Xiamen to Guangzhou
A 9am departure for Xiamen Airport.
Check in was a little chaotic and the Chinese idea of queuing is a little different to ours.
Time for Coffee - Xiamen Airport's version of Starbucks maybe?
A new experience today! Domestic Chinese flights are notoriously delayed as too many flights are scheduled with insufficient air space available for take off of the flights. We travelled on Xiamen Airlines - a company that I had never heard of before!
This is what seems to happen. You board on schedule and the flight pushes back about 100 yards and parks up. They then tell you that there will be a delay. It is the first time I have ever been served lunch before take off which I guess shows you that they expect the delay. The food was nice enough but hard to identify what some of it was! Then the tea trolley goes down the aisle and suddenly it retreats and the engines start up and the plane begins to taxi with passengers still eating followed by a scramble to collect the food boxes back in before the plane starts along the runway!
The plane eventually took off about 75 minutes late which was not such a problem for us as the Company have the rest of the day off but unfortunately the flight for the Technicians also had the same delay which put them a couple of hours behind on what was always going to be a very tight fit up with a performance tomorrow.
The fun continued in the Arrivals area with it seemed most flights directed to one baggage carousel which, in fact, wasn't working anyway. Everyone was getting a little fed up by now!
An announcement in Chinese caused a mad dash as all the Chinese passengers from several flights started up the baggage hall. Eventually after an hour of waiting the last bag arrived - Toby's - somewhat behind the others so we did start to be concerned.
Someone was quite relaxed about it all!
Then an hour on the coach to the Ocean Hotel. When Northern Ballet came to Guangzhou in 2000 the airport was very close to the city but they now have a new one much further out. We did stay in the same hotel but I am struggling to remember if it has changed or not. I do remember that we had breakfast up on the 27th Floor though.
We have 3 nights in Guangzhou with 2 performances at the Grand Opera House.
Historically, Guangzhou was know as Canton and is China's third largest city and the largest in southern China with a population of more than 14 million. On a cursory walk around the area where the hotel is located it looks like any major city with large buildings and shops. The city is starting to prepare for Chinese new year in a couple of weeks' time. There would be some images here but the intenet is so slow I have lost the will to upload them!
There is little time for sightseeing in Guangzhou so some of the dancers took the opportunity to take a cruise this evening on the Pearl River, the third largest in China where apparently several of the key scenic attractions are located.