09.03.2017 - 09.03.2017 17 °C
We got an early start on the day, catching a taxi at 6:00 am to take us to the airport. There was the usual huge line for checking in. When we made it to the desk, we had to convince the airline people we could go to China without a visa - getting a 24 hour transit visa when we arrive. They did agree finally and we went thru security and found some breakfast. Once we were on our flight, we had another breakfast! It is so hard these days to know when you are going to get fed on a plane or when you are going to be charged for water or other drinks.
We arrived in Guangzhou, China in good time and after getting our 24 hour visa, found our way to the subway. This is a new subway that goes all the way out to the airport. Don had carefully figured out how many stops and where we had to get off. It worked very well, we even had seats! We had to change trains once, but that was easy. Then we arrived at our stop and got off. We could not find our way out of the metro station. There were three floors of shops and after wandering around looking for an outside door, we finally got some direction from a sales clerk. At last we found the exit, and ironically enough we had been heading for it, initially, but got distracted by an exit sign which was apparently for earthquake shelter!
So then we are on the street in downtown. We know our hotel is close by, but where exactly? We did find it, again by asking for help from people who couldn't speak much English if any, but they recognized the name of the hotel and pointed in the right direction. We are on the 18th floor of a towering high rise. Too bad it is an overcast, foggy (or smoggy) day.
After getting settled in, we started exploring. There is a large park very close by so that was where we started. Lovely old trees with signs saying things like "care for the trees, we need them". There were some interesting statues dedicated to "heroes" of the revolution. We found a group of people having a singing lesson or choir practice in a little gazebo in the park. They sounded good, too.
We visited Sun Yat Sen's Memorial Auditorium, which had a video running about him and the actual building of the auditorium. It is a lovely building and they had a great display out front - likely from the New Year's celebrations. We could see there was another park close by, so away we go. We found it and what they call the "100 step staircase" which in actuality has 498 steps. These steps lead up a hill to the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Tower at the top. Whew, quite a climb, and we had no idea what we were getting into. The flight of steps wind up the hill, so when you start you just see the first four flights or so and turn a corner and there is four more, etc. There were lots of people going up and down the steps, people exercising in the park, visiting, etc. Once we reached the tower, we went in and climbed a few more steps to see the view from the tower. Luckily, we couldn't go all the way to the top! It was scary high!
There were lots of birds in the trees, the ceiba or kapok trees are blooming and other trees are coming into bloom. Very nice indeed! When we came down, we took a different route, which was a road that gradually came down the hill.
We ended up in a different area of the city. We have been using an app called maps.me on my phone which is fantastic. Once we arrive in a new place, I hook it up to the internet for a few minutes so it can download the maps for the area. Then it doesn't need WIFI anymore, it talks to the satellites I guess and shows us where we are and how to get where we want to go. So with the assistance of maps.me we can wander quite freely and still find our way back. We did pass thru a part of town that was older and more interesting for us than the modern downtown scene. We stopped at a restaurant for an early supper - my criteria being that there was some English on the menu so we would know what we were eating! It was good and we enjoyed our meal. Then back to our room to rest up for our big flight back to Canada tomorrow.