Tropical Guangzhou was our first stop (a stopover, really; we just stayed for one day). But we managed to visit a few places in town. (Click on each image to see the high-resolution version)
The first place we went to was Yue Xiu Park (越秀公园), which hosts the famous "Five Goat Statue", a symbol of Guangzhou.
Five Goat Statue
Almost as soon as I reached the statue, I saw my first new bird of the trip -- an Oriental Magpie-robin (鵲鴝). The sky was gray at the time and the bird was backlit, so the picture did not turn out very well, but hey, a new bird is a new bird.
Oriental Magpie-robin (鵲鴝)
Just below this statue, I got another new bird almost immediately -- a Common Tailorbird (长尾缝叶莺). This was a very active bird, darting around in the underbrush, very hard to get a glimpse of. But I managed a few decent shots.
Common Tailorbird (长尾缝叶莺)
The new birds just keep coming, such as this Black-throated Bushtit (红头长尾山雀).
Black-throated Bushtit (红头长尾山雀)
And two birds that I really expected to see (as I did some research before the trip) -- the Japanese White-eye (暗綠繡眼鳥) and the Red-whiskered Bulbul (红耳鹎).
Japanese White-eye (暗綠繡眼鳥)
Red-whiskered Bulbul (红耳鹎)
But my last new bird came rather unexpected, and it was probably most exciting -- I heard loud calls from a tree and looked up: there it was, a Great Barbet (大拟啄木鸟)! Arguably it was my first true tropical bird, it is gaudy in color as loud in the noise it makes.
Great Barbet (大拟啄木鸟)
Later in the day we made a stop at the Temple of Six Banyan Trees (六榕寺). This is a temple with a long history, the plaque at the entrance purportedly bears the calligraphy of the great 11th century poet and calligrapher Su Dongpo.
Golden Buddhas in the Hall of Mahavira
Six Banyan Plaque
Our last stop was at Chen Clan Ancestral Hall (陈家祠). This is a 19th century household with many intricate plaster, brick and wooden carvings. These carvings are certainly impressive enough, but my attitude toward this kind of art is rather ambivalent: on one hand they are really beautiful, on the other hand, when, as a people, we dedicate so much effort to these intricate yet trivial art, we slow down or stop innovation of more profound importance.
Chen Clan Ancestral Hall