It took a little less then a week to get my visa sorted out and get back to Guangzhou. Now I found a new apartment here again and I’m up for another month of China at least. Finding a cheap apartment for a single month in Guangzhou is not easy, especially for a foreigner, but knowing my way around the city helped me doing it.
The Canton Fair is starting in less then a month and this makes it harder to get a cheap room for a month in Guangzhou. Most room prices will be about 30% higher at least so I would just have to rent until the fair is starting (15 October) or pay significantly more.
After long walks through the city for about 2 days straight and many blisters on my feet, I found an apartment that’s being rented out by a Chinese couple. They don’t speak a word of English but luckily they have a daughter who can do a little translating. They didn’t ask for a higher ‘Canton Fair’ price so it seemed like a good deal.
The internet in the apartment I’m renting wasn’t set up from the start, so I had to go without for a while. Currently my neighbor is sending his internet signal through the wall for me to use and it’s reasonably stable and fast. I also have a water cooler again and my own washing machine so that’s very convenient.
What I didn’t know and never dealt with before, is that toilet paper can’t be flushed down the toilet here. The pipes seem to be too small for this. Used toilet paper has to be dumped in the garbage can, which doesn’t seem that hygienic to me but it’s normal around here. It’s not surprising that it took me 2 days to get the toilet cluttered and now I have to use the public toilet in the building until it gets fixed.
I’m now living in the Haizhu Square area about 5 minutes away from the metro. It’s one of the older areas of Guangzhou and there’s a lot going on around here. The metro station is about 10 minutes away with 2 lines departing from here. The PSB office is right across from me, which is where I can go to extend my visa.
The street where I live has an abundance of metal shops. It goes on for a couple of hundred meters with metal shops side by side in every single building. If you’re in need of some screws or bolts, I’m pretty sure you can find it out here.
Right across from my street there is a very nice restaurant where you can put your own dish together. They have all kinds of meat and vegetables, ready to be served and they will put it on your plate when you point at it. It costs up to 20 RMB (2.50 EUR) for some rice and 3 scoops of food.
The street behind the ‘metal street’ is a street that’s focused on selling fabric. Here you have fabric shops lined up, one after another for a very long stretch. It seems very convenient to group similar stores together like this and it must be a good way to keep prices low. There are also a couple of streets very close by here, that focus on selling shoes only.
The streets here are always very busy with cars and buses and people driving around, transporting insane amounts of goods on their electronic bikes. Everybody seems to be busy working here all day long. When the night sets in, the food stalls show up, probably run by people who already worked many hours during the daytime.
Because it’s so easy to go up on the rooftops of buildings around here, I decided to try and overlook the area from the highest building around. The first building I tried this at, was 32 floors high. These rooftops are always very popular for hanging clothes to dry and this building was no exception.
I could see my apartment from this building and get a general idea of the area I’m living in. I always try to imprint the high buildings in my head so I can look for those if I get lost. Looking out from all sides of the building, the border of Guangzhou cannot be seen and it seems like a never ending city.
I’m happy to be back in Guangzhou and the Haizhu Square area offers a bit more variety in restaurants. The metro is also pretty close and I’m living about 10 minutes away from Beijing Lu, which is a large shopping street with a lot of restaurants and shops around it. One of the famous nightlife areas is just about 15 minutes away from here or a 10 RMB (1.25 EUR) taxi ride. I also found a gym in the neighborhood that charges 25 RMB per day, so I can finally do some exercises again. I’m sure I won’t be bored around here for the coming month.