Since our last concert in Shenzhen we’ve been lucky enough to have a few days off to soak up the culture that Shenzhen and Guangzhou have to offer. On Monday we had a free day in Shenzhen which is one of China’s four ‘Top Tier Cities’ along with Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai. Interestingly, Shenzhen was only a small village until 1980 when it became a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). It now boasts a population of around 15 million and has an impressive cultural centre which includes the concert hall we performed in on the Sunday evening and the pool that the boys visited on their day off. Despite it being a city in its youth it does have a few sights to see – a number of us managed to visit the People’s Park in the north of the city which has a hill that commands expansive views of the city while other clerks had a chance to go shopping in the numerous malls and enjoy some interesting culinary delights.
On Tuesday we had an afternoon departure for Guangzhou. This all went without a hitch except that Mr Hawkesworth (my roommate and fellow bass) and I decided to inadvertently attempt to break the world record for the fastest hotel check out time by waking up at 13.05 when the bus was due to leave at 13.00… If any of you are looking for advice on how to exit a building speedily after packing all your belongings it’s Henry you want to talk to – he managed an impressive three minute ‘pack up and go’ compared to my measly six minutes…thankfully this didn’t cause us to miss any onward connections!
As Sophie has already mentioned, we’re staying in a beautiful hotel here in Guangzhou – the boys reliably inform me that this is a “sik” place to be accommodated in. I think that’s positive…! Certainly us Clerks have enjoyed making the most of the swimming pool, sauna, steam room and the exceptional breakfasts. Not only is the hotel a fantastic place but the city has also turned out to be full of great places to visit. Today half the clerks went to one of China’s biggest water parks and the rest of us who weren’t feeling quite so adventurous took to the streets to see the city’s top sights. These include Shamian Island which has a fascinating mix of French and British Colonial architecture, the Sacred Heart Church, the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall and the Liurong Lu, Six Banyan Temple Pagoda.
Tomorrow we’ve more free time in the morning before our rehearsal and concert in Guangzhou Opera House in the afternoon and evening. Till next time…! EK