Saturday, June 26, 2010

Leaving Australia

I flew from Brisbane to Sydney on the 17th of June, my plane was late. Normally that wouldn't bother me too much except I had a connecting flight from Sydney to Guangzhou, and I still had to make it to the international airport, check in and make it through customs. I got to the gate with about 5 minutes to spare, but my next plane was running late anyway, so I then sat around for 45 minutes waiting to board.

The flight to Guangzhou was long, and the airline didn't get the order for vegetarian food, so I didn't get fed. Needless to say I was not in the best of spirits when I first arrived in China, then had to deal with immigration. Don't grin at the immigration staff... they don't like it.

Flying in to Guangzhou is very pretty. The airport is surrounded by farms, with little clusters of villages in between. The villages seem to each consist of 5 or 6 buildings, all with about 4 or 5 stories, a few dirt roads and that's it.

I stayed at the Pullman hotel, adjacent to the airport. It is super easy to get to, you can see it from inside the airport, and it is only about 200 meters from the airport entrance to the hotel entrance. It was nice, even more so after spending all day on a plane, with nothing to eat but 4 bites of melon.

Upon walking into the hotel, the lobby is three-tierd, with a pianist on the second tier, who seems to play for most of the day. There are plenty of places to sit on comfy couches or armchairs with a coffee or drink and relax. There are gardens, ponds (with the obligatory carp), waterfalls and streams running through the hotel, and the staff are really friendly. I got to my room, had a soak in a hot bath, then went to bed and slept for 9 hours.

The next morning I woke up nice and refreshed, and RAVENOUS! After not eating at all the day before hand, I was ready to see what they had at the buffet. I walked into the restaurant, and every head in the place stopped talking, turned, and watched me walk all the way to my table, be poured coffee, walk all the way to buffet, select some food, then back to my table and start eating. Looking back on it maybe I should have done a little dance, then taken a bow, but too late now. Eventually people went back to their own breakfasts, and conversations, stealing the occassional glance. The food was tasty, but I don't like being watched while I am trying to eat, so I left fairly quickly.

In China they do boiled eggs in tea, but they must half boil them, crack them, then finish boiling them, because they take on a slight brown colour and the tea gives them a slightly sweet, nutty taste. Yum!

So I packed my things and headed back to the airport with plenty of time to catch my plane.

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