Driving through the middle of Guangzhou was a challenge. The bus driver never batted an eyelid. He went at the same sedate speed, blowing his horn at regular intervals. The roads were full. The cars, however you could almost count on the fingers on one hand. There were hardly any. This was made up by the large number of trucks, tractors and bicycles. That was the biggest change I noticed when I returned to China a few years later. The ratios had changed. In 1979 it seemed like one million bicycles to each car, and now it seems the other way round.
The Department Store was huge, yet there wasn't much of interest to buy. Lavatory paper...
...yet more lavatory paper and little else bar the rice paper fans and the Mao hats.
Leaving was not hard. The group was deposited at the brand new airport to catch the flight to Kweilin, a mere up and down at only 45 minutes away.
'No take photos,' the stewardess said gruffly. 'Not allowed.' She leant across and pulled the shutter down the window, just in case anyone was tempted.
She proceded to hand out a bag of sweets and an orange plastic key ring with CAAC written on it. We were in the first class compartment of a Hawker Siddeley Trident, a plane which had been flown by BEA in the UK but hadn't been seen around for the last few years. So this is where they have all gone, I thought to myself. As we walked down the plane's steps onto the hot tarmac, I looked back at the tail. It may have been a trick of the light or a trick of the brain, but I thought you could just see the outline of the BEA logo under the pristine white paint.