Saturday, November 3, 2012

We have arrived! Long flight followed by even longer day in Guangzhou

We left Sacramento Airport at about 7pm Thurs night and then endured a painful 2 ½ hour layover at LAX that included 2 bus rides, claiming and rechecking our luggage, walking outside from one terminal to another and waiting in an hour long security line.  We were very happy we grabbed something for dinner in Sac because we had no time at LAX.
The 15 hour flight from LAX to Guangzhou wasn't bad, just long, but we did have our own video on demand systems so I watched 4 movies, tried, but didn't get much sleep.  We arrived in Guangzhou bright and early at about 5am local time.  We met up with another family from our agency and were taken to our hotel.  Luckily we were able to get our room, took showers and even Facetimed with the kids and my parents at home.
Then, the longest day in the world began.  I think it is much better to arrive later so you can sleep sooner.  Our hotel, Marriott China Hotel, is in the middle of the busy city, but we are lucky to have 2 parks across the street ( accessed by underground walkways). 
We explored Liu Hua Park in the morning (after grabbing coffee at Starbucks, which was about $5 for a grande latte versus a 20oz TsingTau beer which is less then a dollar).  We loved this park. Not sure if it was because the time of day, the fact we still had energy or because it really is nicer.  It has a lake, was flat and we were able to watch all sorts of groups of people coming together to participate in various activities from tai chi, singing as a group, dancing together, to badminton and ping pong.  Definitely very community oriented even in the middle of a big city (~10 million people).  We had lunch at a tea house at the park and German was able to order tea and get us some yummy veggie dumplings (as well as a few other things he liked).  We then decided there was no way we were making it to a realistic bedtime (it was only  11am when we got back to the hotel) so we decided on a 2 hour nap.
Then we decided to venture out to the 2nd nearby park, Yue Xie Park.  It was pretty, but very hilly, it was much warmer and more humid by now and we walked around looking for some 5 goat statue that the signs kept pointing us in different directions to.  Pout of stubbornness we stuck it out until we found it (not so exciting) and then headed to the 7-11 by our hotel to grab a beer (discovering beer is cheaper than coffee) and pour now enjoying our TsingTau in our room and figuring out what to get for dinner.
We will get Zoe at the Civil Affairs Office on Monday afternoon, so until then our goal is to get over any jet lag and make sure we have everything ready for her.
Excited to sleep and hope to not be awake half the night (it is currently still only 5:30pm, will this day ever end??)!!

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