Monday, May 9, 2011, I’m off to China again. This year’s trip has a huge agenda. We have so much work to do and so many decisions to make. I’m traveling alone this year; Jillian and Cara have sent me off with swatches of fabric to choose.
At 3:30 AM I’m awake and start getting ready for the long journey ahead of me. I have everything packed and ready to go so I shower, double check my list, kiss my sleeping husband goodbye, hug the cat and I’m out the door by 4:30 AM. I arrived at the airport about 5:30 AM and head for the gate. The plane is on time and I’m in the air by 6:40 AM headed for Toronto, Canada. I catch the long flight to Hong Kong at the Toronto airport at 10:00 AM. It’s a 15 hour flight, so I have plenty of time to relax.
The flight was uneventful and I even caught a nap or two. I arrive in Hong Kong at 1:10 AM (US time) on Tuesday, but it’s now 1:10 in the afternoon in Hong Kong. It’s hard to believe I’ve lost a whole day! I get through customs very quickly. I make my way to the exit where I catch a cab to the train station. I arrive at the train station in Hong Kong just in time to catch an earlier train than I took last year by two hours. I couldn’t believe the luck. But I think the fact I knew what to do this year helped make the process go much smoother.
My friend, Yuan, will pick me up in Guangzhou after the two-hour train ride. Once I travel out of Hong Kong get into China, my cell phone picks up a signal so I call Yuan to tell him I’m arriving two hours earlier than we planned. He says he will be there to pick me up. I also expected a long line at customs, but I was through in 10 minutes, what a break.
After traveling for two days, I couldn’t wait to get to my hotel. BUT, Yuan is late!!! I waited for about an hour for him to show up. Finally, I see him running my way and then, OMG, he runs right past me. I yelled but he didn’t hear me. I couldn’t believe it, he didn’t even see me…the only blonde in China. Finally, he calls my cell and I tell where I’m standing. At last, there he is. I’m so happy to see him that I forget to yell at him for being late.
Yuan does not drive, but he has a friend drive him to the train station to pick me up. He’s made reservations for me at a hotel near his factory so I’m anxious to get there. About an hour later we arrive at the hotel. Its right across the street from the one we stayed in last year so I’m at least familiar with the area. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. The room was large and very nice, but it was not a non-smoking room. This is a problem for me; in China almost everyone smokes and you can’t escape it. (Thankfully, Yuan does not smoke.)
I quickly freshen up and Yuan and I are off to dinner. We walk to a familiar restaurant that we ate at often last year. I love the food in this restaurant. It’s very flavorful and the fried rice is awesome. Yuan orders his usual…hot and spicy something or other! After dinner he walks me back to my hotel and says good night. After checking some emails I collapse into bed completely exhausted.