Spending Time in China continued

21 09 2008

After a tortuous night, Monday morning gratefully arrived.  I had woken up at around 0300 and realized that I didn’t feel so great.  Cold sweats, nausea – It seems that something in that curry didn’t agree with me.  The four hours between 0300 and 0700 were punctuated by trying to keep my temperature regulated, trying to make sure I was close enough to the washroom and trying to sleep. In short, I had been to hell. Thankfully by 0800 I was ready to go, albeit a bit weak-legged.  I decided that I desperately needed some breakfast… some congee perhaps.

We went down for breakfast and there wasn’t much being offered.  We chose some beef noodles (Lanzhou is ALL over the beef noodle thing) and some steamed bread twists.  I only ate a bit.

Our colleague came to get us at 0900 and we took a taxi to the office. We got to the office and started unpacking various bits and got to our tasks.  Things looked like they were going to go pretty well.  Lunch was one of the first signs that it could be a long visit.  We had gone to a restaurant near the office and it was PACKED.  There were 3 large ( >10 ) tables and others.  They squeezed us in and my seat was milk crate – Oi Vey!  The smoke was so thick you could taste it in every breath.  I had forgotten that you could smoke anywhere, anytime in China.  They REALLY need to work on that.  We had a meal of fish (with chillis), Potato slices (with chillis), Chinese cabbage (with chillis) and I think something else (with chillis – do you see the trend?)  Way too much food ordered.  We took some back with the idea that we could reheat it at the office if hungry later.

Other than the fact that I basically smoked about a dozen cigarettes sitting in the restaurant, lunch was good (and SPICY).  The rest of the day went pretty unremarkably (wrong outlet for UPS etc, but nothing life shattering)

I took a few pictures on the way home and we went to the Chinese restaurant for dinner this time.  The food was more along the lines of what I am accustomed to in Vancouver. I mean… in the middle of China are you going to go looking for a good hamburger or some serious Chinese food?

That’s all for Monday… perhaps I’ll keep getting caught up as I go along.

Thanks for reading!

Spending time in China

21 09 2008

I’m in China again for work.  I arrived here back on Sunday.  The next few posts will be a bit of a journal.


I flew out on AC029 on Saturday.  I particularly chose that flight as Air Canada has put seat back Video on Demand and seat back power into some of their planes and AC029 was one of those planes.  The plane was about 50% full only so I ended up with an aisle seat next to an empty window seat.  Perfect.  I turned the little area into my own little space.  I had my laptop set up on the tray next to me, while being able to eat and view video on my own tray/seat.  The flight was about 11 hours to get to Beijing.  During that time I watched “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” and “88 minutes”.  Both movies were quite good.  The earphones I had brought for listening, unfortunately, had one not working.  It turned out alright as I let my head rest on the right side with the earbud in my left ear.  Sort of half listening/half sleeping.

I arrived in Beijing at the International arrivals.  They shuttle you to your luggage via a train.  Once there, I picked up my bags and cleared customs, happy that I had no visa grief.  My next challenge was to find my way to the domestic terminal and get checked into my flight with China East Airlines to Lanzhou.   The airport staff were very helpful and professional, directing me to my shuttle bus.  The bus ride over to the domestic terminal actually took about 10-15 minutes – I’m glad I wasn’t trying to connect to a tight flight connection!  I got to the check in desk for China Eastern and felt a bit comfortable as I recognized it from when we traveled from Beijing to HK a couple of years ago.  Finally, something recognizable.  First roadblock… English at the counter.  I wanted to know if my colleague had checked in yet.  I asked in English and was met with a blank stare and a bunch of Mandarin.  She did, however find a coworker who could help me and we determined that he checked in and that I could get a seat next to him – Good.  I walked down through security and was grilled a bit about my name (go figure) and then let pass. It was weird.  Upon making my way to the lounge, it was pretty obvious who my Australian colleague was…. the BIG white guy.  He stands 6’4” tall.  Hard to miss in a crowd of Asians.

The flight from Beijing to Lanzhou was VERY bumpy.  I think we had turbulence for about 90% of the trip.  This compounded the fact that China Eastern doesn’t exactly have much leg room – nothing like being strapped in and not able to stretch out.  We arrived a bit early (perhaps it was a tail wind that made it so bumpy?) at 1930 and our Lanzhou colleague was there to meet us.  We grabbed a cab and headed into the hotel on a ride that would take about an hour and take us through mountains, along deserted expressways and onto bumpy roads under construction that made you long for the turbulence of the plane.   

Upon arrival at the hotel, we got our rooms and settled the deposit.  They wanted a small fortune for a deposit.  Almost CAD1000 preauth on a credit card.  We settled into our rooms and went down to the Chinese restaurant for dinner.  No love.  It was closed already.  We headed down to the cafe and had a very tasty curried beef… We were tired… Off to bed.

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