“What did you do while I slept?” I asked The Family when I finally gave up trying to sleep through my flu. “This and that. I went shopping and I took lots of photos,” she said. We went out together in the late afternoon, walking again through the Liwan district.
She showed me the photos when we sat down. She’d taken the trouble to stop in front of each of the bronze statues that the city has installed on Shangxiajiu pedestrian street and photographed it. We’d both admired these pieces of public art which celebrate the heydays of Guangzhou, the 1920s and 30s.These bronzes are evidence of China’s renewed fascination with the life of those times. I had very few photos of them, and, in fact, The Family had discovered ones that I’d not even seen. The plaques below the pedestals did not give us any information on the dates of installation or the names of artists, but, of course, we do not read Chinese. Later we searched on the web but couldn’t find any information either.
I reserved a room in a hotel in the Liwan district of Guangzhou after a very shallow look at descriptions of different city districts. We were really lucky with the place we got: a large and comfortable room in the heart of some of the most interesting parts of this old trading town. Every day was a discovery, even when things didn’t pan out.
We decided to have a long tea one day and looked at the list that The Family had extracted. Where on earth was the highly recommended Taotaojiu tea house? A long search on the web, and we pinned it down. We need not have bothered. It has been so famous since it opened in 1880 that we could have just asked the concierge. We walked down Shang Xia Jiu pedestrian road to a building which looked like a very sweet pastry (above and the featured photo). The doors were shut! We peered in, and it did look like a tea house inside. There were notices pasted on the glass. I am familiar with perhaps 30 characters in Chinese, so I had to read the notice through the wonderful camera translation that Goodgle provides. The tea house was closed for renovation, as nearly as I could make out. We had to find another tea house for our Yum Cha
The Shang Xia Jiu pedestrian street (I never found the difference between that and the Di Shi Fu road) is full of beautiful repurposed buildings. The Ping’an theatre, whose facade you see in the photo above, used to be a place to see Cantonese Opera. It is a beautiful building from the late 19th century CE. Today it shows movies and the ground level is given over to shops. We never did get to see a performance of the Canton Opera. That is one of the things we need to do in future.