A Travellerspoint blog

China

Eighteen hour layover in Guangzhou

After a managable 11 hours sitting in the plane, it was a relief to walk around again in the Guangzhou airport. The immigration officers were so slow to work through the queues that I was stood in line for over an hour waiting to get my passport stamped. Eventually I passed through and got directed to a shuttle bus which took us through the city of Guangzhou for a long drive to our hotel accommodation. The neighbourhoods we passed through on the way were very third world looking with rubbish on the roadsides and neglected rundown tennement housing everywhere. It was with a sigh of relief that we pulled into a small side street which lead to a newish looking hotel where we were to stay for 12 hours until we had to return to the airport for the last leg of the trip to Auckland. Breakfast was included so I ate what I could of the chinese buffet and after a refreshing shower managed to get about seven hours sleep. My room was on the 20th floor so I was able to get a good view of the area around the hotel. Some places look better from on high, this wasn't one of them. It was a warm 30 degrees but the sun didn't appear through the heavy layer of smog ( probably industrial air pollution ) that lay over the place. The blocks of ugly concrete flats that made up the streets were badly streaked with black marks from the roof down, and later that evening as the sun set, there were very few lights to be seen anywhere. As we left for the airport the sky was lit with sheet lightening and it started to rain. I made a note to myself that there are some places in the world I didn't want stay for a week and live like a local. This was one of them.

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

My night in the slums of Guangzhou.....

It was 10 p.m. when we flew out of Auckland, but I didn't manage to sleep at all on the 12 hour flight to Guangzhou. I was given a couple of halved sleeping pills to help me cope, but didn't want to try them incase they were too strong and made me feel dopey after the flight. China Southern airlines have had mixed reviews on internet sites, but I was nicely surprised when they matched the experiences I've had on long haul flights with Qantas and KLM. The cabin crew were friendly and helpful, the plane had all the bells and whistles, and they served two meals and drinks on the 12 hour flight. The best airline I've used in the past is definitely Air New Zealand, who just seem to give a better quality experience. The same happened when we arrived at Guangzhou airport. Once again my expectations were surpassed and the bad experiences that others had written about did not eventuate. Quick and friendly service was the order of the day. The biggest shock of all was after a half hour drive in a rickety old bus at 6.30 in the morning we stopped outside what other people have referred to as their backpacker-type free accommodation for the 18 hour layover. We were billeted at a 5 star hotel in the Guangzhou Convention Centre. You have to remember that my return flight only cost about $1450, so this was a real bonus. They also threw in a complementary breakfast buffet, which had a very eclectic selection of foods on it since they were trying to cater for all tastes on the Asian/ European spectrum. I didn't mind at all, and tried a bit of everything, although I didn't always finish what was on the plate. Eventually I closed the blinds in my luxury room and set the alarm to wake me up in 9 hours, but because I hadn't slept for 30 hours it took a while to fall asleep, it was hard to turn my mind off and get into the zone. It was good to wake up at 7pm feeling normal again, and with lots of coffee and a long hot shower I was ready to hit the airport for another twelve hour flight to Amsterdam. This leg of the trip I managed to doze off for a few times during the night. We landed in Amsterdam at 6 a.m. and I felt that waiting around and staying awake for another 12 hours until I could move into my accommodation was doable. My next blog will talk about the fun I had wheeling my suitcases around the cobbled streets of Amsterdam and where I holed up for a few hours while waiting for my airbnb host to finish work and let me move in....

Reception area of my cheap accommodation...

Reception area of my cheap accommodation...


Buffet breakfast included

Buffet breakfast included


all mod cons

all mod cons


needed a long one of these..

needed a long one of these..


chinese t.v. was very inspirational

chinese t.v. was very inspirational


I only used 1/4 of the bed....

I only used 1/4 of the bed....

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

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