For every city I’ve visited, I would climbed up to the tallest building and observed how the landscape stretches out. I have seen the canals warmly embracing Amsterdam when I climbed to the top of Westerkerk; I have observed the well-lit streets extending like an octopus accompanied by the soundtrack of Osaka trains’ cacophony on its rails when standing on the top of Sky Building Umeda; and I have seen the signature billboards on which brands fight for a spot of exposure, next to the promenades and avenues where the yellow cabs race through like maniacs, as I stood on Rockefeller Center in the city that never sleeps (and later, on the newly constructed World Trade Center.)
I can name each and every single name of the top decks, but the fun fact is, I rarely put them on my list when my friends turn to me for local tips. Rather, I suggest spots like coffee shops hidden in small alleys, designed and constructed by the owners themselves (Nem Coffee, Tokyo), or low key cocktail bars sitting with facades that don’t give away the establishment’s true intentions, while the bartender welcomes you in unpretentiously (Dear Irving, I miss your cocktail), or even bookstores where books are loved (I’m looking at you, Strand Bookstore).
I am proud of the city we are based in. With more skyscrapers cutting the edge of the sky, Guangzhou stuns its locals and visitors with its fascinating views. However, besides the high-rises dominating the concrete world, it’s the small unique characters, details, and interesting people that make one time visits into a long term memories.
A gentleman/expat working in Zhuhai visited us last night. Before he left, he wandered around the store, taking in every little detail, almost as if reading our story through every objects, from our sockets, to our pipelines, to even our hand towels. ‘The more I look, the more I discover.’ He exclaimed. He ended up extending the time he stayed and joked ‘I wouldn’t mind living here.’
I felt a flood of glee and satisfaction then, as I am pretty sure this one time visit will turn into one heck of a memory.
我能记起每一座我去过的高楼的名字。但有趣的是，每当有朋友向我请教目的地指南的时候，我很少把这些高楼放在推荐列表。相反，我会推荐一些小小的店铺。比如隐藏在小巷中间，由店主夫妇设计并亲自搭建的咖啡店 （东京的Nem Coffee）；从外表根本看不出来，但是走进去，bartender会用毫不假装的热情欢迎你的低调鸡尾酒吧（Dear Irving，我开始怀念你们的鸡尾酒了）；甚至书是真正被喜爱的书店（Strand Bookstore，我的脑海时刻浮现你）。
昨晚，一位美国的绅士造访。在离开之前，他又花了一些时间，欣赏着我们店铺的每一个小细节，仿佛从一件件小物品 — 插座，管道，甚至厕所当中的擦手纸—翻阅着我们的故事。他称赞道“我看得越多，发现得越多”。最终，他停留了更长的时间并且开玩笑说“我真想住在这里”。