24 Nov - 27 Nov 2012 Guiyang

East Asia
Guìzhōu Province
Sichuan Alley 26
Adequate double room with private bathroom (clean Asian squat toilet), wifi only in the lobby, for CNY 140.- or US$ 22.50 per night. Very (foreigner-)friendly and co-operative English speaking young staff.
Beer: 500-ml bottles of cold Snow Beer (c. 3.3 % alc./vol.) for a fair CNY 4.- or US$ 0.65 from the hostel.

Click below for an interactive satellite view of the Guiyang Backpacker Youth Hostel in Guiyang, which we would recommend, and for directions:
Note the random 0 - 500 m misalignment between Goggle's maps and satellite views of the motherland, courtesy of the paranoid Chinese Communist Party.


Attempting to fathom the contradictions of contemporary Red China (e.g. many extremely poor people vs. the potty-mouthed nouveau riche; white-tiled socialist-era workers’ housing vs. stylish and luxurious apartments; dirty but lively wet markets vs. glitzy but empty international-brand boutiques; rusty Chinese tricycles vs. shiny German luxury cars; aggressively begging cripples vs. well-groomed members of the Communist Partyin totally non-touristy Guiyang, a rather nondescript megacity populated by 23 different minorities (the most populous of which is the Miao people, in addition to the ethnic Han), whilst ticking off the city's “must-see" sights: (i) one of the nation’s largest Mao statues at Renmin Square, (ii) the Ming-dynasty Cuiwei Gongyuan near the triple-roofed 1528 CE Jiaxiu  Tower, also called First Scholar's Tower, situated on Fuyu Bridge over the heavily polluted Nanming River, and (iii) another Ming-dynasty specialty, the restored Wenchang Pavilion with its fake city walls.

Hibernating during a week-long spell of abnormally cold weather (Aldous Huxley: “Your true traveler finds boredom rather agreeable than painful; it is the symbol of his liberty, his excessive freedom; he accepts his boredom, when it comes, not merely philosophically, but almost with pleasure...”) and warming up with the help of (i) many strong hot grogs made from excellent Chinese sorghum/rice/corn hooch aka baijiu (with 37 - 52 % alc./vol.; our favourite booze: the hangover-free Beijing Red Star aka Hongxing brand for only CNY 8.- per 0.5-litre bottle), (ii) delicious pescetarian/vegetarian (“…wŏmen bù chī gŏuròu…”) hotpot meals for all-inclusive CNY 35.- or US$ 5.60 at the many old-school hole-in-the-wall diners (with cigarette buts on the floor, plastic-film covered tables and a wok fired over a flame of rocket-launch proportions) in our rugged down-town neighbourhood and (iii) the almost life-saving discovery that the powerful Changhong air-conditioning in our room (“Made in China”) could be used as a room heater up to the comfortable temperature of 32° C.

Click below for more blog posts about delicious Chinese food

Click below for a summary of this year's travels
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