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Ah the joys of travel


As expected, Facebook is definitely blocked from access here in the hugely overpopulated, smog-filled nation known fondly as China. Makes me sad.

So, my day was fairly eventful:

- Woke up at the pleasant time of around 6am to the sound of parents bickering over luggage and shite.

- Had a really quick drive to the airport despite the time (during which cars are normally bumper to bumper in the M5 especially). Threatened my brother with DEATH if he damaged my car during my absence.

- Had to dial through about 1000 different 3-number combinations because my brother fucked up and couldn't remember the combination he set on the luggage lock that he reset. None of the combinations worked. That was equally brilliant.

- Check-in was as expected, mom overpacked by 4 kgs and we were forced to remove some heavy items (such as the jars of fish oil pellets and jars of face cream she bought for souvenirs and gifts for relos).

- We would soon come to regret this action later, because the customs inspectors naturally removed all 'liquid' items from our carry-on with the exception of what would fit into 3 plastic zip-lock bags. Yes, we are terrorists, here to blow up your plane, armed with the ingenious combination of fish oil pellets and lanolin face cream. Ah well, the lesson is well learnt, we will not try to do the plane a favour next time and pack all luggage into one suitcase.

- Mom, very upset over the loss of gifts for relos (gift-giving is very important over here), was so angry at herself she was about to cry. Dad tried to make her feel better but naturally by doing it the completely wrong way and therefore making it worse. Angry parents bickering again. I am silently eating my Sausage and Egg McMuffin with extra sausage and cheese and wishing that I never agreed to this fiasco in the first place and stayed home.

- Eventually parents got over it and we ventured into duty-free to buy replacement gifts of alcohol and tobacco. We bought two packs of Black Label and Double Black Label Johnny Walker (or whatever) and some Malboro Gold and some obscure brand of Chinese cigarettes.

- The flight was fairly uneventful. There were no evil bratty children thank god, but it was hilarious listening to the inflight transmissions made by the cabin crew. We travelled with China Southern Airlines so all the cabin crew are far more well-versed in Mandarin/Cantonese than English. It was very difficult to understand their instructions in English. Bear in mind that this is possibly very dangerous as well in the event of an emergency. There were frequent pauses in any English announcements. Sometimes the English announcement would be cut off mid-sentence with no continuation, the poor flight attendant undoubtedly having given up due to extreme flustered-ness or something.

- The food on the flight was fairly good for airplane food. Though my mom had another butthurt moment when she looked at the duty-free catalogue on the plane and apparently the tobacco we had purchased in the airport terminal was more expensive than the ones on the plane. She was later appeased when a flight attendant explained that the ones they sold on board were produced in China and the ones we had purchased in the Sydney airport was produced in Australia. I am just glad I was spared more parental bickering.

- Upon arrival in Guangzhou, I was struck by the sudden sensation that yes, I was in CHINA. Why, you ask? Well the sky was an unnatural grey, for one thing. Another was the absolutely friendly and delightful attitude of the customs officials (yes, I'm being sarcastic), the complete absence of any retail amenities in the airport (but that may possibly be attributed to the construction occurring onsite), and the funny Engrish posted in random places.

- This tickled me as I walked past the construction barrier: "Please understand the inconvenience of construction." While the sentence is grammatically correct, it just sounds very strange for the context.

- The overwhelming number of Asians lining up at the Foreign Visitors desk at customs was also a source of hilarity. We outnumbered any actual white/black/non-Asian people by more than 50 to 1? And the lack of people lining up at the PRC Nationals desk was just too fucking funny after a 9-hour flight in the center seats with no legroom.

- Curiously, no one even bothered to check our baggage at customs in Guangzhou, we just picked it up off the carousel and followed the crowd outside...and it was already the Arrivals Hall. I was shocked because I would think the stringent suspicious people of the PRC would want our stuff checked for contraband or undeclared stuff. My parents shrugged it off, saying that the officers only really called up sus-looking people, and that their main priority was preventing drugs from entering the country. I was still bewildered by the random.

(Fastforwarding now, my spoilt brat of a cousin will need to go to bed, and the computer I am using is in his temporary room)

- Had dinner with uncle from dad's side, his wife and his son. The dinner was awkward but amusing at the same time because my uncle bickered with my aunt like my parents do.

- Got to my grandparents' place, realised that they now have a dog. Now the dog is small and fluffy and cute, but barks a lot at strangers (i.e. us). Let's see if he tries to bit me. The name they gave the dog is so stereotypical of a pet name in China - Bao-Bao, bao meaning treasure. The repetition is more affectionate.

- Rediscovered my disdain/hatred for my younger cousin and possibly other children in general. It's like fucking 10pm at night, and the little brat, who's been playing video games all day and didn't even say hello to us, demands his mother get him McDonalds because he is 'in a bad mood'. This guy slammed a bedroom door on us because it was left open a gap and the little shit didn't want to be disturbed while playing video games.

My beef with this is not even about the food (no duh), it's the attitude: If you want to get fucking Maccas, get it your fucking self. I totally hate it when people leave my bedroom door open when they leave too, but seriously? I would never do that to visitors or relos. His attitude is appalling and it's only gotten worse since the last time I've seen him and IT'S ONLY THE FIRST DAY.

I wanna go home. To Internet that's not censored and air that is relatively clean. Oh, and an actual shower, not a sink tap with a handheld showerhead attachment. I complain about this because it's incredibly cumbersome and tiring to hold the shower in one hand and it's hard to feel like you've rinsed thoroughly when there's not enough water flow. SLAMS HEAD AGAINST WALL. And before you ask, there is no bathtub.

At least there's a toilet you can sit on. If it was a squatting toilet I might actually try to murder myself (and it would be dreadfully simple here). Now to hope I don't need to go when we're out and about on the street, because public toilets here (besides being incredibly unhygienic) generally require squatting.

And lack toilet paper.

But hey, the food is good. Yummy food.

Hope everyone is doing good back home. I miss you already.


Mar. 23rd, 2010 11:59 am (UTC)
My family has the same thing, except my dad can usually argue his way around the luggage thing...

Jedi Mind Tricks...