These particular photos are from the "aquarium" portion of the restaurant. There were all sorts of marine creatures on display: giant fish, exotic fish, octopus, crabs, shrimp, lobsters, alligators, salmon, snapper, snails, etc..
(bonus video at the bottom showing a giant fish that was cut in half... the beating heart you see is proof that it's fresh and ready to eat!!)
All in all, it's a pretty impressive feat (wish we had better trains in the US).
|I thought hacky sack ended in the 90s??|
|Waiting for our "bullet train"|
|Can someone translate?|
|Airplane terminal or train terminal?|
These are a few photos of the convention center and the Westin Hotel (which is designed to look like a "peacock") next to the convention center. Apparently, this particular Westin Hotel is quiet for most of the year... the only exception being the Canton Fair. During that time period, it will actually be the most expensive and crowded hotel in Guangzhou... recommend avoiding that time period. Other than that, it's a very nice hotel.
This all might sound a little complicated, but don't worry... the outcome is always the same: You get drunk.
Anyways, in these photos, you see where some of the real locals go to hang out. I saw large groups dancing in the public square (like an outdoor dance club, but free), people lounging by riverside, street performers doing tricks, families having picnics, teenagers causing trouble... it was cool to check out (and I only got stared at a little bit). Do you think this would be more fun than hanging out at a bar?
Tsingtao beer is one of China's greatest exports. They have several different varieties... the most popular/plentiful/cheap is the green label. The green label is a standard pilsner beer and is similar to a Budweiser in flavor. It is brewed all over the country. If you're at a more fancy restaurant (or happen to be up North in Qingdao), you can get the gold label. The gold label is still brewed in Qingdao and uses mineral water from Laoshan Spring. This gives it a more unique flavor. I actually quite enjoy the gold label (if I can find it)... and as you can see from the photos, I was lucky on this particular evening.
Another interesting thing to note in these photos are the Christmas-looking lights in the background. There's a common joke I've heard from several Westerners living in Southern China related to these lights. If you walk around Guangzhou (at any time of the year), you will see what looks like Christmas lights all over the place: buildings, trees, restaurants, bridges, etc... and as you might know, China is good at copying things (technology, hand bags, shoes). The joke goes that a city planner for Guangzhou decided to travel to several western cities (just as his city was starting to explode with growth) to get a better understanding of how they were developed. This planner went to London, Paris, Munich, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco... and came back with many great ideas. However, he went during the month of December... hence the Christmas lights.
These are a few photos I took after dinner one night.
People back in the US often ask me to describe what the city is like. At first I struggled to give a proper explanation... but I've come to the conclusion that Guangzhou is China's version of Los Angeles (without the hamburgers and movie stars). There is a sprawl of freeways, giant shopping malls, smog, traffic jams, diverse ethnic population, relatively high crime rate, lots of entertainment options, international trading hub, world class galleries, extreme wealth, extreme poverty, many different types of neighborhoods/districts, massive sky scrapers, exhibition places, city parks, etc... Guangzhou is also one of the most liberal and cosmopolitan cities in China. Yes, you will still see people spitting on the ground... but you can also enjoy a nice glass of wine or cocktail at a gourmet restaurant overlooking the Pearl River.
These are a few photos I took when walking around the city one night. If you ever spend some time in Guangzhou, I would encourage you to get out of the hotel room and explore it (it's a lot safer than many large western cities).
Everything you see in this photo is actually outside of the monastery... they've definitely built up the entrance to make it look/feel more like a theme park. There are shops to the left & right, a couple places to eat, and an area to buy tickets and hire a tour guide. Nonetheless, I thought this photo came out pretty well... gives a peaceful atmosphere to the location.
Hope you enjoyed the Shaolin Monastery!
I really loved the details in this photo... heavy texture on the stone carving, bright red door in the background, a dusty floor in the foreground, two different types of bricks stacked together, a shiny surface reflecting light...
Thanks to a Chinese friend, I found out that the word means "a kiosk where someone stands in the snow"... it comes from a story in Ming Dynasty which tells a monk consult Buddhism to Buddha someday was snow.