Saturday, 27 October 2007


Hong Kong station is well organised. We waited behind the barrier until the time came to go and one official held up a sign for Guanjou and another used a loud hailer and we all burst through to rush for the train.
The train was clean and neat and the hostesses walked up and down with an array of different items to ply. Not at all tempting though, chicken and various slimy things in watery sauces, tea and some books in Chinese. We are hearty eaters but soon lost our appetite looking at that. Credit to them though for offering a non stop service all the way.

Going into Guandong means entering the most industrial and polluted area in the whole world. We passed tower blocks, sometimes scaffolded with bamboo and twine to quite a height - we later found out that bamboo scaffolding is the norm here and there dont seem to be any more accidents and it is environmentally friendly and light too. Shanty villages and even tent homes in the countryside. All shrouded in a fog that became thicker as we went on until it became a brown dense smog.
The taxi in Dongjian had a driver who was either very careful or totally paranoid about being robbed, he was surrounded by a cage. He seemed cautious though and sternly rebuked any misbehaving drivers on the road with his horn. Much of the area we passed is light industrial with workshops below flats. The smog makes it all look depressing.

By the time we arrived at the hotel it was so foggy that we wouldn’t have been surprised if Sherlock Homes had turned up in a hansom cab. The Grand View hotel is 5 star and the number of staff is astounding. 3 are provided in any position when one would normally do. The toilets are manned and disconcertingly they wait outside the door, turn on the tap and politely hold out a towel with both hands. A 5 dollar tip (30p)to the maid almost made her faint with gratitude.
We had to visit the executive foot therapy spa at the hotel where the masseur pummels your feet for over one hour. They are soaked in tea -well I presume that is what it was and you really get an all over massage as well. At the end it feels like new feet.

The restaurant has an area similar to the sea life centre in Bournemouth where all the fish are kept on display. Interesting but it does nothing for the appetite. I am not a fussy eater but much of the food available is quite off putting and strangely bland. I decided to try a river crab as this is quite a delicacy at the moment, male is bigger and better in October. I couldn’t believe it when it arrived. It was hot and bound in a plastic tie. They gave me scissors and a pointy tool and some gloves. In the end there wasn’t much in it and really horribly there was mud all over the claws. Hamid didn’t believe it was mud but some sort of delicacy but I didn’t take any chances and avoided touching that bit. Some of our neighbours on the next tables appeared to be munching right through the bony carcass.

The sea life centre in the restaurant where sharks fin soup, pig ligaments and eggs preserved in horse urine are all available for Chinese gastranomes

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