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Thursday, November 5, 2009

9-Day Glorious China Trip - Part 1

Destination: Guangzhou, Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Cangzhou

Date: 27 Nov 08 - 5 Dec 08

Season: Winter

Temperature: Day - 2-5 degree Celcius, Night: minus 10 - minus 15 degree

Total budget: RM3K (partially subsidised)

Winter gear: Winter coat (possibly long to cover lower part of your body), Face mask, Bobble hat, Sweater, Boots, Gloves, Cotton scarf, Thermal earmuffs, Long johns, a pair of jeans.


China is not always in my destination list if you asked me but for some reasons I am glad that I was given the opportunity to be in the delegation in support of  China cultural and educational exchange. The core objectives of this programme are to strengthen ties between China and Malaysia universities and at the same time foster the long-term collaborative efforts, educational and cultural resources that will benefits involved parties. 60 delegates including lecturers were all set to go on 27th November 2008 (almost a year ago).


*I spent Day 1 and Day 2 mainly on travelling so it might be a little dry for Day 1 and 2*

Day 1 (27th Nov 08)

After the press photo-taking session, the delegates were divided into two buses and off we go to the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) for catch the flight with AirAsia.The return air tickets were not too expensive mainly because we gained sponsors from university, private companies and donations from the public. After 7 hours of bumpy ride in the bus, we finally arrived at LCCT. If you have extra time before boarding, there are a bundle of facilities that will buy you some time off. Do check out the eateries (Mc D's, Coffee Bean, KFC, Mary Brown, The Chocolate Boutique, Old Town), duty-free shops, convenient stores (7-eleven), foreign exchange counters and most of all......"space" for people like us to shoot a few syok sendiri photos.


  Ladies, just smile and wave

Day 2 (28th Nov 08)

We spent 2 hours making a bee-line thronging the check-in counters for our luggages. A decent amount of RM10 will be collected as your luggages are being sat on the conveyor. After a long tiring hours, finally we boarded Airbus AK114 at 5am. I have to admit flying on budget plane is definitely something not to my liking. The aisle is very narrow, the seat is small and the feeling of being a Siamese twin with the person next to me was totally an unpleasant experience.
View outside the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport
After 3 hours of flying, I landed in the sub-provincial city, Guangzhou, formerly known as Canton. Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport is as crowded as purported and to my surprise most of the employees speak Cantonese. And I will go ??????!!!!!!!!!!???????? tiu. While waiting for our tour guide (ground arrangement from China) to collect all her "babies", we headed down to McD's. Yum yum. I paid 12.95 yuan (about RM7.50) for a set of China McChicken version. They have other meal selections like pork burger, nai cha (milk tea), yam and peach pies and etc.
Majority are locals waiting for the passengers to arrive. Can you see the Mc D's sign at the far end?
After 2 hours of long waiting, we travelled on a bus to Guangzhou Railway Station. I could not agree more if someone were to complain about the road traffic in Guangzhou. You go horrified with terrible traffic . We managed to bypass the bumper-to-bumper crawl scene to the railway station. The moment we put up at the designated place, I was startled dumbfounded to see the overwhelming crowd making a bee-line just to board the train! I have been praying hard enough for stampede not to happen that day.
The pontential stampeders getting ready for headlong rush
Then it was our turn to get into the train. After a crazy morning, battles through the jam, we were already in the train. This time, I was not dumbfounded but devastated to see my "pigeon hole". The room is utterly small, the aisle is ......... speechless. Or maybe it is trying to prove that I am fat!
These carriages travel at 110km/h for 22 hours to Beijing.
The walking aisle in the carriage is very limited
 P/S For those who want to get to Beijing, AirAsia now offered direct route from LCCT to Tianjin. Take a bus or cab to Beijing which is about 2 hours ride.  
6 "pigeons" were squeezed into this "pigeon hole"
Basically, the food-selling concept was the same as AirAsia. There were three carts selling three categories of foods namely fruits, tidbits/junk food/cup noodle, and box rice/porridge. As a matter of fact, I do not eat beef, and mutton but in China, they only eat beef and mutton to warm up their bodies.
My breakfast - A cup noodle with minced beef and spicy soup costs only 5 yuan (RM2.50)
My lunch - Lunch box with cabbage, ham, egg, beef costs me 15 yuan (RM7.50)
By the time I can almost cleared up my food, I already plopped down on my bed and sleep. I can feel the carriage was getting colder as it travelled north. As exhausted I was, I dozed off to sweet dreams in a blink of eye.
Stay tuned for 9-Day of Glorious China Trip - Part 2. Next post will be more on the places of interest i.e. The Forbidden Kingdom, Bird Nest (The Olympics Stadium), Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square, Wang Fu Jing Street.
Apologies for the poor photos quality because cheap digital camera ma!!! Enjoy!

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