Hottest Flight of My Life!
Tunxi Travel Blog› entry 18 of 25 › view all entries
People who made my travels more enjoyable: Michelle (USA)
The express bus to Guangzhou airport departed near our hotel and damn, it was great to start the day in such a stress-free way. One thing I have to say about my travel style is that it can be a bit... hectic. I always plan to see too many destinations and if I miss one connection, everything gets screwed up. Let's use today as an example: Michelle and I would take a bus to Guangzhou airport, then we'd fly Southern China Airlines to Shanghai, collect our bags, recheck them with a Shanghai Airlines and finally fly to Tunxi. Luckily we were off to a good start as the bus got us to Guangzhou airport in plenty of time.
This was my first time departing from a Chinese airport and I noticed one thing that was vastly different. At most airports there are one or two security lines that tend to get backed up quickly. In Guangzhou however, there were at least 10 lines, all of which had almost no wait time. The reason was pretty simple. Each line had several security guards that scanned your bags, and several others that were prepared to strip-search you if need be. Pat down would be an understatement, it felt more like a grope down. By the time the woman security guard finished patting down my man region I wasn't sure if I should have been appalled or said thank you... Either way, it was fast and definitely effective. No way I was sneaking anything through that security line.
The flight to Shanghai was crowded, full of tour groups and obvious first time travelers.
We landed in Shanghai with just enough time to collect our bags and recheck them with Shanghai Airlines. Michelle and I grabbed a Subway sandwich and I managed to snap a few photos of the Real Kung Fu on the way to our gate. Yes, the great Bruce Lee is now immortalized in the logo of a KFC knockoff.
We had a slight delay at the gate, but after about half an hour we were aboard the plane. As we sat on the tarmac, it became evident that the pilot had no intention of turning on the A/C. I don't know if there was a mechanical problem (which I highly doubt) or if the airline was attempting to save a miniscule amount of fuel by not turning on the A/C. Either way, we were beyond miserable. The 15 minutes we spent taxing felt like an hour.
The Tunxi airport was small, at least compared to the others I had visited in Asia. It felt similar to a regional airport in the States, for example. We collected our bags and went outside to grab a taxi. Thank God Michelle is so good at Chinese (she would disagree with me, but no matter where we went she had no trouble communicating). We took the taxi from the airport into the center of the "small" town of Tunxi. Once downtown, we walked a couple of blocks to our hostel. This hostel specialized in taking people to and from Huangshan, so it was the perfect place for backpackers and foreign travelers. The staff, both Chinese and foreign, spoke very good English. There was internet, a small restaurant and the rooms were VERY well equiped for a hostel.
Once we had finished settling in, Michelle and I set out to get some food and explore a bit of the town. After walking around town we ended up eating in a restaurant that was right across the street from our hostel. It was a traditional Chinese restaurant that had a plethera of food options. At first I saw people looking at what appeared to be a buffet. It turned out that the "buffet" was really just a live display of the food. You looked at what you wanted, and then told the waiter the quantity. We ate a number of dishes, all of which were delicious.