Guangzhou is China’s best-kept secret

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Because Anders and I didn’t have any tombs to sweep on Wednesday we decided to visit Guangzhou’s most famous park, Yuexiu Gongyuan.  Actually I decided by myself that he needed to see more of GZ than P&G, restaurants, Starbucks, and the watch market. He’s a good guy like that, he listens to me when I tell him something’s good for him.

The park turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. I thought I’d like it but I wasn’t prepared for how lush the vegetation was. I was judging it by other Chinese parks I’ve been in. They have been flat, open, and provide lots of places for people to do morning exercises, fly kites, snap bullwhips (remember him?), and ride bikes. This park is made up of seven hills and it was a mini workout. There are so many paths that one can take and meander on.

There are several attractions in the park but the most famous is the Five Rams Statue. It’s the symbol of GZ and the story goes like this:

2,000 years ago GZ was suffering from drought and famine. People were dying and they lost hope. Five immortal beings rode into GZ wearing 5-colored robes on five rams. They each held a sheaf of rice in their mouth and these were given to the citizens to plant. The immortals left but the rams stayed behind and turned to stone. They rice grew and Guangzhou became prosperous.

The Guangzhou Municipal Museum is housed in a building called the Five-Story Tower. It was originally a watch tower from the Ming Dynasty and parts of the wall from the 14th century are still visible.  In the museum are relics  from GZ that help explain it’s 2,000+ year history. It was crowded so I will have to go back another day but I think it’s something that can’t be missed. The building from the outside is beautiful and sits on top of one of the hills.

Another famous building in the park is the Sun Yat-sen monument. Dr. Sun Yat-sen is considered to be the founding father of modern China. He served as president for a short time. He is a native of Guandong province and they are quite proud of him in GZ. There is a beautiful memorial hall in his honor in the park as well but that too must wait for another day. I’ll try to drag Kiersten all through this park when she comes. 😉

There were many mumiam trees in the park. Mumiam is the Chinese word, we call it kapok. There are a lot of plants, flowers, and trees here that I have never seen. Its flower is the symbolic flower of Guangzhou. It’s beautiful. The flowers start blooming in March and while they bloom there is not a leaf on the tree. The color is a beautiful red, almost orange-red. I’ve been told that this color flower on the mumiam tree is only in Guandong. The trees are very tall and full of dark-colored branches. They made for some very nice pictures. They would have been nicer if they sky was blue and there was some sun shining but it’s the rainy season.

Every time I’m out and about “touring” GZ, I come home with an even bigger appreciation of  how much there is to see and do here.

PS – Anders ended up having a much nicer time than he thought he would and was glad that I got him out on one of his days off. 🙂

4PM – 72°

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