Sunday, February 13, 2011

Guangzhou Lizhiwan (荔枝湾)

In Seoul, South Korea, there is a place called Cheonggyecheon.  It is one of the great achievements of the incumbent President - Lee Myung-bak, when he was the mayor of Seoul.  Cheonggyecheon used to be nothing but a polluted, smelly stream in the city.  The previous mayors chose to simply cover up this smelly stream with concrete and forget about it, but Lee decided to do something to it and restore it to its original beauty.  And indeed he made it.  Then a years earlier, some government officials from Guangdong province in China visited Cheonggyecheon, so they decided to do the same, then came the Lizhiwan.

A picture is worth a thousand words.  Here you see the new Lizhiwan at night.  Elegant bridges, winding water ways, blue-grey brick buildings of typical South China architecture, illuminated under the Chinese New Year festive light-up, bump boats ferrying tourists, local and non-local, along the waterways.

Walking along Lizhiwan, you might wonder whether time has gone back to the glory days of Lizhiwan, which was the richest part of Guangzhou City in the days of Qing Dynasty.  Being the only port allowed to trade with foreigners, Guangzhou was thriving in business.  Came with the upper class life-style of the business elites.  Lizhiwan has the highest concentration of famous restaurants with history dating back to the Qing Dynasty, and they are still in business and thriving today.

Next time when you visit Guangzhou, pay Lizhiwan a visit.  You have a feast to your taste buds, as well as to your eyes.

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