Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Goodbye Guangzhou

We leave Guangzhou this afternoon for Hong Kong. I am not quite sure how I feel about leaving. I think the strongest feeling I have is one of trepidation about traveling in Asia with my newly adopted baby, two older children and NO guide! Yikes! But in all seriousness, we are leaving the birthplace of my daughter and it has me a little turned around.

For those of you reading this blog, who are planning on coming to China soon for your own adoptions, I think I will take a few seconds to share some details about my stay here at the China Hotel.

1. Look into the executive level. There was a great hot breakfast served up there (but each room comes with breakfast for 2 people) but there was also a nice cocktail hour and non-alcoholic beverages all day. SJ was able to grab a few cans of beer to store in our fridge down in the room and we also grabbed some to take to the pool to watch the kids swim each afternoon. If you are putting more than 3 people in your room (aside from the baby) you will need to buy a breakfast ticket. We were able to use fewer of our breakfast tickets by eating in the executive lounge some mornings. And while there is no food service during the afternoon, there is a good selection of cookies and gummy candy which was a nice perk while Cici was napping. Case in point, my husband just brought me a cappuccino while I type this up. We did not buy a single Starbucks coffee from downstairs in our entire 10 day stay.  And the nicest thing was that we never ran out of bottled water. We'd each grab 2-4 bottles on our way out of the lounge each time so we never had to buy a case of water. I think if we added up what we would have spent on Starbucks, beer or wine, water, snacks etc, we'd net even on what we spent for the exec level. Just sayn'

2. Those of you traveling in larger groups interested in booking adjoining rooms, you may be told there are no adjoining rooms. Just to arm you with some very specific info, we are in room 1602 which is a 1 bedroom suite and it is connected to room 1604 which is a standard room. The suite has a living room, king size bed, 1.5 baths and a nice sized office area. The standard room has 2 double beds and 1 full bath. Our view is a nice on over the city and a little over the park across the street. Some of our friends on the 8th floor had not so nice views from their rooms.

3. Go to Prime (steakhouse) here at this hotel with a group of about 10 people in your group. Ask for the private room. Last night 3 families got together for a final dinner and we got a sweet private room at Prime  with a huge round table and wicked comfy arm chairs. It also has a private bathroom for changing babies should you need.

4. Bring plastic pants in addition to swim diapers for the baby. The pool here requires it but it is enforced without much regularity.

5. I figured this out WAY too late. There is a bakery on the first floor that sells bread. There is a convenience store on the first floor that sells PB and J. Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda.

6. IMO the McD across the street is horrendous. Fries are okay.

7. SJ thought the hamburger off the room service menu was good. Pizza wasn't bad. If you order the potato skins and don't want the glop of guac in the skin, ask for it on the side. We were told that the fried rice off the menu was good too.

8. There is an HSBC bank attached to this hotel with one of their ATM machines in the hotel. Front desk changes money easily. Friends of ours had massive trouble with travelers cheque.

9. We have been able to plug 2 prong electronics in without an adapter as they have outlets that take most of what the rest of the world uses. We almost brought our Apple TV but at the last minute SJ figured it wouldn't work. There are plugs by each TV that suggest it might be possible but who knows. The Apple TV is small enough that you might want to try it if you have one so you can watch netflix etc.

10. One night we decided Cici was to cranky for a restaurant and both Prime and Food Street said they would pack up a dinner for our room. The room service menu does not have items from those restaurants on it. One night we also took a cab to Shamian Island to pick up chops we had done for the kids and grabbed Cow and Bridge to go and ate in the exec lounge. (another reason we liked the executive level) Our guide suggested the Cow and Bridge was losing its luster but we ate their twice and loved it.

11. Join Marriott Rewards. Free internet and oh yeah, points.

Okay so that's my top 11 for now. Got to pack up a few last minute things, like this computer before we head out. Not sure if I will have access in HK so if not, I'll see you on the flip side.

Love to each of you who took the time to follow along with me on this amazing journey and I can't tell you how much I appreciate all your posts.




Kathleen said...

Have a safe trip home. Thank you so much for sharing this special time with me. You brought me to tears so often while reading your posts. It helps so much to know what to expect during our time in China. Your Cici is so precious - what a great big brother and sister she has. What a beautiful family!

Pam said...

Thank you so muuch for posting each day! I loved seeing all the beautiful places you went and of course the fantastic pictures of you and your family! Have a safe journey home!

Charity, Gary, Katie and Louie said...

You Rock SPY! Thanks for the wonderful tips. We will hopefully be using them in a few months. I hope you have a good trip to HK and then home.

Glinda said...

The information you impart is invaluable; the fact that you took time to drop little puffs of bread on the trail so that those of us behind you can find our way is appreciated more than you know. Thank you.

Godspeed on your travels home.

lymanfamilyfun said...

Shannon - again I loved, loved following your trip so that we know a lot of what to expect! Safe travels and ease of re-entry!! Love, Paula LID: 7.14.06

Teal's mom said...

Shannon, I've been following each post and enjoying every bit. I am so, so, so happy for you and your family. Cici is beautiful (like the rest of the family!) and looks like a character. I can't wait to hear more from you and your mom about your journey. Safe travels and hugs to all!

Meg said...

Safe trip home!

Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

I am SO sorry about not catching up but seeing that gorgeous little Yangxi girl of yours :) Word of warning... your heart will always be there... whether you liked China or not... it is there for your daughter - at least that is what I found... I caught up on all the photos/posts etc... love love loved it... can't wait to see more... safe travels home.. hugs...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the wonderful tips. Safe trip home.
Hugs from Germany.

April and Matthew said...

The travel trips are priceless as we prepare for late September travel. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! And a very genuine Thank you, too, for sharing your journey with us. We hope your trip home is quick, safe, and pleasantly uneventful. :o) Congratulations!

Monique said...

We checked into the China Hotel when I think you were leaving, Aug 26. By way of a problem, we ended up with executive level room. Amazing. Our room was on the 8th floor but was a suite so it was good. We used the lounge at happy hour every night for "dinner". Never would have thought of that but the worker on that floor told us everyone does it. Tons of yummy food and it was changed a bit each night. They even got us a highchair. After a long day, it was nice to not have to think about or go out for dinner. The wine was yummy! Our misfortune ended us up in a great situation. Loved the hotel.