Guangzhou in 5 senses

Smell: fermented chou4 dou4 fu (Stinky tofu) sizzling on the street corner. Like an intoxicating cross between blue cheese, roses and old socks. (Tastes like chicken… well, weird potent spicy chicken)

Feel: Precarious balance as I try to make my way down the edges of flooded alleys of Dong1pu3zhen4 after a rainstorm. Overflowing storm drains has left surfaces disturbingly greasy.

Taste: Buckwheat groats – nutty and wholesome. Pleasant surprise to find them in a bulk bin in a small supermarket here.


Sound: car horns. The “look-out-I’m-coming-through-this-narrow-street-where-people-walk-and-cycle” courtesy beep. Not so jarring as a Western hornblare, but many times more numerous, they are the commas of the city’s story.

Sight. Guang3zhou1 Train Station, on a regular Wednesday. Hundreds (thousands) of people heading out into Guang3dong1 and beyond, stretched over a massive square, and herded into chunks of dense humanity in places by metal security fences and narrow gates.


Guangzhou CBD. Gleaming glass and steel, pushed into novel and bizzare angles by modern architects.

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