Today we woke up to the real China. We arrived in the city of Guangzhou, which is located in the Guangdong province of China. As one may have expected, the city is very crowded and hot. Guangzhou is a Tier 1 city of China, so the poverty of the country is not visible. You can still smell the street food while you walk. You can also smell the person walking next to you, since there is no personal space anywhere you go. In this very beautiful city we all experienced our first not so beautiful cultural shock today. We had to use the squatting bathroom, which do not have any toilet tissue. Very ordinary toilet paper like we use in the U.S. is such a valuable thing for us here.
We started off our day with a visit to the University of Sun Yat-Sen Business School. The university has earned a great reputation around the world, and it is one of the top 10 universities in China. Our host of the university was truly very generous and paid for our most exciting experience yet on the trip. Our host paid for the entire group to go to a cruise ship for dinner. The cruise and the dinner were truly a great experience. It was a once in a lifetime moment when you can experience such a good thing with great people around you.
After our lecture at the Sun Yat-Sen Business School, we departed to visit Sinotrans. Once we were done with a brief introduction to Sinotrans, we were on our way to the cruise. We all had a chance to do a little shopping before we boarded the cruise ship. For most of us, it was our first time bargaining. We are not very sure if we all got good deals or were ripped off, but we enjoyed it a lot. Before we knew it, it was time to board the ship for the cruise.
The cruise started off great. After having a busy day, we were all looking forward to the food. Since I am a vegetarian, I was excited to see some veggies on the buffet. The excitement paid off, and we finally got a chance to have a great meal together. In Chinese culture, family values are very important and are very respected by everyone. On the cruise with us, we saw local community people who were also enjoying the meal with their families. Their language was not understandable to me, but from the looks on their faces, we could tell that they were having a good time just like us. The host of the cruise started telling the story of the river cruise in the native tongue of Mandarin, so we did not understood a word.
Besides having the language barrier, we had a good time. As we headed out, we could see that the city is very colorful at night. All of the buildings were lit up, as if they were welcoming us specially. Trying to take pictures of these beautifully lit up buildings was hard. The cruise was moving quickly, and even before we decided which building’s picture we wanted to take, the ship had already moved on to the next building.
We hope to see even more beautiful sights here in China, and we look forward to keeping everyone back home posted about the activities of our days.