Nicholas Quirke was on the move again it had been 4 months since he has last journeyed into the interior of China. He was going south to Guangzhou, formerly know as Canton and famous for its food, its abundant flora and for yet another variation of the Chinese language. The city was founded under the name Panyu in 214 BC. Four hundred years later, it was named the capital of Guang prefecture and people began to call the city Guangzhou. In the 1500s when Portugal established a trading monopoly the name Canton came about, but it is believed to be a European phonetic mispronunciation of Guangdong and though the city was never officially named Canton, westerners used the name on maps and travel schedules, and in geography and travel books until the late 20th century.. An early flight meant an early rise at 4.30am and being pulled from sleep by the alarm disorientated him. They left the apartment in the dark but once they arrived at the airport via the Daxing Express the night had evaporated. The plane was delayed due to weather conditions which did not bode well for the flight and it was a small plane and he expected there to be some turbulence. He watched a really touching and sad film ‘So Long My Son’ which, spans 20 years of post cultural revolution history and charts the effects of some of the more draconian of CCP policies, specifically the one child policy on a small group of friends. Ironically as one couple took a flight and experience turbulence his own plane went through a series of severe bumps through the atmosphere. As soon as they arrived he felt the rise in temperature and regretted being so over dressed. After checking in, though the room they had booked was not available as the previous inhabitant extended their stay, the went straight to the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall built in 1888 to provide short term accommodation for members of the Chen Clan when they came to Guangzhou. It is magnificently decorated is ‘the pearl of Liangman architecture’. It was an outstanding colourful sight with use of myriad materials and techniques from wood carving, stone carving, Stucco relief, pottery figures, iron and copper ornamentation and murals. The next stop was to visit the old colonial Shamian district, a lovely, tree-lined neighborhood bordering the Pearl River and once home to foreign merchants. It was a laid-back area ideal for strolling, looking at the street art or stopping for a meal or cup of tea which, they did in the beautiful ‘Starbuck’s Reserve’. On sale were the conglomerates first Vegan Cakes. He posted the pictures on the ‘Meatless March’ We Chat site and it created a storm that raged on the social media for 2 days with people saying it wasn’t Vegan, then it being verified as legitimate by customer services, before someone else would question its ingredients again. They took in the views along the the riverbank including a wharf side building where Dr Sun Yat Sen began his activities, before going back to their district to eat. They had great views of the skyline from their restaurant where they enjoyed a delicious meal. They then went in search of Chinese herb tea, which is specific to the area and is very bitter but has medicinal properties. It tasted harsh but he liked it. They took in the awesome, towering night sights of the city and walked along the river to see the renowned Canton tower. It had been a long day and he was footsore and ready for sleep when they got back to the hotel.

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