Saturday, July 2, 2011

Wednesday the 8th

Today was our last day in Guangzhou.  We had another good buffet breakfast and then Steve got to packing.  My mom and I ran out to do the rest of our shopping.

At our breakfast buffet.  Do I look like I'm about done with China?

I wanted to get Daisy a white dress for her blessing and for when we take her to be sealed in the Temple.  I was told the only place you can get white dresses for babies is on the island (they cater to Americans remember) because white is usually for funerals in China.  (Although there were tons of brides all over the island getting their bridal pictures taken and wearing our traditional white wedding dresses.  The island is really pretty with lots of foliage so it makes sense that there are tons of photo shoots happening there every day.)

Anyway, we hit a couple of shops, got some squeaky shoes for the baby and the cutest white outfit and some other souvies.  We got back to the hotel and Steve had just about finished the packing.  We were able to get checked out and they held our luggage for us while we grabbed a taxi and went to find the Dim Sum restaurant that Ann had suggested.  I think Dim Sum was about the only meal left we had wanted to have in China that we had not had yet.

Our assortment of Dim Sum dishes.  They were mostly all good, we especially liked the ones with shrimp.
Steve eating some scary chicken feet.  Yum.

By some miracle we found the restaurant in a mall fairly close by.  When we walked in we made a spectacle again, being the only foreigners in the place.  No one seemed to speak English, so when we sat down they brought a cart over with tons of bamboo boxes, each with about 4 dumplings and Steve just chose a bunch of stuff for us to start with.  It was pretty good, but not to die for.  We got full quickly because dumplings fill you up!  The baby slept through lunch on the bench next to me.  When we were done we went up to pay and there was a HUGE glass jar (more like a barrel) on the counter.  I glanced at it and realized that there was a humongous snake inside, all pickled up and ready to eat.  Yuck!

The pickled snake.  We couldn't read the sign on the jar but it had a 15 yuan symbol at the bottom.  I don't know if that's the price for the whole snake or just a slice!  Disgusting!

It took us a while to find a taxi back to the hotel and then we grabbed our bags and met our guide in the lobby.  He picked us up in a van and then we went and got the H family from the White Swan.  They were scheduled to leave on the same train to Hong Kong that we were.

The van dropped us at the curb of the station and we had to lug all our bags through the big station and it was no easy feat with the baby.  I had bought another suitcase in Kunming to fit all of our souvenirs so we had one more bag and a baby to take care of.  And a really tired 8 year old who didn't much feel like helping out.

After our trek, paperwork, security clearances and saying goodbye to our guide, we were all settled in the waiting room.  The H family has a boy Zack's age so they were constantly chatting and playing games and goofing off.  It was great that he was there so Zack could have a friend.  We only had to wait about 30 minutes and then boarded the train.  For some reason I had it in my mind that the train ride was only about 40 minutes.  Wrong.  For that reason, the trip seemed like an eternity to me but was really only about 2 hours.  We arrived in Hong Kong around 8 PM, rented a van through the tourism booth in the station and they took us to our hotel.

When we were planning the trip, it was difficult to know where to stay.  We just used trip advisor and hoped for the best.  Well, we all know how that worked out for us, so I was very nervous to see our hotel.  I kept telling myself at least it was only for 1 night!

When we got to the Harbor Hotel, it looked like a modern boutique hotel.  I thought that was a good sign.  We checked in and went to our floor and we walked in to the tiniest hotel room I have ever seen!  It was smaller than our room on the cruise we took!  There was a queen size bed a night stand and a small table and a small walk way to get to the bed from the door.  That was it.  I had no idea where we were going to put our luggage.  Luckily Steve had thought to pack everything we would need in just one case so we didn't have to open more than one and we managed to get it all in and then just tried to shuffle around it when we walked to the door or the bathroom.  It did seem clean though and the bed wasn't too hard.  Of coarse the air conditioning sucked in our room but my mom switched us rooms so we could have a turn with good air conditioning.

Our bathroom!
Zack and Grandma's 100 degree, 100% humiditiy room.  This was literally all of it, with a bathroom off to the side!  Our room was only slightly larger.
As you can see, there wasn't even room to lay out a suitcase, they had to stay standing up or there was no room to walk!

We were all hungry so we trooped outside to see if there was anywhere to eat.  We happened upon a street that was busy and had a lot of restaurants and I looked up and saw a sign for hot pot!  We had wanted to eat hot pot in China but had never seen any so we were excited to try it.  It is very similar to shabu shabu in Japan.  We went in and ordered and had a good meal.  We had a plate of thin shaved beef, some pork, shrimp, veggies and noodles.  I felt bad every time I left a restaurant because where ever Daisy had sat there was a huge mess on the floor!

At the Hot Pot restaurant waiting for our hot pot to arrive and eating some peanuts and drinking Cal Pis.
Our hot pot simmering away.  You can see the delicious thin sliced beef next to Zack and some of the veggies.  
Daisy looks as crazy as we all felt at that point.  We left an extra good tip because of the HUGE mess she left for them to clean up!

After this we went to a night market and Zack got some Poke mon cards (a whole slew, I think 115 for $8), and a toy and I tried to buy some stuff but the prices seemed ridiculously high after China so I didn't end up getting anything.

We were all exhausted after this and went back to our miniature rooms and slept until about 6:30 am at which time we had to wake up, pack, check out, find 2 taxi's and drive to the airport 40 minutes away.

If we weren't so excited to get home we would have liked to explore Hong Kong some more.  It seemed like a neat city, maybe some day we can go back.

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