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Hottest Flight of My Life!

Tunxi Travel Blog

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A view of the Westin from the bus stop

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.

Guangzhou airport

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.

The real Kung Fu (I'd say that's definitely Bruce Lee)
In no other part of the world do you see as many first time travelers as you do in Asia. Flights are now more affordable than ever and people who would have never had an opportunity to fly are now flying for the first time. So the customs and etiquette that many seasoned travelers take for granted are definitely lacking on Asian airlines. This goes from the most discount carrier all the way up to 5-star carriers like Asiana (Singapore might be excluded from this list, but I've never flown with them before). Common infractions often include: trying to open bathroom doors repeatedly when it is obviously occupied, not following the fasten seatbelt sign, pressing the call button for literally everything you can imagine, not listening to any of the flight attendents instructions and attempting to smoke on board.
Tunxi airport
I've witnessed all of these, and often all on the same flight. 

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.

Old town Tunxi
At first only the foreigners were whining, but after a few minutes even the Chinese natives were attempting to stand up and get the attention of the flight attendent. She played dumb, too afraid to contact the pilot. Meanwhile the sauna like temperatures had everyone in a fury. People were mumbling, grumbling and eventually shouting about the heat. Just when I considered opening the emergency exit (yes we were getting that deperate), the plan lined up for take off. Once in the air, a small amount of cool air began to circulate n the cabin. It offered almost not relief and I spent the next hour and a half sweating through the rest of my clothes. The funny thing is that at 30,000 feet, the outside temperature is somewhere around -40 degrees or colder. So the pilot had actually turned the heat up just enough to keep us miserable! That experience really summarized my trip, Asia in the summer is just too damn hot for someone that was born in the mountains.
Puffing food (not sure what that is)
 

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.

We're lost?! Who cares!
I took a quick shower and then went upstairs to do some laundry. I knew that if I wanted my clothes to be dry by the following day, I'd have to wash them immediately. People don't use dryers in Asia and with the heat and humidity, things tend not to dry very quickly.

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.

Michelle and I at dinner (I don't remember the name, but it was delicious)
The food in China really is fantastic! After we had filled our bellies and then some, Michelle and I went back to the hostel to get a good night sleep. Tomorrow we would set off for Huangshan. I was skeptical of what might be coming, but it would turn out to be one of the most naturally beautiful places in the entire world.

kkrater says:
Hahah yes, that would have been pretty stupid, especially considering it was probably just as hot outside. But what a claustrophobic feeling!
Posted on: Jul 06, 2012
Africancrab says:
Nice blog. Wow, that was something. Gld you did not open the emergency exit, lol!
Posted on: Jul 06, 2012
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A view of the Westin from the bus …
A view of the Westin from the bus…
Guangzhou airport
Guangzhou airport
The real Kung Fu (Id say thats d…
The real Kung Fu (I'd say that's …
Tunxi airport
Tunxi airport
Old town Tunxi
Old town Tunxi
Puffing food (not sure what that i…
Puffing food (not sure what that …
Were lost?! Who cares!
We're lost?! Who cares!
Michelle and I at dinner (I dont …
Michelle and I at dinner (I don't…
Another view
Another view
Departures Terminal
Departures Terminal
Shanghai Hongqiao airport
Shanghai Hongqiao airport
Kungfu!
Kungfu!
Another view
Another view
Buildings in Tunxi
Buildings in Tunxi
Stores in Tunxi
Stores in Tunxi
Restaurant in Tunxi
Restaurant in Tunxi
Waiting to eat
Waiting to eat
Local beer (Tasted like every othe…
Local beer (Tasted like every oth…
Michelle enjoying a drink
Michelle enjoying a drink
So hungry!
So hungry!
Im le hungry!
I'm le hungry!
Our exquisite meal :)
Our exquisite meal :)
Tunxi Hostels review
Well Worth the Money
First off, this hostel is fantastic. The only reason I'm giving it 3-stars is I want to maintain the integrity of the rating system. 5-star is reserve… read entire review
Tunxi
photo by: Ils1976