3 days in Guangzhou

16 11 2011
Muk Muk and Duck Duck Travel in styleGuangzhou's "New City" by nightGuangzhou's "New City" by nightGuangzhou's "New City" by nightGuangzhou's "New City" by nightLittle bushman?
Yum Cha at the New Century HotelMuk Muk and Duck Duck have Dim Sum in HuaduFred Flintstone Ribs!Pepsi Sports???All the Tea in ChinaAll the Tea in China
Dates, fruits, nuts.... MarketplaceSome of my colleaguesOrdering lunch... FRESHLai Liu HaDiscussions over what seafood to have...Duck Duck and Muk Muk visit the office
Tea discsDuck Duck and Muk Muk at the hotelDim sumApartments as far as the eye can see..Mrs Dragonspeed - enjoying a cold one.Ahhhh...

Hong Kong 2011-11-14-16, a set on Flickr.

Sorry – fell behind while we were in China. We spent Monday-Wed in Guangzhou/Huadu. I had a chance to show Mrs Dragonspeed the office that I helped get setup when I visited 5 years ago. We also got to visit with our niece and nephew. A fun, but somewhat dusty and smoggy visit. Enjoy the photos 🙂

Catch up!

11 01 2008

I just realized that I missed linking to all the cool pics I took in Hong Kong/Shongsan/Guangzhou back in January of 2007


They start here: http://www.fotothing.com/DragonSpeed/photo/105/

and run until: http://www.fotothing.com/DragonSpeed/photo/115/



Blog down/no updates from HK Trip

28 02 2007

Some days you just can’t seem to win.  Technology has conspired against me.

First, my blog site was down for almost 2 weeks after I got home.  Tough to update the blog 😦

Second, I went to sync my HP IPaq 4150 with my new laptop, and “Poof!” there go all my nice point form notes that I took every day while we travelled.  Gone.

It seems that the last 12 days of my trip may never get published.

Too bad really – they were a fun time.


Did I mention that some days you just can’t seem to win?

Guangzhou/Hong Kong – January 26, 2007

5 02 2007


I woke up bright and early at 0630.  It didn’t take too long to pack up the rest of my stuff; by 0715 I was done my morning prep and packing so I headed down for my last breakfast.  I settled in for breakfast with my big bag, my backpack and my laptop all with me.  I knew I would have to have a big breakfast since I wasn’t going to be having lunch (the plane was leaving at 1425).  I had the usual selection of buns, eggs, bacon, orange juice and noodles.  The waitress brought me my coffee this time, and the nice lady that brought me my bill every day brought it to me, and asked about my departure.  I told her that I would be checking out after breakfast and she said that she would go right down and have them start preparing my invoice.  Great! It was going to be a much smoother checkout.  After hanging around and watching the Chinese news for a while I headed down to checkout.  On my way out of the restaurant I took a few pictures of the hostess and the waitress who I saw every day.  Checkout was smooth. Others checking out had to wait for things to get organized etc. The pre-checkout help really sped things up.

Work was light for me in the morning.  I sat around for a few hours and answered any questions that anyone might come up with.  By the time I left at noon I was confident that I was going to be leaving them with a well set up system.  I said my final goodbyes to everybody and thanked them for all their patience and help in getting my task completed.  One of the staff came to the airport with me to ensure that I didn’t get lost or worse 🙂  (Yes dear – my kidneys survived intact!)  After checking in at the counter, I proceeded to security. It’s a little more complicated than leaving home… you have to fill out a departure card, a health and quarantine card and a customs card.  Paperwork! Paperwork! (Mental note – next time, travel with a pen more accessible!).  After all the paperwork and people checking it, I went through the security screening.  I swear to God all chinese security screening machines are simply set to go off when you walk through.  It would probably beep if I walked through naked.  The china southern flight was a bit late leaving, but it was a short flight, and we ended up getting to Hong Kong on time.

On the plane, I filled out my paperwork for HK arrival (again – more papers).  It was a bit of a walk from where we de-planed to where we got our luggage.  When I arrived at teh carousel to pick up my bag it was the 5th off the belt!  Sweet!  Bing Bang, through customs, and I was in HK!  I popped in my HK SIM into my phone and picked up an Octopus and a return train ticket for the Airport express. I was set for HK!

Once down to the train platform, I called my sister-in-law.  She was in Central waiting for me.  My train ride took about 30 minutes and upon my exit, there she was.  It was good to see a familiar face again.  We bundled up my stuff and headed out to meet Barry down at the Regal Hotel in Causeway Bay.  We hung out and had some good beer (dark and more than 3.5%) and shot some darts. It was good.  Barry shoots darts there regularly so the staff were all good to us.  We even popped out for dinner and left my luggage there with no fear of it walking away.  We met a few of Barry’s fellow dart throwers and had a few more drinks after dinner.

Travelling makes a long day, even if it’s not much travelling.  We bailed from the bar at around 2130 and I took a cab back to Aberdeen.  I felt much more confident being alone in HK, having been so for 2 weeks in GZ.  I managed to direct the cab driver the final blocks to the apartment right next to ours.  It took me a bit to figure out why my key didn’t work.  Oops.  Once I figured out that part, I had the daunting task of hauling my 30Kg bag up the 4 flights to the apartment. I think my right arm is now longer than my left.  Stairmaster ain’t got nuttin’ on this!  I was “home”, and finally I didn’t have to worry about work if I didn’t want to. Once I figured out which bedroom I could crash in, I settled in and slept by 2300.  I knew I’d have to get up and get going in the morning for my cousin-in-law’s wedding on Saturday.

One interesting note.  Last year when I arrived from Vancouver to Hong Kong I commented on how polluted the air in HK was.  This year, coming from China, I commented on how FRESH the air was.  It’s all relative I guess 🙂

Guangzhou – January 25, 2007

4 02 2007

2007-01-25 (Thursday)

Man it was tough to wake up!  Nothing to do with the tequila, just too many late, late nights!  I bumped into the Sergio and Efrain (the two Mexican guys) at breakfast, and rethanked them for the the excellent time and tequila.  As a group the 8 of them made the last days of my hotel stay much more enjoyable.  I don’t know what I would have done if they hadn’t come along.  (Probably had more sleep and less booze?)

I spent Thursday (my last full day at work) organizing and taking pictures of EVERYTHING I had done so that when a support call comes later, we can refer to a picture of how it looks to direct staff to particular hardware more easily.  I created a few simple scenarios for my “tech contact” to troubleshoot, and although she was a bit reluctant to start looking deeper into the problems at first, by the end of the mock exercise she was much more confident in her problem solving abilities.  I made sure all the staff had all their access set up correctly, and that they wouldn’t have any surprises after I left.  The last couple of hours were spent mentally going over and over what I had done, and whether I had missed any little thing.  I was sure I had it all worked out.  At the end of the work day, told them all to go home and think really hard about ANY computer questions they had.  I was going to be leaving the next day, so they had better get them asked in the morning!

I got back to the hotel and settled in for some photo uploads and headed down to the lounge.  I went with the Curry beef on rice again as it was pretty good and wasn’t too expensive.  The band had started playing so I sat back and listened to them roll through their tunes.  The usual set.  It was sort of sad to think that I wasn’t going to hear them again after that evening.  I listened to them play until about 2200 but had to get up to my room to tidy up, and get ready to leave the next morning.  At the end of their last set before I left they played “Hotel California” for me again.  Nice ending.  I said my goodbyes to them, and headed up to my room, with a promise to send them the pictures that I had taken a couple of nights before.

Up in the room, I started packing and double checking to make sure everything was there and that I wasn’t leaving any unintended gifts behind.  When I travel, I like to keep everything in my suitcase since it helps me to keep from losing things.  It was pretty easy making sure it was all still together.  It was an earlier night to sleep since I was going to wake up earlier to get checked out before the van showed up. I went to sleep with an uneasy, nervous feeling, as I often do at the end of a trip – wondering if I’d forgotten something, something key that I needed to do at work still.  Only time would tell.

Guangzhou – January 24, 2007

3 02 2007

2007-01-24 (Wednesday)

With work winding down the days were getting easier.  I had definitely fallen into my routine, and with the exception of having to get up only 6 hours after drinking so much beer, life was pretty good.  I was starting to get the feeling I might have a small heart attack from having bacon and eggs every morning but I seemed to be staying alive.   They have two televisions in the restaurant at the hotel.  Each day it seemed a bit of a random crap shoot as to what you might get to watch.  Some mornings it seemed to be some sort of video game(?).  Many mornings it was the news in Chinese or English.  On this morning it was a Chinese boy band singing some tune which you could vote on (it would appear). This, by itself, wouldn’t have been bad except for the fact that they kept playing the same song OVER and OVER and OVER… I don’t know why, but it was driving me, and a few others crazy.  I grabbed the bull by the horns and after a quick query to the waitress, we were back to watching Chinese news.  WAY better than the boy band thing!

I went out after work for dinner to the local restaurant where previously I had gone 50-50 on the food.  This time, though, I was armed with two of my colleagues.  We ordered food based on what the menu said it was, rather than just the pictures – WAY easier to get what you want this way!  We had good time, and good food.  I know it’s expensive for these guys to eat out all the time, so I’m glad I could cover dinner at least one time.  We walked back to the hotel from the restaurant, and passed a couple of places that looked like they might be coffee/dessert shops.  My friend asked.  They were “hostess bars”.  No need to drink alone.  “I love you long time” kind of place.  Ah… modern China!  We decided to pass up on the “opportunity” since all three of us are HAPPILY married 🙂  Back at the hotel, I said my good night to the guys and got my laptop setup in my hotel room to start transferring the files that Vancouver was going to have for me, and pictures which I had.

Down to the lounge around 2100 for my evening dose of entertainment.  The guys from Nissan showed up again and next thing you know the night begins to slip away again.  As this was the last night that all the Nissan guys were going to be in town, the two guys from Mexico brought down some premium high end tequila.  2 26oz bottles!  The 9 of us managed to polish them off in about 30 minutes.  This was super smooth, and could be compared to a good 15+ year old Scotch.  You don’t get this kind of quality when you do “shooters at the bar” 🙂  Unlike North American bars, the staff were very accommodating to our need for lemons and salt, and didn’t mind at all that we brought in our own alcohol.  They knew it was just part of the big picture and that we weren’t going to be ignoring their supply of beer and Chivas for long 🙂

After a while we even had a few of them, and somehow me, up singing with the band for a few songs.  I’m sure the OTHER patrons just loved it (Why WERE they holding their ears?).  While the bar closed at 2400, the staff continued to serve, and attend to us until we finally let them go at about 0130.  Another late night.  I was really afraid of the morning after having had the tequila. The last time wasn’t pretty (Darren!).  I wished them all a good flight, and exchanged some business cards for later contact.  We all headed off to our rooms.

I got up to my room, and handled a few emails, and sleep came easy at about 0215.

Guangzhou – January 23, 2007

1 02 2007

2007-01-23 (Tuesday)

Not much happening today. Work went well.  AFter being dropped off, I headed up to my room and began my usual routine of getting my laptop up and connected.  The ‘net had been much more solid since Thursday last week, but I still couldn’t get an Outlook connection through the VPN.  It only required one or two retries to get websites that weren’t Chinese.  I transferred my photos from my camera to the laptop, and let Foldershare start synchronizing them with my home and a PC at work.  (I’m a bit paranoid about losing photos)

I decided to head back out to the Sichuan place for dinner that I had been to a week ago.  This time things went much more smoothly.  I think I may have had the same waitress 🙂  I ordered my pork ribs again.  You just can’t beat those ribs!  It was a good meal and as usual, for less than $10, I left full and happy (albeit with a slightly peppered mouth LOL!).

Having finished dinner,I figured I’d head back to the bar and listen to the band for the evening.  The guys from Nissan were down there again. This time with the big boss from Japan.  I joined up with them again, and there was a LOT of alcohol flowing.  It was nice to have a group of people with whom to spend the evening.  Much better than sitting in the bar alone, listening to the band and watching repeats of English premier league matches.  One of the guys started into the Chivas, and ordered a glass.  The bartender had poured about 3 fingers in the small glass with ice.  The next time, he asked to have no ice.  Surpisingly the bartender poured 3 fingers again, this time with NO ice.  Needless to say, there was no ice in any of the following drinks.  I figured it would be better for my workday on Wednesday if I stuck with beer. We sat and talked and drank until about 0100, and it was refreshing to see a Japanese top level manager spend time with his lower managers and solicit opinions.  Definitely an insightful view into Nissan that night.  I called the girl over to wrap up my tab, and found that it had been rolled into theirs again.   Again the Nissan guys paid!  We all rolled back to our rooms.  Once back at the room, I could check my email, make some phone calls, and make sure the support items back in Vancouver had been, or would soon be implemented.  I went to sleep around 0200, wondering if I was going to pay for the late night at the bar on Wednesday.

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