Comparing Apples to Oranges: Xiamen to Guangzhou
We have just completed our second full day in Guangzhou and I think I’ve got a good enough sense to form an opinion. Guangzhou is the third most popular city in china, while Xiamen is very easy-going, named one of the most livable cities in the world. So clearly there are going to be some major differences. No offense to Xiamen, but I’ve got to admit that I’m having a lot more fun here than our previous city. But to be fair, our lifestyle has hugely changed and I think that plays a big role in our enjoyment, despite the city we reside. In a way, I feel I’m more comparing experience to experience, rather than strictly city vs. city.
What I really really like
1. Our tour bus and tour guide
Having a bus that takes us from venue to venue is amazingly luxurious! We’re used to either walking in the sun, packing ourselves into crowded public transportation, or splitting into many groups to take taxis. Also a tour guide really helps us stay on track so that we can make our days as productive as possible. Waiting time has been minimized! Also, he is so sweet and has a bunch of really interesting information about every place we visit. Today we saw Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Memorial Hall, Nanyue King’s Tomb, Canton Tower City Center, and even had time to explore and shop!
2. The hotel
It’s a huge upgrade compared to our previous place. Our last place had some issues that were a little hard to look past. For instance, my shower would drain into the rest of my room, leaving a puddle. I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination. But besides that, I’m also loving the location! Right inside the Sun Yet-sen University and next to a main road and the night market.
3. A bigger city
Of course, this comes with its ups and downs but I really enjoy the variety of conscience stores that stay open much later. People speak more English and Cantonese here, so it’s a lot easier to communicate with them. There’s a lot of fun night life and things to see and do, at night. Also, it’s so so SO cheap here. We went to the night market last night and the food and shopping was cheaper than I ever thought possible. My professor says, everything’s made in Guangzhou, so shop here. And I believe it, I bargained a wallet down to 50 HKD and thought it was a good deal. Here, the starting price is 35 RMB. Much cheaper! I think my favorite part of a bigger city is the options of toilets. Although squatting toilets exist, I am VERY HAPPY to say there has always been the sitting toilet option. Personal victory for Kendall.
Don’t think I’ve moved on fully
I miss the feeling of (greater) safety.
I miss the Xiamen students.
I miss the food, because we just eat family style every meal here so far. And they think we’re tourist so we get the very Americanized dishes only.
I miss the free laundry that came with our old place.
Xiamen was fun.
Conclusion: I’m comparing Xiamen to Guangzhou (Canton), but there are too many variables for a straight shot. Overall, I’m having a lot more fun over here. The convenience of this experience far exceeds the last. We have 9 days here total, so we’ll see if this opinion holds strong.