Well we have reached the last day of our Bali adventure as we will be flying at one in the morning to Guanghzou, China, where we will spend 3 nights before continuing on to Vancouver. Pretty slack day in Sanur taking a walk along the promenade which we enjoyed quite a bit........
...... just relaxing around the pool....
....even having lunch poolside and simply waiting for time to pass at the hotel:
...... the scribe did make an honest effort to catch up on the blog:
At 20:30 our driver arrives on schedule and within half an hour we are at the airport ...this is a really nice facility and the duty free section compares with any major city in the world.....our flight is at 1:00 and all goes smoothly albeit slowly, until we reach check-in. Our plan is to stay in Guanghzou for 72 hours the maximum time allowed for a transit visa (without applying/paying a full fledged visa). The problem the check-in staff have is in defining when the 72 hours starts.....let's just say we pressed our case strongly....and the check-in girl found the pertinent paragraph on her I-phone ...however,"senior" sign-off was still needed and after about 1 hour and the combined brain trust of what seemed like the entire staff, as well as several calls to the "big boss", we were finally issued our boarding passes.........WHEW !!!
More drama at the gate with some confusion as to which gate was the right one but the airline finally got it's act together and everyone boarded about 45 minutes late for the 5 hour flight. We bid adieu to this land of a thousand smiles, which could be a real paradise if not for some 3rd world warts, and wing our way to China, where our flight lands at 6:45, in a soupy smog .....
.....as we enter the Immigration queue the fun starts again.......we are sent to a holding area where we sit in a crowd of two, then told to complete a formal application for the 72 hour transit visa (we had checked with the consulate, airline etc. in Canada and they had made no mention of this procedure...so live and learn BUT trust no one. !!) ...anyways 45 minutes later, with several official stamps and signatures our passports are stamped and we are in !! BTW all the "officials" are police and if ever you wanted a definition of stony faced, these dudes and dudettes would fit the bill....sorry did not have the cojones to take a pic of them!!
The airport is modern, airy, clean and well organized > similar to the ones we saw in our trip to China two years ago.
Having decided to take the Metro to our hotel and following our pre printed instructions.......we find it quite straightforward, once we master the ticket issuing machine.
The Metro is integrated into the airport's design providing for a seamless efficient transportation system. The subway cars and stations are modern, spotless, station information presented digitally and verbally in both Chinese and English...yes Quebec having bilingual signs is not demeaning to your culture. Oh yes, and inexpensive....our 45 minute trip with 3 transfers cost 16 Yuan or 3 Cad for us both and if we bought a 3 day pass it would have been even less....... I guess this government spent their money wisely !!!
.....exiting the Metro we walk for about 10 minutes before reaching the Guangdong Victory Hotel, situated on Shamian Island.
Shamian Island, literally a sandbar island, in Chinese, was granted as a concession to France and the United Kingdom by the Qing government in the 19th century. It is now a gazetted historical area containing many colonial style buildings, hotels, restos etc. and is a favorite destination for many locals to enjoy strolls, endless photo opps as well as being a favorite locale for wedding photos.
After checking in the first order of business was to fill up on some Dim Sum.........having become used to the ease of operating in English in Bali (the government there has made a huge commitment to teach English in support of the tourist industry) we were quickly brought short as the level of English capability in the hospitality industry is modest in the extreme. We can only guess as to why but it may be that "we foreigners" don't warrant the effort, given that this city attracts relatively few tourists.
Then a bit of a rest, a bit of sightseeing around the island....
......and an early dinner >>> the selection of fish, crustaceans, mollusks and other > all live is pretty impressive:
..........we opt to retire ....all nighters on the plane are not very conducive to touristing !!