Guangzhou: The Psychogeography of West Haizhu

Earlier this year during the winter vacation, I took to exploring the lesson known nooks and crannies of my island home of Haizhu, these pictures illustrate what I found.

The walk: Alighting the metro at Baogang Dadao, I made my way to Zhuangtou Park. At its western end I turned left onto Nanbian Lu, then right onto Nantai Lu which was deserted for the impending Chinese New Year. After another left turn into Nanshi Lu things become a whole lot more rustic and hence much more interesting. Don’t get me wrong I like gentrification, such as the Taigucang Shangwugang complex and Volunteer Park I’d chanced on a few days beforehand but you need the bucolic terrain to balance it.

There are a few derelict buildings and some electric substations. There is also a community and I venture down Nanshi Xian 1st Street to see a photography studio (though I don’t go in). I next enter Nanshi Xian 2nd Street and follow this down to a shipyard at the waters edge. Two elder men are having afternoon tea and we greet each other.

The other reason for coming down here is I saw a design community but this was more commercial looking and within a gated security zone. Being new year there was little chance of talking to anyone and most likely no-one that could speak English and my Chinese was still abysmal. Fortunately there was plenty to photograph in the squalid lanes within.

Back on Nanshi Lu I’d noticed an easterly facing path which took my fancy. I had no prior knowledge of the locale and no idea where it might lead but that’s the fun of exploring on foot. I did know however that being China my safety was assured as the dirt, dust and stones beneath me bent a crocked way forward like a branch made of earth. Its narrowly course meant an occasional bodily adjustment to avoid oncoming motorbikes.

Some moments later I arrive at another village of humble Chinese abode (Diyuancun Unit according to my iPhone) which includes the ghost house (pic 17) and the ancestral hall (18/19) though one surmises these are not protected from the surrounding development and I imagine in the near future these poor folk will be forced from their homes.

My direction leads me back onto another section of Nanbian Lu, this section running further east hooking up with Guangzhi North 1st Road via an African Grey parrot (21). The North Road in turn met with the broad Gongye Middle Boulevard and it’s here I rejoined the subterranean world of the metro (Yangang) for the voyage back to Kecun.

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