Guangdong - Day 2 - Gaoming to Duanzhou
- Distance 68km
- Max Elevation 105m
Guangdong - Gaoming to Duanzhou Ride Profile
Waiting at the end of the lane with our bags and panniers, the taxi
arrived at 6-30 on the dot. We loaded up, said a fond farewell to Phil
and sped off into Kowloon. The process at the ferry terminal to
Guangdong was easy.
Dropped off in the underground car park we wheeled our bikes into the
lift and up into the terminal concourse. It is bright, airy and modern
with check in desks similar to an airport. We checked in at the
Guangdong ferry desk and had time for a coffee at Starbucks - all very
civilised. Then it was through the gate and passport control and after a
short wait, onto the boat. The bikes were secured on the rear deck, as
we all took our seats in the sealed cabin.
We were quickly across the bay of the Pearl River Mouth and heading up
the Xi Jiang river into Guangdong, its banks lined with factories,
quarries and other heavy industrial operations. It was not a pretty
route and with little to see we both dozed to the hum of the engine
while listening to our Michael Thomas easy Mandarin tape.
Alighting at the port of Gaoming in Guangdong province, the immigration
and customs formalities were as slick as those at Hong Kong. Many
passengers had their bags checked through scanner machines, but we were
just were just waved through. After a quick assessment of what side of
the road to ride on (right), we cycled off to the town centre. Its
square tenement blocks, shuttered shops and wide multi lane streets
were, as we would find, typical of the modern and soulless part of most
Chinese cities. Our first stop was to purchase a China Mobile Sim card
for our phone. China Mobil is the biggest Telecom provider in China and
is rolling out 3G in most areas. A SIM card was just 45 Yen = GBP5, and
seemed to last a long time even when using Google maps etc.
As it was now already lunch time we decide to stop for a traditional
Chinese lunch - a McDonald's Burger, Guangdong style - well it would
probably be the last chance for some western comfort food.
We negotiated our way out of the town on the main road, direction
Duanzhou also known as Zhao Qing (pronounced Tsow Ching). The whole
route was very industrial, with lots of horrible chemical smells. Buses
and lorries belching thick diesel smoke deafened us with their air horns
as they raced past. They stop for no-one or thing. Woe betide you if
you get in their way. We were not too impressed with Guangdong so far.
We kept going until we reached the Xi Jiang (river) again to catch the
small vehicle ferry across the river. It consisted of a floating
platform for the passengers and vehicles and was pulled across the fast
flowing river by a tug. Halfway across we were on an obvious collision
course with a river freighter and it seemed like the same rules apply to
shipping as on the roads - who is going to give in first? Eventually
the ferry stopped its engines and the ship crossed in front of us. On
the other side, the ride along the riverside promenade into the town was
sedate compared to the last three hours.
Our room at the Stars Business Hotel, was very comfortable, being more
like a suite. It was brand new and cost YEN 260, about GBP27. For
dinner, we went to the next door restaurant and had a traditional Guangdong style broth cooked over a heater in the centre of the table.
Raw ingredients were brought, beef, something that looked like "lites"
and pok choy. It was all tossed into the pot and we ate a tasty and
hearty meal with rice.
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