Letters from the Larmours » Stories from the travels of the Larmour Family

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A Letter from Guangzhou

This post is taken from a page I made on our old site about life in Guangzhou – the town we lived in when Saffy was born. We loved it there – it was alive and bustling and China hit you right in the face and yet it was easy to escape from, to Hong Kong, just 200 miles down the road, or to the countryside, or on an overnight train to some other part of China or by plane all over SE Asia.

Tommy moved to Guangzhou for work mid 2005, with our possessions but Kirsty spent a while longer going up and down and left and right between Guangzhou, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Vietnam, before finally settling properly in GZ after Saffron was born. 

Since then we’ve tried to do a little exploring of our new hometown – it’s an old colonial port town and now a rapidly expanding centre of manufacturing and industry – resulting in a huge, dirty modern city/conurbation of 20 odd million people with some hidden historical gems. Despite being China’s 3rd city, it’s not really on the tourist trail!

here are some pics to give an idea of what Guangzhou is really like.

Dragon boating went on in the village beside our flat

The factory by our flat being demolished

The Chen Family Temple – we were astounded to see western tourists!!!

random pagoda in the middle of wasteland and people drying blankets on bushes!

informal chinese opera group in the village beside our flat

Guangzhou by night from a cruise down the Pearl River

flower tea on sale

Temple in a small neighbouring town (pop. 1 million!), Foshan, which is famous for it’s pottery kiln, martial arts experts and lion dancing


Interesting sign in a park near our place – presumably autumn, summer and winter are fine..?


We look over a “village” rather than over the cityFish feeding frenzy at Dong Shan Hu Park

quiet backstreet

view from our flat – preparations for the great Li Ya Wan (our complex name) talent contest……

And let the contest commence….

Our next door neighbour had been practicing her routine and singing on her karaoke machine about 18 hours a day for the previous week…… it was pure pain…..


We spotted this advertising sign in a big department store….

close up…..

aaaaawwwwww… so true!!!


Children in the village

At a Cantonese restaurant with Anna, and a Buddhist vegetarian restaurant

dried snake and lizard above, and live scorpions below

pickled snake for sale!

Gateway to the South China sea god temple – and factory behind!

Chinese new year decorations


Lots of firecrackers were set off as the boats passed up the river

Temple from the cable car to the white cloud mountains

I’m not sure about stressing the civilisation……

Some of the colonial old bits

Childrens lion dance troupe just walking down the street!

snacks for sale in the village, and duck and duck sausages drying on a tree

Temple warrior!

Fungus (small, and huge!) on sale on the streets

Dried foodstuffs

The Statue of Liberty in GZ…

….. a little piece of which was given by…

Spotted on the streets of Guangzhou…… the “Tommy Hair Salonng”

We really loved Guangzhou and all it’s madness and miss it a lot – we’ve been back twice since – once in 2009 and once in 2011! One of the saddest things about our trips back though is that the village beside our old flat (where lots of these pics were taken) has since been demolished to make way for new high rise apartment buildings 🙁 we knew it would happen but it was one remaining little piece of old Guangzhou right there in the city…

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