And we made it to Guangzhou, Guangdong, China! Home of Arden, Bret, Remi, Stafan, Shepard and Pryor. Did I leave anyone out? Nope. We only have six from Guangzhou.
The hot towel they hand out always feels so, so good after the long hours on the plane. I actually slept about eight hours on the flight from LA to Guangzhou. That gave me time for two two hour movies and to eat breakfast. It made it an easy flight for me. : - )
The Asian flight attendants would automatically speak Chinese to Arden. Arden is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese, so it was OK. But then they would do the same thing with Lael. Lael doesn't speak Chinese, so she would have to smile and let them know she didn't speak the language. Lael doesn't even think she looks Chinese, which she of course does. LOL
Me: "I told you you looked Asian Lael."
Lael: "It is only because it is dark in here."
Walking out of the Guangzhou airport. It was hot, sticky and had the Guangzhou smell. I had arrived!
We stayed at The China Hotel Marriott. One lady told us only foreigners call it The China Hotel. The hotel is really nice, but look at the window. I put pictures below.
Our view from our hotel window. It doesn't seem like anyone has dryers in China. Even on the rainiest days laundry is hanging out their windows.
Starbucks was inside our hotel. We used to sometimes find Coke Zero in China--China's version of Diet Coke. This time we didn't find one! So I got teas at Starbucks. After a little arguing, they usually produced sugar-free sweetener from behind the counter. Of course, if Arden was with me she could ask in Chinese.
Right outside our hotel is another hotel we like to eat at. It has really good Cantonese food.
This was the other hotel we like to eat dinner at.
Guess I'd look sad too, if I was about to be eaten.
It takes some doing to find food we will eat.
They like their Mao. Or maybe they are still just afraid to say they don't. Click here to read a snippet on Mao's legacy.
Mike is totally intrigued by how casually the Chinese deal with the live scorpions.
Back in the hotel we are living large.
The breakfast buffet at the Marriott is one of our favorite and most relaxing times of the day.
The was the restaurant manager, Oleg. Oleg is from Russia. Oleg and his colleague Jose, who is from Spain, loved to talk to foreigners. Even though we aren't Russian or Spanish, we gave them a taste of home I guess. Oleg even invited himself out to dinner with us. He is now on Mike's WeChat. : - ) He is a great guy!
One of the best parts of traveling to cities like Guangzhou and staying at hotels like the Marriott (aka the China Hotel), is meeting people from so many different countries. You not only get to experience Chinese culture, but also the cultures of other foreigners you meet. Oleg gave us some insights to Russians that I didn't know. One is they don't smile unless they have a genuine reason to do so. And for them, simply greeting someone on the street is not a genuine reason to smile. So while Americans who meet a Russian for the first time may be thinking, "hmmm, he is not very friendly....," the Russian is probably thinking, "why is this idiot smiling at me for no reason?!" He even said Russians have an expression, "Why they show all 32 teeth?" (which he said is synonymous with "are they stupid or something?"). According to Oleg, Russians only smile at true friends. But he told us he really liked our unique family. Before we left we gave him gifts--all our American snacks we had taken. LOL And he even smiled at us.
Thanks to technology, we were able to stay in touch with the kids back home more than any prior trip (and we've been 9 times). We used Facetime to talk to them almost every morning and evening.
Lael and Arden ate some strange things. I stayed safe with food like this. Arden said Lael was not as daring as her. I did see Lael put back the eyeball of a fish. : - )