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guangzhou, take two

     Will I ever get lucky with Guangzhou? I've flown through the city three times already and I'll admit that at this point I'm actually curious about what it's like. China Southern Airlines puts you in a five star hotel, free of charge, if you've got a layover longer than 8h. Last May, I was shipped off to Vienna Hotel in the suburbs and couldn't figure out how to get into the city centre, so this time I prepared myself by searching up how to get downtown from Vienna Hotel and even printed out a map of the metro. I was ready.
     After my 13h flight from Vancouver, I got to in Guangzhou Baiyun at around 5pm. I told the man at the "transfer accommodation" desk that my connection wasn't until the next morning, and he ushered me off to fill out an arrival card and find my way to Departure Gate 9 with two other women in the same boat as I. Although the people handling the transfer accommodations barely spoke a word of English, we figured out that we'd been assigned to different hotels (who knows why? Maybe those women went to Vienna Hotel) and waited for our respective shuttles.
     Hao Yin Gloria Plaza Hotel, where I was taken, is an approx. 45min ride away from the airport, through the smoggy suburbs of Guangzhou. The man at the reception (who, unlike t Vienna Hotel, spoke English) told me that the nearest metro was a 30min cab ride away and the nearest supermarket a 10min ride. Regardless, I was pooped and all I wanted to do was pass out. There were no restaurants or food stalls nearby, the only meal options being a 24h KFC and buffet at the hotel restaurant for 88yuan (which, I later overheard, was pretty good). Instead, I enjoyed powdered soup, free tea and a CLIF bar in the privacy of my luxury bathtub in the luxury ensuite of my luxury room, after which I passed out on my luxury bed.
     I woke up in the morning to catch a 5:30 shuttle to the airport for my flight to KL. The hotel offered complimentary breakfast - served in a tv dinner-like box - of 2 eggs, 2 cherry tomatoes, a very fuzzy looking sweet loaf, white bread and a carton of vitasoy milk. Let's just say it was too early for milk and tomatoes, so I passed.
     It seems like suburban Guangzhou is filled with either empty slabs of concrete apartments or luxury hotels (which are almost as empty as the building skeletons nearby). Maybe CSA offers free accomodation for the sake of filling/using all these massive hotels? Massive is an understatement. The emptiness combined with the overly luxurious decoration and amount of space taken up by both Vienna and Hao Yin Gloria Hotels (and others, I assume) lend to an overall eerie feel to the place. I walked around the Gloria Hotel and found that the top floor was nothing but rooms facing a stretch of gym equipment, pool tables, couches and hammocks. It felt as though it was built to prepare for thousands of resort-loving guests and not the occasional few layover tourists. It felt incredibly weird. But one day, ONE DAY I will see Guangzhou!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Perhaps the last time you will live in luxury for a while? Guangzhou is obvi not meant to be except for a battery recharge for you :)

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