About Richard
The Journey
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Report: #04
Date: Mon, 01 Sep 1997 09:31:43 +0900
From: richard (
Subject: World Cycling for All 2
Location: Guangzhou

Dear All,

Here's a much briefer (in file size) note from my world tour. The brevity is largely due to the advice (mostly kind, tho I recognize the validity of that that was otherwise) from a number of recipients of the first up-load whose systems blew a gasket because of the picture. Sorry! I'm new to this game. And I did pay for it because a number of addresses failed and bounced it back, causing me to watch a 2.5 hour download here in Guangzhou, where using the computer costs me US$10 per hour. On my budget that's a big stretch. So I'll swallow my medicine and cut to the point.

This is a quick message from Guangzhou, also known as Canton, in China. It's raining. It doesn't seem to stop, except to start again. So wherever you go you make a splash.

And there's the flash of lightening and the boom of thunder everyday, but that does nothing to drown the hiss and swarm of the traffic or the blast of the jet-liners feeding this seething nest of humans.

Clouds hang below the hotels, which cling to the skirts of a belt of hilly, humid, forested parkland, from which rocket-skeleton radio towers poke out. Concealed somewhere below is an orchid garden not yet in blooming season. At it's heart there is a school for teaching the Chinese way of making tea; not surprisingly, more flamboyant than the Japanese way. More splashing. More action. Rose tea, Jasmine, white, black, green...

A lifestyle away, the Qingping market slithers in the sidestreets amongst the sub-fashion shops and proletarian lunch joints. Bamboo cantilevered plastic sheeting holds bulges of water overhead, pouring from the edges onto a clatter of cages stuffed solid with sad-eyed cats, limbs outsretched through the bars, unmoving. Resigned to their fate, which will be the dinner plate.

A nine floor pagoda looks down on this from the sanctuary of a beautiful Buddhist temple, resplendent with fine statues and peaceful aura. And looks down on the dwellings of city folk in their imprivacy, squashed together not much unlike the cats.

Which came first?...Karma springs to mind.

The balconies of all the lower class apartments are secured with top to bottom grills and bars, cosmetised with climbing plants and large-tropical-leafed ones.

I heard the bars are to keep out the burglars from the north! Wherever they're from, I don't imagine they're cat burglars.


Actually I wrote that about 2 months ago, before a trip to Hong Kong. Now I'm back in Guangzhou again. I hope this gets through to everyone this time and catches them having a good time. My apologies again for anyone who's had trouble getting through to me or should've, but didn't receive the last message.

Hong Kong seemed to have stolen Guangzhou's rain. It's quite sunny here now. The RAIN dampened Hong Kong's reunifications somewhat. They passed off quietly. People hardly knew what to do; glad the British finally did the right thing, but apprehensive nonetheless.

For most it appeared to be a minor interuption in their lives of unsatisfiable buying, business and building. The same resumed after the handover with only a barely tangible atmosphere shift to go with the new flags. Best thing I did in Hong Kong; bike to the beach.

Wishing you all the best. Will try to write again from Hanoi, Vietnam. Though some of you will get messages before that.

Take care out there.


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