I’ve heard so many stories about the Canton Fair – that is huge, and attracts so many people. But I’ve actually never been there.
Enter my Panget’s business trip.
I was nervous to be honest, I mean – I’ve heard that you will walk your ass off! And I’ve never done that, even if I’ve been on a few shopping marathons years ago – I was scared. I was scared to the point where I actually bought a pair of rubber shoes! Yes, I really bought one – and thank goodness for the steal I got it for, thank you ROX for having the brand Ryka on sale!!
We started the day early – reached the airport at 6:30am. What welcomed us at the counter was an advisory, saying that our flight was overbooked – and that any passenger who was willing to give up their seat/s will have the following gratuities:
a) a CONFIRMED flight early in the afternoon
b) a complimentary round trip ticket to Hong Kong
c) P3,000.00 or hotel accommodation.
My Panget and I thought about this – I mean, a complimentary trip to HK? We thought it was a good enough deal. We were very much tempted to take the offer but then, the purpose of the trip was to attend the Canton Fair – and if we had accepted the offer, the sole purpose of the trip will be futile. I was even kidding with the officer behind the counter to upgrade us – to which she replied with an ‘are you kidding’ laugh that upgrades have certain priorities – like the Mabuhay Miles Elite members and etc. I tried right?
While inside the lounge – we were surprised when an officer (who happends to my by mom’s friend) came up to us, asking for our boarding passes. I didn’t hesitate to give my boarding pass, I thought maybe they needed it for records or something. So, when were handed the boarding passes – I was surpised to hear the words ‘You’ve been upgraded to Business Class na!’ Talk about luck right? My Panget and I were delighted! I mean, wow right!
The flight was pleasant enough, although the flight attendant forgot to give me my main meal – I don’t know how she can forget about me, when she has been giving to each and every one in front, behind and beside me (my Panget). My order of Chicken Tocino became Chicken Inasal, because she forgot! But before I was given the Chicken Inasal – there was this Muesli that was served, it was with mango and raisins and etc. My Panget said that it tasted icky – he didn’t like it, so I toughened up and gave it a try, lo and behold – I LOVED it! Hahaha… It was a little weird at first but then when you eat more, it tastes better and better!
Since we were just passing through in Hong Kong – we took the Airport Express – you then get off at the Kowloon Station. Once there, go up the escalator or elevators and look for Exit B for the free shuttle to some Tsim Sha Tsui hotels and to the Hung Hom station. Hung Hom station is where you ride the trains going to mainland China – they call this ‘through trains’.
The Hung Hom station was quite impressive, I mean – it was modern, but what turned me off was the lack of signs and lack of people helping out to point you to the right direction. Good thing my Panget’s uncle was with us and guided us to the ticket booth, and off we went. The train was supposed to leave at 12:14 in the afternoon, but it left 12:28 – this made me wonder, will we get to Guangzhou on time? Well, we were late – for exactly 28 minutes.
Let me tell you about the train. Gosh, when I knew that my Panget and I were riding the train from HK to Guangzhou – I was ecstatic and excited. I’ve always told people that for me, the best way to travel through China was by train. I don’t know why – but I love the feel and ambiance of it. Maybe because whilst studying there – it was the only affordable mode of transport for us students to travel intercity/state! My dream will always be – traveling from Xiamen to Beijing! I know it will take more than 24 hours, but what the heck – if I like the mode of traveling, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it. But this train ride – has to have accompanying friends, most of which will be my former ‘back-pack’ travel gang in China. This is quite impossible now as most of us have our own lives – we’re almost all married off!
Anyhoo, going back to the train – well, when I saw it, so many memories rushed back in. I felt as if I traveled back in time, the trains still looked the same – and the smell, it was still the same. What made me really enjoy the memory, was when I thought of the toilets. For me, the thing that will make me realize that I was back in China was the toilet. When I entered the toilet – I smiled, well because finally – I was back in China – the toilets were, on the floor. But mind you, this toilet was clean – and if you would believe, stink free!! I know its gross, but I had to check if I was really back in China! Hahahaha!!
When we were approaching the Guangzhou East Railway Station. I had a silly grin on my face, my Panget was actually wondering why the grin. I can’t explain it, but you see – I’ve been so hungry to go to China for years and this was my first time to actually set foot again on the mainland. It was like I was coming home, coming back again. I know this will sound bizarre, but the dingy-ness of the Guangzhou East Railway station – it made all the difference! Fran and Paul advised to me buy the return tickets immediately after arriving – and so I did. I was so glad that Holiday Inn City Center’s representative was helpful enough to point me to the right direction! When we got to the ticket booth – it was mayhem. I remembered again the thing that irritated me the most while in China – the mainlander’s refusal to fall in line when need be. Imagine, there were only 2 windows selling tickets, yet somehow – there were about 20 people crowding the windows – and those behind the counter? It seemed they didn’t mind! When it was my turn, I was literally boxing people out and shrieking ‘Bie Ji Wo’ which means don’t crowd me! But yet, I lost the fight, apparently – the ticket lady wasn’t impressed! She then refused to look at me, that was until I raised my voice to her. Thankfully, the representative helped me out. I thought to myself – had I brought my Panget along to buy the tickets, he would have been culture shocked at the sight and at the happenings. But not to worry, I’m sure he will witness it when we ride back to Hong Kong.
When we got to the hotel, we were delighted because the staff knew how to speak English! We were then showed to our room, it was old – reminded me of the old rooms in the Exelsior Hotel in Hong Kong, but all was good as the bathroom was clean and the room was too!
I suggested to my Panget that since we had time to spare, to go the exhibition hall, to see what the place, to get a map so we can plan out our agenda for the next day. What welcomed me were massive buildings!
Fran’s Paul described it as ‘tatlong Megamall sa isang hall, tapos tatlong hall yun!’ Okay – in my mind, that was 9 times the size of Megamall. I mean hey, I can walk Megamall from end to and, and it doesn’t pose as a problem for me that it’s three times that walk times three more times! I thought to myself, ah, maliit lang yan! Kayang kaya!’ But when I first caught sight of it on the taxi– my jaw dropped. The description of Paul didn’t do it justice (sorry Paul!) because the place was MASSIVE!! It was HUGE! Huge beyond anyone’s imagination! I was astonished at the humongous convention center. I told my Panget that even if I walked the distance of Megamall nine times – I still won’t be able to finish the whole convention center!
I was in awe, literally in awe. I mean – this has got to be the BIGGEST convention center, ever! Walking to it – it made me realize what Jack was feeling in Jack and the Beanstalk! The convention center looked like it was made for giants and not humans! I’m sure you’ve seen how tall SMX is right? Well, this convention center I think is 2.5 times SMX in height! I mean, yeah – I may have exaggerated a bit on the size, but that was what it felt like for me, till now!
I know it’s out of topic but for those who have seen 2012 – and thought, how can China have built those pods? Well, its possible alright! They were able to build this massive convention center, they can build the pods – indeed!
I was and still is very much impressed with structure of the convention center. Is there an episode on Mega Structures featuring the building of this massive hall? I do hope there is!!
inggit ako!! 🙂 i miss yo na!!
Shen!! Miss you narin!! Haven't seen you in a loooong time!! Kita kita naman tayo!!