Monday, June 13, 2005

What a journey!

Well, today we travelled to Zhuhai, China. What a trip it was. We got up at at about 4:45 am and were at the airport in Chiang Mai by 6. We landed in Bangkok around 8 and had a fair breakfast at the Thai Airways Restaurant in the International Transit area. It wasn't great, but it was edible. Our plane was supposed to leave by 10:30, but there was some little problem somewhere and it made us about 20 minutes late. Well, of ourse, this had an adverse effect on our connection in Hong Kong. We were supposed to catch a ferry to Macau at 3 pm, but because the plane was just a bit late, they weren't able to get our luggage on the ferry. So, two of the group (without kids) volunteered to stay in HK and catch the 6 pm ferry. We just made it on the 3 pm ferry and arrived in Macau around 3:45 or 4. The immigration line was HUGE, so it took us a while to get through. At least the man that was supposed to meet us was actually there, so that part went smooth. We boarded a bus that took us to the other side of the colony to the exit station, where we stood in line at immigration to get OUT of the country for 10-15 minutes. Then, we walked across an open area, into the immigration INTO China. That took quite a while, too. A first (bad thing) did occur when we tried to get through the immigration officer. Normally, in all our years of travelling as a family, we go to the immigration officer together. This woman with a "tude" actually raised her voice at me and told me it was only "one at a time". I told her that we were not a "group" but a family. She said it didn't matter that everyone else was to get behind the yellow line. So, I stood at the little window and called my kids up one by one to go through immigration. Then, I called my wife. Of course, the whole time I was there, I never moved from my spot. In essence, it wasn't one by one, but one with one. Anyway, I have never experienced such a bad attitude from any immigration officer and really put a bad taste in my mouth for Zhuhai.

We arrived at the hotel, the Zhuhai Holiday Resort, which is a China 5 star hotel. (As I explained to one of the kids, a China 5 star is VERY different from a REAL 5 star.) The hotel is very nice. We are actually in a separate villa. It has two stories with a living room, dining room, kitchen, three bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths. The room rate is about the same as a Motel 6. Quite a bargain. At about 7 pm, I left with one of the guys to go back to immigration to assist the volunteer who brought the luggage across from Hong Kong. While I was there, my family went on to a restaurant to get something to eat. They were kind enough to bring back the leftovers. Tandori chicken, butter chicken, pineapple fried rice, Indian salad, and watermellon. It was a very tasty leftover dinner.

We will be here all week long with some other friends from across Asia. Hopefully, it will be a good time for all of us.
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