Yes, this post is about a month late – and if you’ve been following my social channels, you’ll know in early April I traveled literally across the globe, on a work trip, to…China. Below is my recap of sorts – a visual diary of this faraway world. Seven cities, two weeks,,,, are you ready?!

Shanghai -photo by Quiet Lion Creations


SHANGHAI

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Our first stop in China, and probably my favorite stop of all. Arriving in the late evening (and leaving in early morning), we really had to make the most of our short time in the city. Our hotel was right across from a huge walking street, which boasted both retail stores and restaurants, plus the occasional tourist trap. A short ten minute walk and we arrived at The Bund, and the beautifully lit skyline shimmered and danced off its waterfront setting. It was night, and the electro-neon pops of rainbow hues emanated from the contemporary high-rises. But take a 180 degree turn, and you were met with the complete opposite; massive colonial-type stone buildings reflected Shanghai’s past. That ironic mix of old and new seemed almost unreal, but definitely adds to the city’s character and charm.

The next day we stubbornly awoke at 5 am, hoping to catch the infamous Bund sunrise. I’m so glad we did. The sheer difference in color, mood and aura from last night’s light show was validation enough. Contrasting the Vegas glitz and glam, the skyline stood as a ghostly silhouette, against tanzanite fog, like a mirage of sorts. As the sun rose higher and burned off the shrouding clouds, peaches and rose gold tints emerged from the purple haze. At about 6:30 the sun was full blast, creeping behind the TV tower and ultimately becoming the center of attention.

Leaning on these early morning rays of sun as our remembrances, we begrudgingly scurried back to our hotel to pack. It was on to the next city.

 

NOLA style
Shoes by Urban Outfitters
Vest by
Necklace by Quiet Lion Cre


Yiwu Market -photo by Quiet Lion Creations


YIWU

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The second stop, located more centrally within the continent, was the large city of Yiwu. The mood here was a total contrast to the high-rise, high-energy vibes of Shanghai. Yiwu had a more “community” type feel, but was certainly still bustling with  both tourists and natives alike. The Yiwu market drew the attention of most visitors – packed with literally everything you could imagine, this monstrosity of a building is where we spent most of our time. This is the largest commodity market in all of China, and we could see why.

Yiwu Market -photo by Quiet Lion Creations


GUANGZHOU

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After escaping the slightly chilly weather of both Shanghai and Yiwu, we landed in a more southern part of China – Guangzhou. The air was humid, the terrain tropical, and definitely a lot more on the warmer side. It kind of felt similar to the weather of Florida, which I definitely needed after spending a week shivering in the North China air!

Guangzhou was a fireball of shoppers, workers, taxi drivers, bike riders, moped users and us – the Laowai (foreigner or tourist). It’s a very important city, and we could see why. Again, we spent most of the day browsing through the many indoor markets (and even picked up some sparkly treasures). Luckily we had a translator – I don’t even want to imagine what sort of mess it would have been without her!

We stayed in the older part of the city, right outside of a large walking mall with both American and Chinese stores. I really liked Guangzhou, and wish we had more time to explore outside the markets. Last note — Guangzhou had Starbucks, which I hadn’t seen up to that point – yasssssss.


Yiwu Market -photo by Quiet Lion Creations


SHENZHEN / DONNGUAN / SHIJIAZHUANG

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Shenzhen and Dongguan, located around the same area as Guangzhou in Southeast China,  both reminded me a little of Yiwu. It was quieter in these cities, and I didn’t notice as much foot traffic. But then again, I’m not an expert, but just a Laowai :).

Shijiazhuang is located back in North China, not far from Beijing. The only thing I can say about this city is wow,,,,, SMOG. I was warned about the smog before going to the country, but really hadn’t noticed anything really that bad up till that point. The pollution smell hit me straight after coming off the plane in Shanghai, but it wasn’t as intense as I had suspected. it would be. Pollution is MUCH worse in North China, and you could definitely see that in Shijiazhuang. It looked like the entire city was covered in thick fog, and everything was hazy. There’s a lot of pharmaceutical factories located here, which contribute to that pollution.

I don’t have really any pictures from these cities. It was all work here, no play!

Yiwu Market -photo by Quiet Lion Creations


HONG KONG

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Our last stop – Hong Kong. I was legit super excited for this part of the trip – all play, no work! We stayed on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong (the mainland part, separated from Hong Kong island by the harbor), and had an awesome view.
The sheer amount of high rises here is insane.

First stopping at Times Square and then browsing through some street markets, we definitely had soaked up the energy — it was nuts. The amount of markets, stores, cars and people packed into these small places was unlike anything I had ever seen.

What’s great about Hong Kong is that a lot of people there speak English – it’s definitely a world “city” (or nation, whatever you want to call it – it is not part of China, though). There were tons of Chanel, Dior, etc stores but they are definitely out of our budget, so we took a pass! Fashion was key here, and the place certain has a specific style. They don’t really do bohemian fashion there (which kinda is my thing) — they are all about the tailored look, sharp silhouettes, and platform sneakers. Go figure.

Oh, and did I mention the cat cafes? Small coffee cafes where you can literally pet cats all day. I’m not opposed.

The day seemed to go by at lightning speed, reflecting our whole China trip. As it got darker, we returned to Kowloon and waited outside for the light show (which unfortunately never came) but still witnessed the lighted boats sailing in the harbor.

COPYRIGHT
Because I take all photos for my blog, the images within this post are all copyright Allison Beth Cooling for Quiet Lion Creations.
If you’d like permission to use a photo, email me at allison@quietlioncreations.com

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