China – Guangzhou (part 1)
April 9, 2010
My flight for Guangzhou, my first in mainland China, left late at night. After a short almost 2 hours flight, the flight attendant welcomed us in 3 languages upon touchdown (English, Filipino, Cantonese). I’ve now officially arrived in China!♥
But wait, how do I pronounce Guangzhou? Gwang-zoo? Gwang-zu-o? The proper way to do it is by saying “Gwang-jo” since their “zh” has a “j” sound. :)
It was chilly when I got there. At the immigration, everything’s the same save for one, they take pictures of those arriving in their country. Uh oh! I am so not photogenic! Ugh!
At the last inspection, I was pulled aside after I said it was my first time there, routine baggage inspection. It was kinda funny though because I brought ube with me to give to my host (my mom bought it in Baguio’s Good Shepherd). When the lady officer saw it, she asked me what it was. So picture a small rectangular clear container filled to the brim with a smooth surfaced, soft, violet thingy and you have no idea what it is (she tried to smell it but it has no odor). I was trying to explain that it came from a rootcrop and that we use it for desert (I wanted to cite halohalo as an example but she gave me a blank stare, time for another tactic!). I enthusiastically suggested to her to try it coz its delicious! haha She was surprised about my offer she stammered out “No, no! It’s okay. You go! Go ahead!” :D
It was chaotic when we got outside the airport. I traveled with a close friend there. He was already in China so he was waiting for me at the arrival area. Guys in suits walked up to us and tried to sell us cigarettes, local sims (they have a good deal it turns out), or usher you to one of the cabs in line. We ignored it all and got on an airport shuttle bus outside to head for the city.
TIP: To head to the city, it is cheaper to ride an airport shuttle bus found just outside the arrival area’s exit. They can cost anywhere from 8-40rmb depending on your destination. We went to Tianhe district and it cost us 20rmb each.
We were hosted by Pietro in Tianhe District on our first night. It was nice of him to allow us into his home eventhough he was busy moving on to a new place (and with the opening of his restaurant, Amici Miei). We slept very late coz we chatted the night away. :)
We had the whole day to enjoy before we board our train for Guilin that night. However, since I wasn’t exactly dressed for cold weather, I opted (though with a heavy heart) that we explore only the areas near our host’s place.
TIP: April is spring time in China BUT that doesn’t mean that it’s not cold anymore. Better be prepared and check the weather before you fly there and bring a jacket with warm lining, a pair of gloves, and scarves with you to keep you warm. Locals were wearing coats and boots while I was there!
Before we boarded the train, we met with another host of ours, Giselle, so that I can leave my luggage with her. I wanted to travel light so I only brought my backpack along. :)
DIY: Chinese Visa Application