The Guangzhou train station is a mix of modern escalators and old architecture left over from the 80's that looks strange compared to the Metro I just got off of, which is hyper modern, ultra clean and super fast. Even the escalators at the train station are slower than the ones in the Metro. Now I’m on the KTT Express train from Guangzhou to Hong Hom station in Hong Kong, and we’re Wi-Fi, which is pretty incredible! This is the train that commuters take between the two cities, and one of the cheapest and fastest and cleanest ways to get between them. On the train I get a free bottle of water. I remember about 4 years ago buying steamed corn on the cob or chicken wings too, but I haven’t seen that in a couple of years, today they have instant ramen noodles and English style sandwiches with the crusts cut off. (Someone’s iPhone is ringing in the background.) Outside, palms and lush tropical farmland fly by, interspersed with factories and apartment towers; farmers hoe this fertile land by hand sometimes using hand made tools. This is the dichotomy and the beauty of the delta region of the Pearl River.
Riding this train, I realize how much I will miss Guangzhou, how my heart is saying: don't leave, not yet. How this beautiful, cultured, capitulating -and sometimes gritty- country has captured my heart. I remember just two years ago describing it as backwards : imagine looking in the rear view mirror and there she is, China. Things that would naturally make sense going one way are inevitably going the other way here, and I found it infuriatingly strange. And I wonder now if I can wait a whole year to come back to my friends, my teacher, and a city I adore. The things that used to confuse me about China are the things I now find the most beautiful.
My trip is almost over, save for one day of play left in Hong Kong. I have some favorite spots I’m going to hit, and a little bit of shopping to do. This morning my friends and I already talked about what adventures we’d like to go on next year – which mountains, which teas, what cultures do we want to learn more about? There are a couple of options on the table, but you can be sure it’s going to be an amazing trip with lots of pictures, insights and we’ll be back at looking for some of the greatest teas China has to offer.