trip together with some other staff to the Zhaoqing area to explore two villages Xiangang Cun and Licha Cun which date from the Ming dynasty about 700 years ago. They are octogonal shaped villages, built according to "Ba Gua", an octogonal symbol of the eight principles of Taoism. The trip started of okay as we got on th bus at 8 am but little did we know about the amount of hours we would spend in that bus.

The trip to Xianggang Cun should take about 1 ½ hour but after getting lost and driving around we arrived there at 11. The village was interesting to walk around but very worn down. I suppose it's an image of what most parts of China looked like not long ago, before the great economical upswing started. Here are some pictures:

The main village square.

The local fish store.

A man who was curious of the group of us foreigners, as this village rarely see anyone from the outside they approached us several times with questions and greetings.

An unidentified Chinese game.

Some houses were far from the standard that can be found in the cities..

...and some lived in boxes. No, not really, he was just sleeping there while his mother was chatting with some friends.

David and Maya, together with them we broke away from the others and explored on our own. Here we are talking to some women.

Most streets were very narrow.

Bamboo is widely used within construction. I don't know how safe I would feel beneath it though.

Do you recognize the symbol on the top? It's the 'wan', as it is known in China, but it can be found in many cultures and has a history of 3000 years. In the west we mainly know it as the symbol used during World War II. I don't want to write down any terms or make any links here as I'm afraid the blog would be blocked if I do.

The gate to the temple.

A cool dorrknob, I'm getting one of these to my future house!

Tomorrow, I will make a post about our visit to the second village and also whine a bit about the countless hours we spent in the bus being lost.

Black chicken?

Hi all,

Before departure I was thoroughly warned about "proper" Chinese food but what I have eaten here so far has been good though some things might not be very healthy as they like to use buckets of oil when cooking. I was warned about people eating dog paws and silk larva here on a daily basis, however so far I have to say those rumours have been exaggerated. I'm sure you could find some restaurant that serve that stuff but none I've seen so far.

However, in the meat section at Jusco supermarket one can find this:

Yes, it's a chicken. Yes, it's black (or darkish blueish).

After some questions I found out that this is a 烏骨雞 or Silkie (or several actually). And that they, when alive, look like this:

The origin of their name is that their plumage feels a lot like silk. Their meat is considered gourmet food in most parts of Asia. I don't think I've tried any so far, but when going to a Chinese/Cantonese restaurant one barely knows what one eats half the time. When I know for sure what it tastes like I will report back.

My kingdom for some ice cream

After school yesterday I was in a really good mood, I had planned a movie night de lux for myself, just managed to download Ironman 2 (with a crappy internet connection) and had bought some nice ice cream. Thought to myself that I wouldn't eat it all, and after eating half of it I put it back in the freezer but when there was still another hour of the movie left I couldn't resist the temptation to go for more.. The movie wasn't great but good fun to watch and it was that kind of action movie that has you going through massive amounts of sweets in no time. Should've watched a drama as it has an altogether different effect on the sugar craving.

So now I've got to lose those extra kilos it felt like I put on yesterday, I have located two hills nearby my apartment block where I've gone jogging a couple of times and there's an amazing view but to get there one have to go through some dirt tracks. Unfortunately it's cloudy tonight so I'll bring the camera to show you the view next time.

My jogging shoes after the dirt tracks, I like it, they look a bit more hard core now!

Some Dos and Don'ts in China

Today's post is not a very long one for being a Sunday post, I've got some things to do before I turn in for the night so I'll share some dos and dont's that apply here in China. I will try to make a longer post soon.

  • hold your glass below that of the eldest person in the group when toasting – the eldest (aka wise one) holds his/her glass highest
  • eat all of the rice in your bowl – some Chinese believe it’s bad luck to leave even a single grain behind


  • write anything in red ink unless you’re correcting an exam. Red ink is used for letters of protest.
  • shake your feet, lest you shake away all of your luck.
  • be offended when asked if you’re married – and if you’re over 30 and single, say yes, lest you be pitied
  • give clocks or books as gifts. The phrase ‘to give a clock’ in Mandarin sounds too much like ‘attend a funeral’ and ‘giving a book’ sounds like ‘delivering defeat.’
  • Make out in public


Hi all!

I haven't had the time to do any proper post this week so I thought I would post some photos I took with my mobile camera during one of our visits to an all-you-can-eat Teppanyaki restaurant here in G-town. For those of you who wonder what Teppanyaki is I quote wikipedia "Teppanyaki (鉄板焼き, teppan'yaki) is a style of Japanese cuisine that uses an iron griddle to cook food. The word teppanyaki is derived from teppan (鉄板), which means iron plate, and yaki (焼き), which means grilled, broiled or pan-fried. In Japan, teppanyaki refers to dishes cooked using an iron plate, including steak, shrimp, okonomiyaki, yakisoba, and monjayaki."

We've just arrived at our round table with the griddle in the middle.

Various staff members arrive.

Here you can order almost anything to be cooked on the griddle in front of you, but they do have sushi as well, it's after all a Japanese restaurant.

The cook is doing his magic and he cooks in a very "showing-off" kind of style, which is fun to watch.

Last but not least, deep fried banana with ice-cream!

My weekend

It's Sunday and I finally have some time to sit down and post something! I'm in the final stages of my Sunday routine, which goes something like this: Wake up at nine, put clothes in washing machine, make breakfast, clean the floors and the rest of the apartment, chill for half an hour, get the laundry, take the bus to Jusco to get meat and other groceries, come home and put the groceries in the fridge, go to local supermarket for vegetables, come home, eat late lunch, after lunch go down to swimming pool to cool off, after that I go back up to apartment and post something on the blog, then hopefully skype with Rebecka, then go out jogging. That's been my Sunday routine for three Sundays now.

Yesterday I went to a house-warming party that started at Ikea, so I went in a bit earlier to enjoy a plate of some sweet Swedish meatballs.

I wouldn't be surprised if they ship them from Sweden as they tasted exactly the same as back home. Anyway, the gang met up at Ikea and since the Chinese enjoy sitting in the sofas and taking naps on the beds in Ikea we thought we would adapt to the culture here. We brought a few drinks and seated us in a living room, I read out loud for everyone what the different names meant and also read out loud from "Stora Djurboken" which could be found on a shelf in "our" living room. It was great fun sitting there enjoying some vodka and lemonade in a plastic bottle and just chatting away as if we were sitting in someone's home.

After an hour or so we went up to Jessica's apartment where the party got started, we later went out clubbing at a newly opened club, Nova. It was really crowded but good music. I was the only one from Rhytmico who went clubbing, everyone else live in the city centre so I got a taxi home alone but it was still ok since the fare was 37 CNY (43 kr) for a 20 minutes taxi ride. =)

On Saturday my internet went dead once again (Welcome to China..) and I decided to go in early to the city centre and take the cable car up to the Baiyun mountains. I wouldn't say they are mountains with the top peak being 385 meters above sea level but we all got our own definition I suppose. Since it had been raining all night it was very cloudy at the top so I'll pose some photos next time I go up there but I enjoyed the cable car ride up!

Not the most romantic spot to take a photo but it's a representative picture of Guangzhou where there are overhead roads everywhere. All the photos in the post were taken with my mobile camera if you've noticed some difference in quality.

I had one of these to myself, I quite liked the privacy and calm in my little cube as it went higher and higher.

The Chinese army mobilizing? Let's hope not!

Very authentic polo shirts!

This weekend I was in Guangzhou and couldn't help to do some shopping. Since I wear a shirt every day to work I wanted to have some variation in my wardrobe and I thought that a polo shirt or two would be nice. I've seen some horrible Ralph Lauren copies here, like this one:

...but I wanted something closer to the original.

I came across a woman having a three for a hundred (110kr) sale going on and decided to see what she had. The result are as follows:

A vanilla white one.

A dark blue one.

And my favorite, a purple one! This photo is taken early in the morning, hence my tired eyes.

You can still feel that the quality is not the same as the original but is it a 600 kr worth of difference? No.

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