Friday, April 14, 2006

We're off to Guangzhou!

I'm in Guangzhou for the 99th Chinese Export Commodities Fair. So far it's been relatively traumatic just getting here.

My trip, with EW, to Guangzhou coincided with YY's parents returning to Lanzhou. As luck should have had it our flights were only 15 minutes apart. Sadly it didn't go anywhere near the plan. The Guangzhou flight was supposed to leave at 4.40 but was delayed, allegedly to 6pm but actually took off after 7. They didn't say how late the Lanzhou flight was going to be but was obviously a bad sign when they took everyone off to a hotel. So much for us helping YY's parents on their first ever flight - their's eventually took off after 10pm, 7 hours late.

The airport cafe has, incidentally, the most expensive coffee I've ever seen. There was a big ad for Brazilian coffee on the table for 122 RMB per cup. That's 8.60 GBP!!!!

My flight with China Southern Airlines was unpleasant. Completely full, very cramped seating (made worse by the git in front insisting on reclining his seat despite my legs being in the way), unpleasant food and useless staff. The staff disappeared for ages after serving the food, the last act of one stewardess was to plonk a coffee, that I hadn't asked for, down on my table and wasn't seen again for 30 mins - probably because of the turbulence that started almost as soon as the coffee arrived. It was a complete relief to disembark.

Oddly enough it hadn't really occurred to me that people here would speak Cantonese. I don't understand why I didn't realise this given that it should be blatantly obvious.

The hotel did something to me which I always find irritating - you queue at reception to check in (in this case wondering why the guy in front was being checked in by no less than 6 staff) and eventually get to the front only to be told ' we're giving you and executive room. Please go away, find the exec lounge and queue there to check in. Why can't they check you in where you already are! Still, it's got its own Starbucks so I'll let it off.

Hotel restaurant was hideously expensive (although comparatively better value than the airport cafe) and not terribly exciting. Hope tomorrow is better...

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