A few nights ago, I was stuck at Guangzhou South Railway station. I thought of either to take a taxi to Shenzen. Or to find somewhere local to stay until the next morning. China is portrayed as a backward communist state from the western point of view.
But the truth on the ground tends to be extremely pragmatic capitalism!
Hotels in Guangzhou
If you’ve never been there, it is a metropolis that would put most European airports to shame. It’s big! But it’s also at least a mile away from the nearest hotels. Or conurbations that might have hotels.
But again this is China. Where there’s a market Chinese capitalist pragmatism always kicks in. After a lot of procrastination on my part, I was approached by a woman who offered a cheap room RMB 128 ($18). Not only did it come with free transfer. But a lift back in the morning for my next train. I went for it.
Hotels near train stations and airports are a thing out here. They are hardly earth-shattering. But they do the job intended very well. My place were decent enough. But it has a squat toilet. This was not important for now. Because I had to eat.
Food near Guangzhou South Railway Station
These backwaters of the cities all tend to have at least one creature comfort in store. That is late night restaurants that serve simple food. Usually the noodle variety. That are cheap as hell.
I speak Chinese. But my reading is poor. I have my one go-to dish that never disappoints, Fried Noodles. There are some used to the Chinese fare served in the west. When you order Chicken Chow Mein, it’s actually Chou Mein (rarely with chicken). I asked if they had meat and egg fried noodles. Which after 10 minutes were duly served to me.
To order this in Chinese, you ask for Chǎomiàn. Or if you can read and write Chinese, it is 炒面. It is a good simple staple. And at least when you are in the south of China, reliable and good . In Beijing, it is very different. Mine came with pork, shredded omelet, some greens, and not too much spice. The condiments offered were the Chinese version of hot sauce, Soy Sauce, and black vinegar. I find their white vinegar great. But the dark vinegar not to my palate to say the least!
After sexing up my meal with what they had to offer, the Fried Noodles more than did the trick. Not too salty. And as spicy as I decided (which made the next day’s train journey harder than I expected). For drinks, I went for a good standard Harbin Blue beer. This is actually owned by Budweiser now. And whilst he might not be the benchmark for great beer, Harbin is. Without doubt, the best beer in China (at least in my humble opinion).
Overall, I love the decent meal that was good with the beer. It keeps me happy in my layover. As well as the place where I stayed that dropped me back to Guangzhou South Railway Station in the morning. It’s no reinventing of the wheel. But provided everything I needed for a layover.
Next stop Shenzhen!