GUIYANG lies in a valley basin, encircled by a range of hills that hems in the city and concentrates its traffic pollution. Established as a capital during the Ming dynasty, modern Guiyang is a patchwork of elderly apartment blocks rubbing shoulders with glossy new high-rises and department stores, all intercut by a web of wide roads and flyovers. The effect may be downmarket and provincial, but Guiyang is a friendly place, whose unexpected few antique buildings and a surprisingly wild park lend a bit of character. With a spare half day, it’s worth making an easy side-trip to the old garrison town of Qingyan, whose cobbled lanes and merchants’ guildhalls provide a relief from Guiyang’s crowded streets.
Dog meat is widely appreciated not only in southwestern China, but also in culturally connected countries across Southeast Asia, with the meat considered to be warming in cold weather and an aid to male virility. For some Westerners, eating dog can be akin to cannibalism; others are discouraged by the way restaurants display bisected hindquarters in the window, or soaking in a bucket of water on the floor. If you’re worried about being served dog by accident, 我不吃狗肉, wŏ bùchī gŏuròu, means “I don’t eat dog”.