Lost in Guangzhou, or The Map is not the Territory

When I was in China last year, I spent most of an afternoon wandering the city of Guangzhou exploring the neighborhood around Yuhu Lake, an area diametrically opposite to my intended destination. I set out from my hotel with a good idea of where I was headed and figured my destination, Yuexiu Park, was so large that there was no way I could miss it. It turns out, I was wrong.

The problems began when I discovered the map I had used to initially orient myself was inadequate for the task of displaying three dimensions. In particular, the area I was headed contained hills, a multi-tier highway, a pedestrian overpass, an elevated railway with a pedestrian underpass, roads running at angles to each other, few visible landmarks, and road signs in Chinese. I’ve since educated myself further on the last point (at least to the extent of knowing Xiaobei Lu translates as Little North Road), but that still would have only helped a little.
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