A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: katdill

Home Again

We left our hotel in Guangzhou around 6:00 am and took the subway to the airport. I had been worried about using the subway before we arrived. I thought it would be too difficult to know where we were and where to get off. But it was very easy, there are English signs and announcements on the subway. It's a good cheap way to get around.
We flew to Qing Dao and changed planes there for the big international flight. In that airport, we saw a couple of new things. One, a sign for where to exit if your flight was cancelled. All the airports we have been in and we've never seen that one before. And then the fresh orange juice machine. We saw one and wanted to try it, but it wouldn't accept cash. You had to pay with some electronic method we didn't have available. Then we found another machine and gave it a try. It tasted like fresh juice, although we couldn't actually see the process.
Exit of Cancelled Flights

Exit of Cancelled Flights

Fresh orange juice machine

Fresh orange juice machine


The long flight home was uneventful, except that the plane left an hour late, I think to avoid some bad weather. It was a fairly bumpy ride for a lot of the way, but not too bad. We arrived in Vancouver with about 1/2 hour before our connecting plane left. No chance, with immigration and customs, luggage pick up, etc. But Air Canada put us on the next direct flight, so we got into Saskatoon just a couple of hours later that planned.
Keegan and Kimberly picked us up at the airport and took us to Kalindi's, where we spent the night. Had a great sleep and made it back home in the morning. Another great trip comes to an end.

Posted by katdill 09:04 Archived in China Comments (0)

One Day in Guangzhou

overcast 17 °C

We got an early start on the day, catching a taxi at 6:00 am to take us to the airport. There was the usual huge line for checking in. When we made it to the desk, we had to convince the airline people we could go to China without a visa - getting a 24 hour transit visa when we arrive. They did agree finally and we went thru security and found some breakfast. Once we were on our flight, we had another breakfast! It is so hard these days to know when you are going to get fed on a plane or when you are going to be charged for water or other drinks.
We arrived in Guangzhou, China in good time and after getting our 24 hour visa, found our way to the subway. This is a new subway that goes all the way out to the airport. Don had carefully figured out how many stops and where we had to get off. It worked very well, we even had seats! We had to change trains once, but that was easy. Then we arrived at our stop and got off. We could not find our way out of the metro station. There were three floors of shops and after wandering around looking for an outside door, we finally got some direction from a sales clerk. At last we found the exit, and ironically enough we had been heading for it, initially, but got distracted by an exit sign which was apparently for earthquake shelter!
Maze of shops by the Metro station

Maze of shops by the Metro station


So then we are on the street in downtown. We know our hotel is close by, but where exactly? We did find it, again by asking for help from people who couldn't speak much English if any, but they recognized the name of the hotel and pointed in the right direction. We are on the 18th floor of a towering high rise. Too bad it is an overcast, foggy (or smoggy) day.
View from our window

View from our window


After getting settled in, we started exploring. There is a large park very close by so that was where we started. Lovely old trees with signs saying things like "care for the trees, we need them". There were some interesting statues dedicated to "heroes" of the revolution. We found a group of people having a singing lesson or choir practice in a little gazebo in the park. They sounded good, too.
Big old trees

Big old trees

Cute warning sign

Cute warning sign


We visited Sun Yat Sen's Memorial Auditorium, which had a video running about him and the actual building of the auditorium. It is a lovely building and they had a great display out front - likely from the New Year's celebrations. We could see there was another park close by, so away we go. We found it and what they call the "100 step staircase" which in actuality has 498 steps. These steps lead up a hill to the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Tower at the top. Whew, quite a climb, and we had no idea what we were getting into. The flight of steps wind up the hill, so when you start you just see the first four flights or so and turn a corner and there is four more, etc. There were lots of people going up and down the steps, people exercising in the park, visiting, etc. Once we reached the tower, we went in and climbed a few more steps to see the view from the tower. Luckily, we couldn't go all the way to the top! It was scary high!
Sun Yat Sen Memorial Auditorium

Sun Yat Sen Memorial Auditorium

Nice green castle of plants

Nice green castle of plants

A floral rooster for the New Year

A floral rooster for the New Year


There were lots of birds in the trees, the ceiba or kapok trees are blooming and other trees are coming into bloom. Very nice indeed! When we came down, we took a different route, which was a road that gradually came down the hill.
Packages of tea for sale at a little tea shop

Packages of tea for sale at a little tea shop

Ceiba flowers which are the official flower of Guangzhou

Ceiba flowers which are the official flower of Guangzhou

The modern skyline

The modern skyline


We ended up in a different area of the city. We have been using an app called maps.me on my phone which is fantastic. Once we arrive in a new place, I hook it up to the internet for a few minutes so it can download the maps for the area. Then it doesn't need WIFI anymore, it talks to the satellites I guess and shows us where we are and how to get where we want to go. So with the assistance of maps.me we can wander quite freely and still find our way back. We did pass thru a part of town that was older and more interesting for us than the modern downtown scene. We stopped at a restaurant for an early supper - my criteria being that there was some English on the menu so we would know what we were eating! It was good and we enjoyed our meal. Then back to our room to rest up for our big flight back to Canada tomorrow.

Posted by katdill 02:41 Archived in China Comments (0)

One Day in Manila

semi-overcast 30 °C

We decided we didn't want to spend the day sitting in taxis trying to see the sites suggested for Manila. The taxi ride yesterday showed us how awful the traffic is and we didn't want to repeat it. So we decided to walk around the area (Makati) that we are in. Makati is one of the 13 cities that make up greater Manila. Makati has only 1/2 million people, while greater Manila has 20 million!
After breakfast, we were in our room looking for any attractions near us. We could hear what sounded like a marching band practicing fairly close by. So after a while we went out to see if we could watch the practice. We got to the school, which is only a block away, just as the practice was over. One of the teachers told us they had won second place in an International competition.
While exploring the neighbourhood, we got our hair cut. I got it done in one salon, but they wouldn't do Don's because the man that cuts hair was off for the day. So we went a little down the street and found another shop where he got his done. We visited the river, in hopes of a nice park or walkway along the river. But it was only a tiny park and any walking along the river would be in full sun. Full sun is definitely something to avoid here. Shady side of the street always - the sun is so intense!
View of the river with some high rises

View of the river with some high rises

Topiary elephant made with two plants in pots

Topiary elephant made with two plants in pots


The small buses or jeepneys are so colourful. Each one has its own decorations - I guess it must help people know which one to catch. The ones we have seen are usually jammed full of people. I don't know if there are other kinds of buses here or not.
Jeepney bus

Jeepney bus


We wandered a little farther afield, checked out a "Dry/Wet Market", which had many rows of seamstresses hard at work in their little booths. It also had a vegetable, fruit and fish market. We got a "star apple" to try. This is the fruit that was falling out of the tree by our room in Port Barton, which sounded like rocks falling on the roof. We have never tasted one before. It was good, but quite bland, not an intense flavour.
Seamstress row at the market

Seamstress row at the market


We discovered a Korean grocery, so Don could buy more Soji - a Korean drink like tequila. Then we had lunch at a Korean restaurant, which we haven't had before. It was good but so much food! We were stuffed when we were done. We came back to the B&B to rest in the hottest part of the day.
Cooker for instant noodles in the grocery store

Cooker for instant noodles in the grocery store


Around 5:00 or so, we went out to find a vegetarian restaurant recommended by the B&B owner. A friend of his runs it and the food there was very good. The food here in Manila is a lot more expensive than we have been paying - big city prices, I guess. We also had a look around a huge complex called Jazz - a shopping mall with condos and office towers above. The towers above are so big, it is hard to take it in. After all that, we managed to find our way home in the dark, without getting lost at all.

Posted by katdill 05:19 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

Last Day on Palawan and Travel to Manila

Two Days in One

sunny 32 °C

On our last day here, Rob and Don decided to just lay around and take it easy. So the day was spent - mostly on our patio - editing pictures, getting the accounting up to date, etc. Rob shared some of his pictures with us and here is a video of the rough sea one day on the ship.

View of our hotel from the water - from Rob

View of our hotel from the water - from Rob


The dining area in the morning

The dining area in the morning

Crab fishers coming in with their catch

Crab fishers coming in with their catch

The hill to climb on the far side of the bay

The hill to climb on the far side of the bay


Rob left very early in the morning for the airport, his flight had been moved to an earlier time. I'm so glad we didn't book the same flight. Our flight was at 1:10 so we left about 10: 15. We walked down to the dock area, got the boat back across the bay, and climbed the hill on the other side. Then it was about a 1/2 hour van ride to the airport. We shared the ride with another couple who were on an earlier flight, otherwise we would have left a little later. Once we checked in, we found our flight was a little delayed, but only 1/2 hour or so.

Once we arrived in Manila, we got a taxi to our accommodation. We had a very talkative cab driver, although he didn't recognize the name of our B&B and it took awhile to get him going to the right part of town. What horrific traffic here, solid cars and busses, not so many motorbikes. It must have taken nearly an hour to get there.
This is a converted old house, lots of charm, but a tiny room we can hardly move in. The owner is very helpful and shares his local knowledge very freely. As soon as we got settled in, we went out for a meal. We walked over to a new development, Rockwell, that is nearby and had supper at a Greek restaurant in the mall. Not the best, but I was starving by then, so it was good enough. Rockwell, is a huge (15 hectares) development with condos, shopping, office buildings, you name it. Work, live, eat, all in the same area! We stopped to check out the model on display and had a salesman trying to get us interested right away! By the time we walked back to our place it was getting dark, so time to retire to our room.
La Casita Mercedes

La Casita Mercedes

Our tiny room

Our tiny room


A model of the Rockwell development

A model of the Rockwell development

Posted by katdill 14:10 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

Lazy Day at Al Faro

sunny 32 °C

Don and Rob went on a snorkelling tour where they were the only two customers in the boat. They went to Coral Gardens and to Calumbuyan Island. They said Coral Gardens was very good, but the coral at Calumbuyan had been damaged in the 2012 typhoon. They did have a good visit with the caretaker at Calumbuyan and also had fresh coconuts there. They had taken sandwiches with them for lunch and got back around 2:00.
I got a WIFI modem from the desk and brought it to our room, so I could sit on the patio and upload pictures without difficulty. So I got my blog all caught up while they were gone.
The top part of our hotel from the path

The top part of our hotel from the path


It was a very lazy day. When we went up for drinks (happy hour), there were quite a few people from sailing boats or other resorts who came in for supper. So it was a noisy busy dining room last night.
Sunset from the dining room

Sunset from the dining room

Busy night life

Busy night life

Posted by katdill 17:21 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

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