Big City vs. Small City In China

Well, I am back from my one week vacation to Shenzhen and Guangzhou in Guangdong Province.  I have so much to write about I am going to have to break it up in to several blogs.  There was just too much happening to put it into one.

40116-Guangzhou (Photo credit: xiquinhosilva)

So, I decided to start with the big stuff and then go down.   If you’re not familiar with these two cities I will tell you this; Guangzhou is the largest city in China and Shenzhen comes in a close second.  Compared to where I live .. it would be like….. Guangzhou is New York City and .. my city is Chinatown.    Yeah… huge difference.

I have to say that although the city is so large that I would be lost immediately if I had been traveling there alone; it is very beautiful.   It reminded me of my Florida home so much with the palm trees and warm weather.  No wonder so many people want to live here.

Due to the fact that are millions of people from all over the world here; it is catered to the foreigner.  So, of course you know I was in heaven…. there were clothes that fit me, and food that was normal…. and some food that was abnormal… I will share that in another blog.   I felt the people were friendlier and … the staring and point was much, much less than in my city.

It made me wonder to myself, how did I live in this small city for so long without going crazy.  I realized now why people are so surprised to see me live in such a small place.

Shenzhen River
Shenzhen River (Photo credit: yuan2003)

I think it is like a person who is poor … they do not realize they are poor until they meet other people who are rich and they start to compare their life to them.    I am feeling this way right now…. I did not realize how small and how small thinking the people are in this town I live in until I went to a city like Guangzhou or Shenzhen.

Don’t get me wrong.. I am so happy to have started my Chinese life in this small town … I have learned so much about Chinese thinking and traditions.   I know so much more than other foreigners regarding the inner workings of Chinese culture.   I have met people who will be my friends for a life time and people I will always remember.   But I can really see now … what I have been missing by living in this small city.

I think after getting out of this 4 year bubble…. I am ready to hit the big city for a while and my hubby is agreeing with me… after he has been traveling around China.

Sooooo… we are thinking a big relocation is coming… soon.  We need this to warm up his parents for the major move to the states… baby steps.

I am going to put out quite a few blogs in the next few days talking about my trip because I got a new tattoo in China…. and the crazy foods in Guangdong Province… and the People… bound to be a page turner…. trust me.

I am a bit tired now from the return home but don’t worry I will be writing a lot more soon.

until next time….



10 thoughts on “Big City vs. Small City In China

  1. Actually in Shenzhen people’s reactions to seeing a foreigner can differ a lot depending on the area. Where I was living before, I would get a lot of staring, pointing at me with their fingers and hear lots of people call me laowai. Where I’m living now, I hardly hear people call me laowai (knock on wood) and people come up to me and just start speaking with me in Chinese.

    But compared to your city, in Shenzhen the staring and calling out laowai to others must be a lot less. After all, foreigners aren’t a rarity here.

    I’ve been following your blog for a while, I really enjoy reading it. Looking forward to hearing what crazy food you’ve had while staying in Guangdong. I see lots of “dog meat” signs, but none of my Chinese friends here eat dog meat (not that I am curious to try). Otherwise, I haven’t come across any strange food yet, or maybe I just don’t consider certain foods strange anymore?

  2. Guangzhou’s got a lot to see and do. But even it’s starting to get a big boring after living here for a year. One of the good things though is that there are shows and festivals almost every week. Lots of foreign music groups and shopping fairs too.

  3. Robert

    Millions of people from all over the world here? I spent a week there about two months ago and only ran into one foreigner… and he was from Madagascar and had been in China for a couple of years… and was leaving Guangzhou the next day to return to uni.

    Friendly? Well, I have a theory that all big cities all over the world are the same… in general, not friendly.

    Food? Well, you probably need to know how and what to order. Possibly if you’re used to Hunan food everyday you might find Cantonese food to be without flavour. But that’s more a question of what you’re used to.

    Language – I was amazed to find Cantonese so alive… I couldn’t believe I was in mainland China. Perhaps they aren’t so open to Mandarin speakers as other parts of China are… Oh, and well, foreigners are the ‘devil/ghost people’ in Cantonese… and some will admit that that’s our nickname because of the way foreigners treated the Chinese in the old days.

    1. Everyone has their own experiences…. but I went there at the time the Canton fair was going on … and YES.. I met people from all over the world…. Russia, Iceland, Monaco, Ethiopia, Germany, Holland, Ireland… etc.
      My friends live there and took me to many different places to eat….. and yes some was crazy food.. but .. some was really tasty…. (coming from Zhejiang Province where the food is all salty this food tasted like heaven)

      There can be some mean people in a big city .. i know that.. but honestly.. everyone I met was kind .. maybe because I can speak Chinese and I am friendly to them… and they were friendly back…. I even took a few photos … with salesgirls.. and my newest tatto artist….. I was his first American to tattoo….

      My week down there was really nice… but I am sure there is a down side .. like to every place….

    2. I think maybe there’s something to that Mandarin/Cantonese comment — I spoke perfectly normal Mandarin everywhere I went, and got the cold shoulder from everyone. I’m not going back….at least not anytime soon.

      Yeah, it’s totally possible about the food — I did somewhat enjoy the 云吞面, and I found some 茶叶虾 that was pretty good….but other than that, I didn’t really enjoy it. I live up in the Northwest (Lanzhou), so there’s a lot of Sichuan, Chongqing, and Xinjiang food……lots of flavor, so I didn’t find the “natural flavor” appealing. You’re right about that

  4. wow, we seem to have had completely different experiences in Guangzhou hahaha

    NOBODY was friendly to me in Guangzhou except for other foreigners. Nobody….. the food had no flavor anywhere (except the Hunan and Chongqing restaurants I could escape to) and it was so smoggy and hot in the summer that I just wanted to go back to Lanzhou haha

    I’m very interested to hear about your experience, though! Guangzhou has a lot of history, and that, for me, was the one point of interest….I’m looking forward to your perspective!

What do you think about this?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s