Today the population of Guangzhou is over 5 million, and the town is influenced by money from Hong Kong and Overseas Chinese.
I didn't want to leave as soon as I arrived, but I was advised that since an available ticket could take at least three days, I should make an onward ticket my first priority.
With the help of an Hong Kong Chinese girl, we tried the station booking-office. A mass of people queued, pushed, sweated, spat, or dejectedly sat around bags of humble possessions tied up with string.
There was one train a day to Shanghai that left at 8.25 in the morning and arrived the following evening.
The station was only good for same-day tickets, and if I wanted a sleeper in a few days time it would be better to go to the China International Travel Service (CITS).
I thanked Mi Lu, and stepped out into the mass alone.