We have arrived in Guangzhou! Our schedule had us flying out of Nanjing at 6:2o pm on Thursday night, but when we arrived at the airport our e-tickets were not only for another time but for another airline! So we waited awhile at the airport as the "new" flight didn't leave until 7:30 pm, but we made it here! The White Swan room is very nice but we have not seen anything else yet as we arrived so late last night. We had a small snafu with check-in as our agency told the hotel we had not paid for the extra bed we need, so for now we have signed the papers to pay again and will get it straightened out with our new guide today. Our new guide is Kelly but we have not met her yet.
Today Sarah has her doctor's visit so we need to tell her about that when she wakes up!
Just a few tidbits I've wanted to post but haven't had a chance yet.
Nanjing is city of 10 million people. We have seen stores such as Cartier Diamonds, Starbucks, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, etc. The people have been very friendly to us. In the park yesterday we were walking along and a group of 3 young women asked if they could have their picture taken with us. While it is a very very large city, there are very few Caucasian people so we are kind of a unique sight (regarding Caucasians, we've seen maybe 6 at the hotel breakfast buffet and they seem to be business men and then maybe 14 or so on the streets while we've been out shopping/touring). Also at the park, we were walking when a tram came along and a young Chinese man jumped up from his seat on the tram and yelled "Hello!" to us and was just waving away. There was an old Chinese man sitting on the bench near where we were walking and he just bust out laughing. So we waved to the young man and yelled back "Hello!" and then we waved to the old man as well. He nodded his head and said "Xie Xie" which is "Thank You!" and was just all smiles. The day I went out shopping by myself to find some clothes for Sarah, all the store clerks in the various stores did everything they could to help me. In two stores, the clerks even went to get another clerk who could speak a little more English so they could help me better. And when we go to KFC (which is Sarah's favorite) while we are waiting in line one of the girls behind the counter will get a picture sheets for us so it is ready when we get to the counter to order. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the people here could not have been more friendly, hospitable and understanding of us not knowing their language -- we really appreciate it!
A few little things:
First, in case you ever are on Jeopardy, in China taxi cabs are green (and very cheap!)
With meals, you generally drink fresh fruit juice or hot water (with no flavoring) served in a tea cup.
At our authentic meal last night, we were not served any tea or rice. After thinking about the meal, we realized we had been served pretty much every meat group (pork, beef, chicken, fish and shrimp) and well as several kinds of vegetables (large green colored beans similar to fava beans, steamed bok choy, etc). We were offered wine and Kevin and I both said "no" however we were then told that to toast it is tradition to drink wine so we graciously took some. Sarah was offered wine as well, but refused. She was given the hot cup of water instead.
While we have only witnessed one car accident (and it involved us!) but the traffic here is pretty much indescribable! There are lanes, stop lights, speed signs and signs that say "do not honk" but I think every single one of these if useless here! Cars, bikes and mopeds just go in every direction and even up on the sidewalk if it's more open than the street is! And if you miss your turn, no need to go to the next corner and turn around ... just jam the brakes on and turn around right in the middle of the street! If you are on your way to China soon, please follow the advice we received which has turned out to be a life-saver -- do not cross the street on foot unless there is a Chinese person on your left and right sides as they know how the system works and if you follow their lead you'll be okay!