Monday, September 24, 2007

Meeting Helen in Guangzhou

I arrived on my all-Chinese bus in Guangzhou, China on August 31 after leaving Hong Kong 4 hours earlier. The area I traveled through, stretching from the north Hong Kong province border through Shenzen and then Guangzhou, is the manufacturing capital of the planet. This is where all those gizmos you buy at Walmart are produced. The main highway we traveled on was just lined with factories everywhere. Guangzhou and Shanghai are the most important commercial centers in China. Traditionally, Guangzhou was the main contact point of China to the outside world since at various points in history the Chinese Emperor banned all other cities from participating in outside trade.

Most importantly, I safely met Helen in Guangzhou! I know Helen from when I lived in the Bay Area. Last year I invited Helen to join me on the latter part of my Mexican trip. Since I speak Spanish, I did the translations there. Now it is her turn to reciprocate since Helen was born in China and speaks both Cantonese and Mandarin dialects! We plan to travel together for the next few weeks. Her hometown is Guangzhou.

On the first evening, as a favor for offering to shepherd me through her home country, I took Helen out for dinner and a cruise on the Pearl River. Wow, China is fascinating so far!

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