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This is the third time I come to Guigang. The first and second were in summer (August) 2007 and winter (December) 2007. This time is from 15 Apr to 13 May 2008, spring 2008.
As a small city in Guangxi province, south of China, it’s quite surprising for me to see a medium-modern city compared to Indonesia. As if we compare to, for example, Medan (the third biggest city in Indonesia), Guigang looks more modern and sophisticated. Hotel occupancy were high, Restaurant full, Reflection, Bar, Night Club everywhere. Not even a year since my last visit, already two new shopping mall were built and opened. Unlike other cities in China, which developed in industrial or tourism, Guigang don’t have two of those potential. I can say, no place worth to visit as a foreign tourist here. However, since I were there, I just as well explored what they have, and I’ve made the conclusion :_)
So, what bring the, I can say, ‘fast growing’ (again, compare to Indonesia) in Guigang? All these were just an impact from the real business, port business, which majority has been owned by foreign private investment company, like these three major ports own by my boss, which every year I have to visit as part of my assignments.
Yup, Guigang is a transit city. As its main river, Xi River, is a direct connection to the Pearl River Delta, which connecting the central China with the south of China, Guangzhou, Hongkong and Macau. Now you know why Hotel occupancy were high, Restaurants full and Bar and Nightclub everywhere :_) I call it transshipment city, from the activity in our ports, which transshipped the cargo (container, coal, steel, etc,) from train or truck to ship and the opposite.
Places to visit
While I was there, as usual, as many Guigang people, visit Nanning is a must. Shopping (clothes and electronics) and Movies is one of the things you can not do in Guigang, with satisfaction. Three times I come to Guigang and three times also I go to Nanning, to shop, electronics, clothes and earrings for my lovely wife, books for my dad. As Nanning is only 2 hours from Guigang, it’s very convenience, even if you go by Bus, as much as RMB 14, you get a bottle of mineral water :_)
Nan San and Shi San are two of the ‘mountain’ you can visit while you were here. It called mountain because in mandarin, there’s no other term for hill. All with mountain shape is called mountain. And a bit difficult to explain to them (local people) about the different between mountain and hill. When we say Himalaya is a real mountain, a-ha, they seems begins to understand :_)
Shi San is a hill (The Western Hill) located near Guiping city (still in the Guigang area) and one of Top Ten Tourist Resort of Guangxi (as it written in the ticket), beside Li Jiang River and Elephant Trunk Hill which also located in Guangxi. I tried to climb the hill, but not reach the top. At the top (as told by my fellow Indonesian, Roy, really nothing to see, just a place where people worship with the hio – red stick which burned slowly and resulted a thick smoke and smell). While Nan San is not even a hill, just a park with several big rocks, which two of them can be climbed (has stairs). However, in my opinion, Nan San is more worth to climb, not so high and the view is amazing from above. Remind me a bit of Ma An San in Liuzhou. Nan San not only has rocks, it also has a small zoo with quite interesting animal to see, like camel, yak, tiger, bear, and kinds of birds like peacock and ostrich. We also BBQ there.
The other tourist object, which really really no need to visit :_P is Tung Hu Gong Yuan. Eastern Lake Park is a park in the center of the city, an old park that not much attention from the people. There’s a lake with lots of lotus leaves, unfortunately, in the spring, the flower don’t bloom, and only bloom in the summer.
This is the part I want to share the most. As I mentioned before, the restaurants full. Full with strangers who come and go, cargo owner, which I can say is a boss of their own business. That’s why hotels and restaurants were full, not to mentioned bar and nightclub and massage. As I come over and over to China, I become more familiar with the foods and don’t know why, they taste more and more delicious to my Indonesian tongue.
Favorite breakfast is mifen. Noodle, no, not noodle. It’s Kwetiaw (rice noodle) with meat (usually pork meat), and soup (usually boiled pig bone). Our favorite is the one near ex-Dewi’s place. Every driver who picked us know the place. My favorite is jiao je (boiled dumpling with pork meat and vegetable inside) while Roy never missed ju jiao (pig leg). At every opportunity, we must go there, never bored.
The other place is duck mifen, next to the above place. Also the one that near old town (which introduced by Bely – one of our translator), dumpling with to fu soup. Other is the one that also in the old town (introduced by Zhong Li – accounting staff), also mi fen with pork meat and ju jiao, but no jiao je. Last visit, we also eat mifen near the lake, also delicious.
Other breakfast is mien pao (bread) which for us, not delicious but can be eaten :_P Just to save time when we were in a rush to arrive at office.
Lunch and Dinner
My very favorite food is Ju du jie. It’s a hotpot soup with chicken and pig’s intestines (usus). Ju du Jie mean Pig’s intestines and chicken. Usually, we add potato (malingsu), ear mushrooms (mu’er), sea cucumber (trepang), to fu and seng cai (a kind of vegetable). The soup is very delicious, nothing can compare :_) I don’t used to like Ju du, but this one has become my favorite. Just wondering it, make me feel hungry ha ha.
Second, is the sea food porridge (hoi cou), porridge with crab, scrimp, catfish, and bamboo shell (seng je lo). All materials are still alive when they were picked and weight. A big bowl of porridge are served 30 minutes later. RMB 165 enough to keep 4 persons full after taking 5 or 6 small bowls of it.
Xiao Wei Yang (Little Lamb) also considered our favorite. The concept is similar to Xiao Fei Yang (Little Sheep) we ate at Nanning. There’s spicy soup and ordinary soup to cook your lamb, to fu, fish, beef, and vegetable. As usual, we also add mu’er and malingsu.
We also try cat meat here (+ donkey), but not so delicious. Please refer to my other blog.
Barbeque here also not bad. Sau Kau, they call it. Once we have sau kau in the square, but this time seems already close. Last time also eat sau kau near the lake. Also delicious. And this time we also make our own sau kau in Nan San with Pak Ansel and team, Manager Lou, Bely, Jenifer, Xiao Tang and others.
Other restaurants like Gui Huang, Yang Yang, Jin Long Jai and Ron’s canteen is not bad at all. We go several times to Jin Long Jai and Yang Yang, just near our hotel, newly opened.
Other food is office’s canteen food. There is 2 choices: from Mao Er (they call it cat foot – mao fan) or from Lumberyard (Cumucang). Both is not preferable :_P But sometimes, due to busy time, we have no other choice but to order from there. However, when eat at Lumberyard, the food is not bad, because we can have special order :_) In Mao Er, no special order.
I am scheduled to visit here twice a year. With my mandarin getting better, I don’t think I have other choice and say no to my boss :_( One side, I can learn more mandarin and have great opportunity to visit more places I’ve never been, but on the other side, I don’t want to leave my family so often and for quite a long time (a month). Especially these times, when we’re expecting a baby…