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English Language Institute

My name is Wei Hang Huang (Kevin) and I am from Canton (Guangzhou), China. I like soccer and playing guitar. I love the atmosphere and environment of the ELI at Queens College. My area of study is business, and I hope to begin my new career in the United States. I want to give a special thanks to the teachers in ELI for enhancing my English skills a lot.

Why Someone Should Visit My Hometown
My hometown lies in the central city of south China. It is called Guangzhou and is also known as Canton. Located in the flourishing Pearl River Delta, the capital of Guangdong Province, it is one of the most important cities in the country, a city with a population of approximately 10 million that covers an area of 7,400 square kilometers. If you have never been to my birthplace, I highly recommend that you pay a visit to my wonderful hometown. In my view, it is a city marinating in a thick cultural atmosphere while also developing fast through intense industrialization. It is a charming city with a pleasing climate, and it is famous for many kinds of delicious dishes.

The most attractive feature of Guangzhou is that it is a combination of historic elements and modernization. Historically speaking, it was established in 214 BCE, more than 2,000 years ago. You can still find some ancient structures and ruins in the old central area of the city. The tomb of King Nanyue (240 BCE-137 BCE) and the ruins of his palace are good examples. Even the symbol of Canton, which the Statue of Five Rams, has a legendary story behind it. In ancient times the town and its area suffered from frequent famines. One day, five gods riding five rams slowly descended on Guangzhou from heaven. Every ram had a grain of rice in its mouth. The gods met the suffering people in town, gave them the rams and grains of rice, and blessed them to have good luck in the future. From then on the Guangzhou area became a prosperous land with many abundant harvests. Its inhabitants built up temples, and a special statue to immortalize those kind-hearted gods. This is how the city got its nickname "Ram City.”

In its new developed districts, on the other hand, Guangzhou boasts a lot of modern buildings and even some skyscrapers. For instance, there is Guangzhou Tower, the second-tallest TV tower in the world, reaching 600 meters. The tower was designed by a Dutch couple, Mark Hemel and Barbara Kuit. Their goal was to design a free-form tower with a rich and human-like identity that would represent Guangzhou as a dynamic and exciting city. They also wanted it to look as if it were "in movement" and "alive." The result is a very slender and tall tower that bears similarity to a female figure, which earned it the nickname "Tiny-Waist." You can get to the top of this landmark building and overlook the whole of the city. In Canton's central business area, located in Tianhe District, you can go shopping and find almost anything you could want. There are several big shopping malls, one of which is called the largest mall in Asia. It is said that it takes three days to travel around the whole shopping center, which features numerous established brand-name stores. Once my wife and I were shopping there, and got totally lost. We had to check the guide map on each floor before we moved around on it. Guangzhou is really a city that combines both modern and historic elements.

With the Tropic of Cancer crossing through the northern part of the city, Guangzhou enjoys favorable weather, which is why it is also called "Flower City." Even during the winter, you can see flowers everywhere, and if you visit Guangzhou during the Chinese Spring Festival, you can enjoy a flower "Carnival" by walking along the "Flower Street." The event lasts from the 27th to the 30th of the last lunar calendar month. "Flower Street" is also called "Yearly Flower Street." During the festival, hawkers will set up booths on it with bamboo shelves, selling flowers, seasonal fruits and goods. Since the Cultural Revolution, every district in Guangzhou has tended to set up a flower street three days before the Chinese New Year begins. My family and I will walk around "Flower Street" after dinner on New Year's Eve even though we may not buy any flowers or goods from the market. The visit is just a symbolic action that will bring you luck in the coming year after you have walked around and enjoyed the coming together of the whole family.

The birthplace of Cantonese food, Guangzhou is thought by many to be the best place to eat in China. The local cuisine is characterized by fresh clean flavors, seafood, barbecued meats and the wonderful tradition of "Yum Cha,” which is drinking tea accompanied by dumplings and small dishes. Innovation and creation in cooking is a high priority for the chefs in the local restaurants. If a restaurant fails to make any developments in its cuisine, it cannot expect to maintain its regular clientele and will probably lose its market share, for the competition in the catering industry is very cruel. Take steamed rice rolls as an example. The city's most prestigious restaurant, "Silver in Mind," makes the best such rolls in Guangzhou. It is white like snow, as thin as paper, shining bright and tasty. You cannot find the same quality and taste of steam rice rolls anywhere else. The same is true of the famous rice noodles from Shahe village. You can order sliced beef chow fun in any Chinese food restaurant in the world, but you won't get the taste of the original rice noodles because the technique for making them is unique and distinctive.

Guangzhou is a historic and modern city where you can enjoy pleasing weather and fill your stomach with distinctive delicious food. You should come and pay a visit to my hometown—Guangzhou. Remember the name!

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Donna Y. Smith

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