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Monday, November 22, 2010

Day 3: Travel from Hong Kong to Nanning

Hello Friends and Family,
We woke up at the crack of dawn, (actually it was earlier than the crack of dawn) not by choice, but because we had gone to bed very early the night before and then were too excited to sleep any more.  We ate breakfast at the hotel, which I forgot to tell you about in my earlier posts.  Breakfast was interesting.  There was the usual pancakes, which were cold, gray sausage links, scrambled eggs, and ham.  But the ham was sliced paper thin and was floating in water.  Yeah, not so appetizing.  There was also hard boiled eggs, carrot balls, fish shu mai, congee, and baked beans.  And I can't forget to mention the salad (real salad), cheese and crackers, tuna salad (eeek!), and watermelon and dragon fruit.  Oh, and there were a few breads, like sliced bread, rolls, and croissants.  I had lots of cold pancakes and croissants, as well as watermelon. 
Ok, back to my original post.  After we had breakfast, we took a cab to the Hung Hom train station in Kowloon, which is part of Hong Kong.  We were early for our 8:18 am train to Guangzhou, so we just spent some time resting and waiting and people watching.  We boarded our train and Vuong promptly passed out and slept for almost the entire 2 hour ride.  I spent my time looking out the window and wondering about all the people I saw.  Riding through Hong Kong was pretty much the same as it had been while we were out and about, but as we got further away from the train station, I started to see lots and lots and lots of makeshift homes that were made with lumber, pieces of scrap wood and metal, and tarps.  It was very sad.  At first, these 'homes' were just nestled in the brush and trees between the train tracks and the roads.  But as we travelled further, they because almost like little neighborhoods where there were a few 'homes' and then large gardens of fruits and vegetables planted in the front.  There wasn't much countryside because the highrise apartment buildings with the laundry hanging out were all along the trip from Hong Kong to Guangzhou.  While passing through Sechzuen, we saw some fairly new and nice highrise apartments.  The one thing I noticed was that no matter how nice or old the buidlings were, everyone had their laundry hanging out.  Some buildings had so much laundry hanging out that it looked like some kinds of small flags all over it.  It was really beautiful and sad at the same time.
We got to Guangzhou and through immigration.  Then I decided to I should probably use the bathroom since I had no idea how long it was going to take us to get to the airport.  And there, with my own two eyes, I encountered my first real 'squatty potty'.  I really had to use the bathroom and I really kept thinking, this is no big deal.  It's just like going in the woods when you're camping.  I can do this, I can do this.  However, sometimes the best laid plans just don't work out.  My first inkling that maybe this was going to be harder than it looked was when I stepped into the stall and the floor and all the area around the potty was soaked.  It's just water, it's just water, I kept telling myself.  I squeaked my way in with my Crocs on and decided it was now or never.  Besides, what's a vacation without an adventure, right?  Right!  So, I got my clothes all situated so that they did't get messed up and went for it.  Unfortunately, I learned exactly WHY the floor was so wet.  Ewwwwww!  The good news is, most of it went in the toilet and NONE of it went on my clothes.  Whew!  I'm going to be ok if I don't have use another one of those on my trip! 

We went outside and met our guide, John.  He took us to the parking lot where our driver was waiting.  It took about 45 minutes to get from the train station to the airport.  John took us in, got us checked in, and then we went downstairs for a bite to eat.  The line for aiport security wasn't long at all.  We had heard it might be because of the Asian Games that are going on right now.  We made it to our gate, onto our plane, and to Nanning without any trouble. 
Once we got to Nanning, the scenenry changed.  The entire airport and all of the buildings were kind of a cream color and looked very much like some kind of a military base.  There were what looked like barracks around the runways and there was barbed wire fence all around the perimeter.  When our plane landed, we walked down the stairs to the runway, and then got on a bus that took us to the airport building.  It was extremely hazy and warm and the sky was very gray and brown.  There was no sign of the sun.  We met our guide, Mary, who was waiting for us.  We followed her to the parking lot where we met our driver and started our one hour drive to our hotel.  The airport is way out from 'town' and there were lots of mountains and trees on the way to Nanning.  During our drive, Mary shared some information on what to expect when we meet Parker. We are so ready to get him!  Once we got closer to town, we started to see buildings and TONS of people on bicycle scooters.  I even saw a whole family on one scooter.  It's very dirty here.  The roads are covered with a fine brown dust and so are all of the cars and scooters.  It's very depressing. 
We are turning in early because we were both exhausted from the day of travel.  We are looking forward to tomorrow and meeting Parker for the first time. We're expecting the worst case scenario when we meet him so everything else will just be a plus!
Looking forward to sharing more tomorrow!

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