I’m in CHINA!!!!
And this keyboard is awful, so please forgive the typos.
So, it’s not terribly hot yet…probably in the high 90s but the humidity is unbelievable…just like the Philippines, only more polluted. I’m literally dripping sweat as I sit in the non-airconditioned internet cafe that we discovered..ON OUR OWN–after about 10 minutes of wandering near our hotel.
We had a 14 hour flight that went by very slowly, for some reason. Cathay Pacific Airlines…AMAZING. WOW–we were in economy class, and they treated us so incredibly well. Every 2 hours, they passed out cups of water so we’d stay hydrated, the food was amazing (I was able to get vegetarian food both times), and the stewards were just incredibly kind and polite. Still, it’s hard to sleep crunched into a tiny, seated position, and the plane was very, very cold.
As we landed in Hong Kong at 6:30 PM, the lights of the city were dazzling–like Vegas amplified 100,000 times–huge towers, sparkling with multi colored light displays, an enormous suspended bridge with rows and rows of wires fanning out from each column. The Airport was spotless–floors sparkling clean, beautiful shops, and surprisingly uncrowded. We got our luggage about 7 minutes after disembarking…pretty impressive.
Thank heavens for our guides who met us at the airport–they took us out through customs and then onto a big bus with AC!!!! Then, we began the drive OUT of Hong Kong into China proper….”one country, two systems” as one of the businessmen on our bus repeated over and over! As we drove into China proper, we filled out several “health check” forms and an entry form. We disembarked again, and squeezed into a very dingy terminal, where guards literally shoved us into place if we weren’t standing in line properly. Non verbal communication, eh? :) Our passports were examined closely, then we went back to the bus. After a very short drive, we did the same thing all over again with the lovely addition of hauling our luggage to be scanned. The terminal was less orderly, and we actually had to shove our way to the window or else let an endless number of others shove past us.Overall, it took 3 bus changes (luggage included) to get enroute to our hotel.
I’ve never been stared out so much when traveling–I’ve always blended in, but I think all the very “american” looking members of our group (those w/ blond hair!) :) draw loads of attention.
We got back onto a bus and drove another 2 hours on very well maintained fwys to GuanDong, Capital Hotel. We were all zonked from not sleeping for the last 24 hours and alternately chatted and slept on the bus. we pulled into our hotel, checked in, and were immediately herded onto the bus (it was not 11:45 PM) to be given a “snack” at a dim sum restaurant nearby. Yummy food.
Getting back to the hotel, we explored our spartan, not overly clean room–everything is just very dingy here b/c of all the pollution and smoking. Our shower has no curtains or doors and drains (theoretically) into the floor….emphasis on theoretically. Still, we have running water, bottled water in the room (very metallic taste but won’t make ya sick!!), and a fan (theoretically AC, but not really). The hot water comes and goes–I took a cold shower last night and a warm one this AM…it just depends on the time of day and how many people are using it. The mattress feels like a yoga mat laid on top of a wooden platform–surprisingly comfortable!
My roomie is hilarious–just as over prepped as I; we even have the same ridiculous front-facing pouches that make us look 8 months pregnant. :) Please pray for energy and the ability to rest–I slept only 3 hours last night just b/c my body woke me up at 5:30 am