I walked to the side to avoid queuing up and saw a cab driver running towards me. I expected to pay not less than USD $60 for the trip but the guy asked for USD $30 only, when I said 'ok' he grabbed my bag and started running. His cab was parked right on a highway, to get there we had to cross 2 roads avoiding fast driving cars and jump a 1.5 meter barrier.
|At Guangzhou airport|
First you need to go through a registration to get your buyers badge. The process is pretty simple. You'll need passport sized photos, but you can take them right there for USD $2.3.
Upon return to my hotel I set myself a challenge to buy a SIM card. Hotel staff didn't know much english and couldn't point me in the right direction. It took me over an hour to find a small kiosk where I paid USD $16 for China Unicom SIM card. Later I found out it usually cost around USD $3. If you are lucky to see one of the wending machines that sell them, don’t think twice.
I don't usually eat fried rice in the morning but apart from rice, fried and boiled eggs I couldn't eat anything else. The meat didn't really taste like meat and had a weird color. All drinks were offered hot. Milk, orange juice, apple juice, all served hot and tasted like they were made from powder, which was probably the case.
I asked guys at the reception where I can buy food and this time I was pointed across the road. When I got there I was happy to see people coming out with bags. The supermarket was huge. The only problem is that everything was written in Chinese.
|The only simple section|
|Salads with unknown ingredients|
|Frogs and turtles of different kinds to your liking.|
|Looks delicious but I didn't dare to try.|
|Not a very friendly lady cook.|
|Booths are on the left|
The taxi on the way back cost me only USD $2.6 because lady driver turned the meter on, so it is worth a try pointing at the meter asking to turn it on.
|In the cab|
The good thing is that you can book and pay for it all online. To book hotels I used www.agoda.com, it has all the information and great discounted rates. Domestic flights I booked through chinatour.net and the timetable for trains I checked on english.ctrip.com.
Another important point to note is that the hotel might not have an option for you to make international calls. To change my tickets I had to call to Australia but figured that I can't call from the phone in the room. I had to top up my SIM card to call from the mobile. SIM card top up can be done online through www.HandyCHN.com. Alternatively you can use online calling services if the internet in the hotel is strong enough, mine was quite bad. Keep in mind that Facebook and Google don't work in China, but if you want to use them just download the VPN app.
So my travel shaped up like this:
From Guangzhou I’d take a two hour intercity train to Shenzhen to visit the first manufacturing plant. Next day I’d catch a domestic flight to Taizhou to visit the second factory the morning after. After the second meeting I'd catch a one hour intercity train to Ningbo to have the third meeting on the same day. Next morning I’d fly off to Shanghai, spend a day there and depart for Sydney in the evening.
I had return tickets for two weeks after the date of my arrival, but I managed to fit all I needed to do in one week. I paid a few hundred dollars to change tickets and was happy to be able to come back to Sydney sooner . The truth is you can’t really plan anything until you visit an exhibition and speak to factory representatives.
On the forth day I went down to the reception to return the room key. Young hotel workers were not in a rush to attend to me signing other people in. As a result I missed my train and needed to buy a new ticket at the station. The timetable did not promise much help.
|Guangzhou Train Station timetable|
To be continued..