Today in Guangzhou it was 25°C in the shade and overcast
Guangzhou, known in western society as Canton, is the capital of Guangdong. It is a busy trade hub for China and has perpetual smog due to the manufacturing industries. Its official population is listed at 10.5 million but is easily a few million more. The vast majority speak Cantonese, Mandarin being a required second language. It has wet winters and long humid summers. The rainy season is generally from May to September. The best time to visit is late autumn (October-November) and early spring (March-April).
Guangzhou is known for the very best Cantonese cuisine and boasts the largest number of restaurants per capita in China.
The above information was gleaned from Lonely Planet, China, 2009 edition.
I can enhance this information with my own personal observations.
The sky is always grey and the night is almost starless, due to the constant smog. The city is really clean, exceptionally so when you consider the population is almost a third of Canada’s. Everyone is very friendly and helpful, many eager to practice their English no matter what their level of proficiency. Many of them say they can only speak a little English whether they can only say hello or are completely fluent. They get a kick out of watching foreigners, at least me anyways. The women dress well, usually in beautiful dresses wearing shoes of every style and colour imaginable. The food is inexpensive and very good but I find dishes with meat always come with bones. The Metro is amazing. Modern, clean and very affordable.
Other than having a lot of visible security personnel around the city, you would never think you are in a communist regime. Most of these officials are just for show; they can be caught sleeping on the job often. I have seen people argue with them and win, continuing what they were doing in the first place. The choice of consumer electronics here is mind boggling. Capitalism is something else with stores sprouting up at a moments notice anywhere and everywhere. Business is dog eat dog, no protectionism here. Nothing stops anyone from opening a fruit market right next to yours or selling chicken from a street wagon right in front of a KFC.
The biggest negative for me so far is the Chinese pedestrian and auto circulation. Drivers will ignore red lights, slowly crawl their way through any crowd of pedestrians crossing the street and wander all over the streets. People will walk right in front of you at any time and suddenly stop anywhere at any place. It is not unusual to find entrances or exits bottlenecked because 2 or 3 people have decided to stop and wait for “who knows what”. Bicyclists will ride through crowds of pedestrians walking on the sidewalk. Honestly, walking in China really has to be experienced to be (not) appreciated.
It is going to be fun living in GZ for the year.