On our last full day we decided to explore Guangzhou’s modern financial district of Tianhe, so took the metro to Pearl River New Town. On exiting we went into a shopping mall with the intention of accessing a walkway we could see, but ended up looking around – the Aeon supermarket in the basement was the most upmarket we saw in Guangzhou.
We followed walkways towards the park, but just as we arrived it started drizzling. Nevertheless we wandered south towards the river, to an accompaniment of Strauss on a hidden sound system. The clouds were so low that we couldn’t see tops of skyscrapers or the Canton Tower across the river. Just before we gave up and headed down into Haixinsha station the mist cleared a bit so we at last got a view of the tower.
A ¥2 flat fare bought us a trip on the driverless Automated People Mover, switching to the metro to Beijing Road. Being a Saturday, it was very crowded and noisy, with shop assistants shouting into headsets to encourage customers through the doors. Beijing Road’s main claim to fame is as Guangzhou’s only pedestrian shopping street with its own archaeological site, but the display wasn’t particularly impressive.
From the northern end of Beijing Lu we hopped back on the metro for the one stop journey back to Ximenkou and bought food for the next day’s train journey. We didn’t want to be left with a lot of Chinese currency to change, but by the time we had paid for dinner at Pizza Hut and a bottle of beer from the shop, we only had ¥8 left.
The next morning we got our ¥100 deposit back from reception and the doorman got a taxi for us – I only understand a few words of Chinese, but I could hear the driver checking that it was Guangzhou East station that we wanted, so i was confident were were heading in the right direction. Without the detour that we’d had on arrival, the journey only cost ¥30. We found the 2nd floor waiting room quite easily, then I went off to find somewhere to change our remaining yuan into Hong Kong dollars – a travel agent gave me HK$93 for my ¥78, which was only slightly below the rate on XE.com.
The train seemed more crowded this time, but otherwise the journey was the same, and we pulled into Hong Kong right on schedule.