Saturday, 9 October 2010

Oh Lordy....... guess what I have ended up doing?

Guess what?! I am bloody honoured, that's what. I have been asked to do some guest blogging over at Ron's place, called If I had a Blog.

It's quite scary really, because the pressure is on to do a really good job when you are writing for someone else's blog.

Anyway, it took me ages to select a subject to blog about, and in the end I chose to do a series of three blogs about one of my trips to China.

The first posting on Ron's blog is here: A Trip to China: Part One. Please pay a visit, and I hope you enjoy it! Or you can read the post in full below.

A Trip to China: Part One

I quite like travelling to weird places I do. Like the year before last, I went on holiday to Cambodia. If you were careful to avoid the landmines, it was an intriguing place to visit..... but hey, that's another story.

The reason I bring weird places up, is because I have to travel to China quite a lot with my business, and I can say with 100% certainty that China is the most barking place I have ever been to. Yep, it is absolutely Sarah Palin mad.

And last year, I embarked upon probably what can be considered my most erm, interesing, trip to China. The schedule was innnocuous enough. I was due to fly from London to Guangzhou (southern China) to attend a furniture exhibition, then get another flight from Guangzhou to Beijing, where I would be miraculously transported by car to a place called Ji'an in the Jiangxi province of China.

Simple eh? And all I had to do before that lot started, was sit through the thirteen hour flight from Heathrow to Guangzhou. Now for someone like me, long haul flights are particularly arduous; mainly because I find it incredibly difficult to sleep on aircraft, meaning that I need to try and keep myself entertained for 13 hours to prevent myself from dying of boredom. Eventually the battery was dead on my laptop and my iPhone, so imagine my relief when we finally touched down in Guangzhou (prounounced Goo-ang-joe)..... bet you couldn't help pronouncing that out loud could you?

The first thing I needed to do after my arrival, was to find a taxi to my hotel. Now bear in mind that virtually no-one in China speaks any English. At all. Zero. Zilch. But there are no flies on me (although you can see where they've been); being an experienced traveller, I had already printed out the address of my hotel in Han characters (Chinese text). 

After fifteen minutes spent running up to cars that resembled taxis, and pointing at the destination printed on my piece of paper, I finally found a driver willing to take me to my hotel. He was going to charge me about a million dollars, but have you ever tried negotiating in a language where the only words you can say are, 'hello' and 'thankyou'? It's a tricky one, I can tell you. 

After 30 minutes of driving at breakneck speed through Guangzhou (the third biggest city in China with a population of circa 10 million), I was finally deposited outside of my hotel, with my knees still a-trembling from the journey. My bags had hardly touched the pavement before the taxi screamed off, leaving me free to survey my accommodation.

Pic.No.1. My hotel in Guangzhou. What is all that green shit wrapped round it?

"What the blazes is going on here?!" I thought to myself. It appeared to be nothing short of a building site. In order to check that I had been dropped off at the right place, I rooted around my bags to dig out my hotel booking form. Being an organised soul when it comes to travel, I managed to find it pretty quickly; but herein lies one of the problems with travelling in China. My booking form was in English, and the sign on the hotel was in Han characters. Bummer. 

I decided that there was only one thing for it. I needed to go into the hotel and talk at the Receptionist very slowly and loudly in English, waving my arms around to make myself understood. Bizarrely, my caveman tactics worked, and it it wasn't long before the nodding and bowing Receptionist handed me a room key.

Luckily, numbers are actually written as numbers in China, so I was easily able to work out that my room was on the 23rd floor. In reality though, my room was actually on the 22nd floor, but that is because the Chinese are so superstitious, that they never have a 13th floor. Yep, if you look at the numbers in the lifts, they go directly from 12th floor to 14th floor. See, I am full of interesting but useless crap. That's my speciality that is.

Pic.No.2. The inside of the hotel was a dog-hole. This was the view of the lifts

Unfortunately, the interior of the hotel was not much better than the exterior, and the exterior looked like a building site. In fact, if you look at the photograph above, the staircase you can see is supposed to be the emergency exit. It was just dangling in the air, swaying slightly when a breeze rippled. Hardly what you would welcome as your last line of defence in the case of an inferno.

Pic.No.3. The view of Guangzhou from my hotel room

After a disappointing start to my trip in China, I unpacked my clothes, and decided to go and find something to eat. Now, travelling in China is never easy; quite simply because no-one speaks English, menus are written in Mandarin and the things that indigenous Chinese people eat, are very, very different to the things that would be eaten in England...... Part two coming soon!


  1. Been there, read it - do I get a t-shirt? :D *wink*

  2. Hi Anne - Thanks so much for posting your epic travels :)


  3. T-shirt in the post Gill! Actually I can't back that up..... !


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