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5 hours in Guangzhou

From our arrival gate, it was a 5 minute walk to customs and immigration.

Where we were for a good half hour if not more.   We took advantage of the 24/72 hour visa-free transit which is available in many Chinese cities including Guangzhou.  And just as FlyetTalk's Short hair Francis predicted, our short stay prompted a few questions.  We were first told that we didn't have enough time (less the 8 hours) to qualify.  Then shuttled off to a secondary area where we waited for 30 minutes while our request was processed.  We chatted with another westerner who had lived in Guangzhou and was back visiting friends, and reassured us that this was just part of the bureaucratic paper-pushing Chinese dog and pony show.  Sure enough, a few minutes later, we were approved to enter the country.

We had pre-arranged for a local private guide (highly rated on Trip Advisor) to meet us, show us Guangzhou and drop us back at the airport later that night.   Xaq was waiting for us with a name sign and we exited the terminal and our driver "Peter" pulled up a short time later.  

By this time, it was nearly 5:30pm and we're headed off for the city center of Guangzhou.

In rush hour, it took more than an hour.  Given our later arrival and visa issues, we were at least 90 minutes behind schedule.  So we decided to skip the previously planned Six Banyan Temple, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and Pearl River cruise and go right to dinner at a local Cantonese restaurant that Xaq has suggested.

Xaq ordered for the table and we thoroughly enjoyed his selections.

Rain from the approaching typhoon had picked up during dinner as we found Peter and headed for a nightime tour of new Guangzhou. 

Despite the off and on rain, we got out at the new Guangzhou Library for our walking tour of impressive new Guangzhou. 

In the distance, iconic Canton Tower. 

We took the subway for the 1 stop ride under the Pearl River to Canton Tower.

And a look back across the Pearl River.

At the base of the Canton Tower, we met Peter for the 70 minute drive back to the airport.

With a population of 13 milliion, Guangzhou is the 3rd largest city China.  Five hours is way too short to really do it justice.