Thursday, 24 February 2011

China: Day 1

Day 1: 26th August 2010

The first day to my first independent travelling experience!

On the day, I checked that I had everything a crazy number of times before we left the house, and then we set off for the airport. I'd never been to Terminal 5 before so wasn't really too sure what to expect. Got there and my Dad searched for somewhere to buy a charger adapter because I'd lost my old one. After my family left, I hung out with Christine until Anna joined us later. We stood around waiting for everyone to arrive but after receiving some phone calls, our group leader Claire decided that we should all check in first. It was pretty weird because all we had to do was kind of log in on a computer ourselves, and it printed off our tickets. Then we just had to drop our huge bags off at the counter and go through security; it was so army-like! What's the word.. so.. military? (I have no idea if that makes sense, lol) The queues were crazy long! We were there for ages -_- It was quite efficient though compared to Terminal 3. Eventually our other group leader Alex arrived just after we'd all gone through security.

At this point, I was starting to think that Terminal 5 was basically a copy of Hong Kong airport! I guess because it was so much brighter and more spacious than all the other terminals that I've been in. The simplicity probably had something to do with it too.

After getting through security, we decided to split and get lunch. My flight was at 4.40pm so obviously we'd all gotten there around 12 ish to check in and stuff. We went to Boots for a quick meal deal and then ate it in the waiting area at some huge gate. After visiting all the Duty Free shops, we reunited with the group and sat around waiting for everyone. I don't think we realised at the time that we had to travel for so long towards our gate. We had to take some lift and then take a transit train to our gate (very similar to the transit trains in HK airport..) and once we got off we actually had to leg it to the gate!! We kept hearing them announce that the gate was closing soon, but when we got there the BA people told us it was fine and we all just filed onto the plane.

The original plan was to sit with Christine, but everyone ended up sitting according to their plane tickets. I'm probably the worst person to sit next to during a plane journey because I basically go into hibernation mode. I don't eat and I don't move. I'd only ever met these people once so I didn't really remember who were who; plus I don't think I actually saw many of them at the group lunch before the trip. Anyways, so yeah, I ended up sitting next to Mickey and Kerry. I remember he introduced himself through offering me Pringles and asking if I was okay, then asking me my name and where I was from, haha. Kerry helped me put my bag into the over head cabinet because I couldn't reach, and then eventually the three of us introduced ourselves properly.

Once the flight took off, I took a nap because I was so exhausted from packing the night before. I tried to watch Dear John but my head phones were messed up so I couldn't actually hear anything -_- Dinner was served, and the air hostess asked me in Mandarin what I wanted: Beef Cobbler or Curry Chicken? I asked for the chicken in English. (Later I'd realise that Chinese people just assume that because you look/are Chinese, it must mean you know how to speak Mandarin, hahaa)

First meal I've eaten on a plane since God knows when

I ended up watching Valentine's Day and Nanny McPhee after dinner, and eventually crashed out again. I never watch movies or do anything but sleep on the plane, so I guess things were already looking up in terms of looking after myself haha. I did feel sick towards the end of the flight though but I couldn't find any sick bags ANYWHERE -_- don't worry, I didn't puke in the end.

At some point during the flight, the air host/esses went round offering arrival forms. The one who came over to us decided that I didn't need one, so I had to call her back and ask her for one -_- See what I mean about them assuming you come from China or speak Mandarin?

Once we landed, I jacked the blanket and socks that they gave us and got off the plane. I know you're not supposed to take the blankets but it was so lightweight and small! I think other people took some as well. I know Christine did, because I told her to hahaha.

After immigration, we went to collect our bags and being the idiot I am, I was practically chasing my bag along the conveyor belt -_- Luckily Mickey was there so I asked him to grab it for me. Practically everyone couldn't wait to get their walking boots off, so we changed into flip flops right there and then. Some of them went to exchange money at the bureau thing, so I went on ahead with Chu to meet her friend who she was exchanging money with her. As soon as we went out, you could feel how much warmer it was in China. It was like they were so environmentally friendly they'd decided to turn the air con on in the lowest setting. So different to Hong Kong. I swear in Hong Kong they have the air con on full blast EVERYWHERE. You could probably catch a cold from the air con..

So yeah, after we met her friend, we were walking out of the arrivals part properly, and some guy shoved a cardboard sign saying 'Really Wild Travel' in my face. Totally took me by surprise. I was like 'huh?' Then he pointed at my t-shirt, and I realised who he was, haha. I didn't know this at the time, but in 10 days time, we would all be upset at leaving this guy.

After the rest of the group had arrived, we all piled onto the mini bus and got introduced to the our tour guides for the duration of our trip. Cheney (my name's Cheney, but you can call me Chen-dubz XD) was our main tour guide, and he was hilarious! He talked about getting shitfaced and other slang terms he'd learnt from foreign visitors before us. Leo (later known as lil' bin) was our other tour guide, and was a giant fountain of all knowledge. Seriously, he knows everything about everything. Initially I found Leo really random. He could talk about Shakespeare one second, then the next he'd be going on about how there's no toilet paper in most toilets.. They both gave us really useful information though, about how to stay safe crossing the roads (I know that sounds tedious but China drivers are CRAZY) and how to keep our money and passports safe. Ironically though, after they'd told us that, they collected all our passports LOL.

We were also told all about our trek and China's history during the journey, and we realised how difficult this trek would be. I didn't expect it to be that tough, but I never thought something that tiring could be so much fun either. An hour and 10 minutes later, we got to our hotel and were allocated rooms.

Chubs and our first of many rooms.

We didn't understand why it was so nice either.

Obligatory bathroom pic!

We unpacked our stuff and then headed down to the supermarket to stock up on water and snacks. Then we returned to the hotel and chilled for a while watching random music channels until it was 5pm and time for dinner. We fell asleep a few times too hahaha.

That night we had so much good food for dinner! Just editing the photos and typing this makes me hungry -_-

Kung Pao chicken apparently. Everyone's favourite dish by the end of the trek.

No idea what this is called but it's SO GOOD.

This was too spicy for me but still, it was good!

Peking Duck nomnomnom!!

No idea what this is either, but it was yum too!

As you can probably tell, I just eat food I'm given provided it looks edible and I might like it LOL.

One of the beer brands that saw us through our independent travels.

Then we just came back, showered, chatted and eventually slept. The rest of the group went out for drinks but we were too knackered.

I'm sure I've bored you enough by now so I will stop typing (and go find food because I'm starving now). If you liked reading about my time in China, I'll try update again (and post more pics in future entries cos I know how boring text can be). If you didn't like it, oh well? hahaha

Thanks for reading!

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