Shangri-la ti da
Guangzhou Travel Blog› entry 15 of 25 › view all entries
People who made my travels more enjoyable: Michelle (USA)
Today, Michelle and I were flying to Guangzhou. Vietnam had been an experience, and I was looking forward to what I imagined would be a more comfortable part of our trip. As with everything in Vietnam, nothing went as expected. Upon checkout the front desk manager informed us that the driver had the wrong time. I stressed to him that our plane left soon and we needed to get to the airport. Kindly, he picked up the phone and started calling around. After a few calls and tense minutes, the driver showed up. We threw our bags in the trunk of his car and set off toward the airport. The ride was fine, but the driver looked like he could fall asleep at any moment.
At the airport we checked in and went through security. For an international airport, especially one in Vietnam's capital city, I couldn't believe what poor shape the structure was in. There was little or no A/C, the floors and bathrooms were dirty and most impressive was the security equipement that seemed to be manufactured in Eastern Europe during the 1960's. After about half an hour in the terminal, we boarded our China Southern Airlines flight to Guangzhou.
After about 1.5 hours we touched down at Baiyun airport in Guangzhou. As soon as we touched down I could see an immediate contrast, in terms of development, between Guangzhou and Hanoi. The airport was in pristine condition, there were many Chinese travelers (compared to mainly tourists in Vietnam) and things just appeared a bit more orderly.
I had only spent about 20 minutes in China, but my experience in McDonalds taught me a bit about how Chinese reacted/interacted with foreigners. Similar to Korea or Vietnam, few people had a strong enough vocabulary to communicate solely in English.
Michelle, thanks to her awesome Chinese skills, got us on the correct bus. In twenty or so minutes we approached, what I would consider, downtown Guangzhou. Two things struck me as we drove along. Guangzhou had some strikingly beautiful sky skrapers and the freeway on which we traveled, was now 100 feet above the city streets.
Our hotel was about two miles from the bus stop, so once we hopped off Michelle hailed a cab. The cab ride was ridiculously inexpensive and after what seemed like a minute, we arrived at the hotel. Normally I wouldn't pay so much attention to a hotel, but damn, the Shangri-La just blew me away. For more details check out my review!
I spent the afternoon lounging around while Michelle went to explore a bit of the city. Once she returned, we went to the fitness center and then got ready for dinner. We asked the concierge what to recommend and he suggested a Cantonese-style seafood restaurant.
After dinner we returned to the hotel and spent the rest of the evening relaxing. Tomorrow we would take the train to Hong Kong. My first day in China had been very relaxing and pleasant. After the heat and frustration of Vietnam, China seemed like the promise land.