Update from Guangzhou!

November 22, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

Hope you are well and Happy Thanksgiving! I found a place where I could access the blog, so here are all the posts I’ve written this week.

November 17, 2012 (Saturday)

Today I said bye to Shanghai and flew to Guangzhou. The flight was okay, I’m starting to get a little irritated with the pushy-ness of the Chinese people… in the subway, waiting in line, etc. I was a little sad to leave Shanghai because it was really awesome, but I was ready to move on.

The hotel here in Guangzhou is fabulous. I got a free room upgrade (I’m on a role here in China!) and I’m now on the executive floor. The room is incredible. It’s a nice mix between modern and traditional with nice artwork, and the amenities are out of control. L’Occitane soaps, a loofa, a French press and water heater, a pillow is in the bathtub, which is separate from the shower… wow.

Hopefully the city is cool, I’m excited to explore and maybe start my work tomorrow.

November 18, 2012 (Sunday)

Today was an excellent day off in Guangzhou. I was considering starting my work today but I woke up late this morning and decided to use the day to explore as it is my “off day”, a good decision. I had a much better time than I expected to have!

First, I needed some food, so I went to a restaurant called Pandan that served Indonesian food. I got some coconut rice with chicken and sambal, very similar to what I ate in Malaysia six months ago. I really missed that coconut rice. MMmmm. There was one thing that I ate that I thought was vegetables, and it clearly wasn’t. I asked and it turns out it was chicken livers! They gave me unsweetened lime soda water, which I really liked.

After brunch, I started my exploration at Shamian Island, a little island with many historic buildings. It was pretty nice and there were many couples getting their wedding pictures taken. I guess that’s a pretty common thing to do there. I took some pictures and some Chinese girls wanted to be in them, so I took pictures with them and it was pretty funny. After that, I walked through a market with So much variety of dried stuff. There were dried seahorses and starfish, dried roses and chrysanthemums for tea, beans, chilis, ginger, etc. This went on for a while. There were also pets for sale, seafood (not sure if it was to eat or for a pet)

 I found myself on a pedestrian street after the market, and there were SO many people there, it was nuts. I took movies and a picture. After this, I got some fresh pomegranate juice (like it was being squeezed right there), saw a temple, and walked through an area where they sell a lot of jade things. I got a bracelet that I for which I bartered down the price.

After walking around that area, I went to Yuexiu park. It was nice but I didn’t see the famous five goats sculpture that is there so I’ll have to go again later in the week.

November 19, 2012 (Monday)

Today was an extremely productive day, after what turned out to be a very painful night. The night was so painful because (maybe it was the wine-notes smelling game I played with the sommelier at the executive club, or maybe it was the wine, or a combo… I don’t know) I experienced easily the worst headache I’ve ever had in my life. I get horrible headaches sometimes (perhaps they are migraines), usually once every two months or so. If you’ve been reading this blog from the beginning (way over a year now!) you might have noticed I get one about once a survey.

Well, this was throbbing pain on the right side of my head that I just couldn’t alleviate. Usually I can find a position where it doesn’t hurt so much and go to sleep, but not this time. I also felt absolutely nauseated, and was sensitive to not just light but smell too. I washed my hands with this fragrant lemon verbena soap (that I love) and the smell was even too much for me making everything worse. I also forgot my pain relievers as I was stressing about would I be able to leave in the middle of hurricane sandy.

I was going to call my mom to complain and get some sympathy, but decided to spare her. There’s nothing she could do and it would just make her sad. Plus, it hurt to think.

At 3AM after trying really hard to get comfortable and go to sleep, I couldn’t take it anymore so I called the hotel service centre. Please I need medicine for a headache it’s really bad. I got passed around to someone who could understand me (annoying), and they said they don’t keep any medicine on hand but they will send someone to the room. I guess it’s illegal for them to carry medicine like Ibuprofen or against the hotel policy? I’ve gotten it in hotels before in other countries so that’s why I thought this might be an easy fix.

They sent a guy up to my room and he said he could go out and get some for me. I gave him some money for the medicine and the taxi and said please, something very powerful. He came back about twenty minutes later medicine in hand. I took some and lay down. I think it started helping not long after that. I woke up at six forty five in the morning to pee as I had been drinking a ton of water and was about 87 percent better. Wow. I was so nervous that I was not going to be able to work today. Just wow.

I slept a little later than normal and worked through dinner. It was very productive like I said. I only had a little issue in the supermarket. A lady (who must have been younger than me) told me I couldn’t write things down. But I kept writing things down and nothing came of it!

November 20, 2012 (Tuesday)

Today was another productive day. Just two weeks left on the trip! Well in fact two weeks from now I’ll be sitting on my desk trying to plow through analysis because I’m coming back on the later side and our deadlines are early due to the holidays. I don’t have that much time! But my colleagues already said they would help with my analysis if necessary!

This morning, I got up and had a meeting that went splendidly, and then had lunch and worked. When I was at the Westin collecting prices, I met Anthony “Buckets” of the Harlem Globetrotters! Sooo cool. http://www.harlemglobetrotters.com/player/buckets. I emailed him on the Web site to say Hi Nice to meet you and he already emailed back saying something like “Hi Nice to meet you too, you must be browsing the Internet in your room just like me!” Yep. Totally. Hahaha.

After work, I went to the gym and met these weird (looking) people from LA that were here to play (they are in a band). I guess that explains the crazy hair and stuff. The girl had four-inch heels on at the gym. I saw them last night at dinner. After the gym, I had cocktail hour in my room with some rice wine I got at the supermarket earlier and some broad beans. Yum. Of course cocktail hour is better with my family, but oh well. Now I’m excited to watch Gossip Girl!

November 21, 2012 (Wednesday)

Yet another nice day! I Toady I ate lunch at an Indian restaurant, which was actually quite delicious. After that, I went to a new area that sells high-end furniture. I continued my work by going to all the fancy hotels to get prices there. I think the hotel pricing is one of my favorite parts of the survey. The people are usually incredibly nice, and I get to see all these places, how nice they are, and who is in there. Today, I went to the Ritz and then the Hilton. At the Hilton, I checked out their wireless service and just as I had hoped, Facebook AND WordPress worked there. I hoped this because at the Hilton in Shanghai where I stayed, I also had access to the entire Internet. Hmm. Go Hilton! I’ll definitely go back there for dinner so I can play on Facebook and post all of my Guangzhou posts that I have been writing on a word document.

I’ve noticed it’s a little harder to write without pictures to talk about! The best ones were taken on Sunday.

November 22, 2012 (Thursday)

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Even though I’m away and wish I could be with family like I have been on thanksgiving my whole life, I had a great day. I had a nice meeting in the morning, and then walked around Pear River New City to check it out. The meeting was in an office building in that area, so it was very convenient. This is the new commercial area in Guangzhou. It’s pretty modern and you can see from my pictures (actually you can’t, sorry) it looks like it could be anywhere. People like to live there and work there. There are clean streets, coffee shops, restaurants, beauty parlors, flower shops, and business people and students walking around.

I stopped for lunch at a Korean restaurant. I ate outside on one of the tables that was set up on the sidewalk with a huge umbrella over it. I was having a little trouble because the server was trying to explain to me that the tea was free with the bibimbap, and a girl next to me enthusiastically said “I CAN HELP!!” and assisted me in ordering my free iced tea. She had just graduated college and was having trouble finding good work. Hmmm. I guess this happens everywhere. She was working on her English and would like to travel. We exchanged contact info!

After lunch I went to the Four Seasons hotel to check it out and collect some prices. It’s a new hotel and sits on the top floors of the IFC, the International Financial Centre, the major building in Guangzhou. It’s actually one of the tallest buildings in the world! I got a pretty exclusive tour of the hotel with a man Felix. We even went to the Executive lounge, which is on the 99th floor!! The view was incredible and I got some pictures. I definitely don’t need to go to the Canton tower now. He showed me one of the suites, which was unbelievable and featured Bvlgari bath amenities. Woohh! I thought of my Bubbie the whole time because the only reason I got this tour was that I walked in there with awesome attitude (I didn’t actually need to check out the executive club for work…) I’ve mentioned this before on the blog but She taught me that with the right attitude you can do a lot of things. For example, you can always go pee in the fanciest hotels (rather than public toilets), just walk in like you own the place.

After that awesome time, I walked around Beijing Street, a pedestrian shopping street. It was okay. The coolest thing about it was that they had these exhibits on the street where the middle of the street was dug out and excavated so you could see the remnants of the street from the Ming dynasty and even the Song dynasty like seven feet below ground. That was awfully neat.

After that, I went back to the hotel, swam, hit the gym, and got dressed for dinner. I went back to the Four Seasons for dinner because they had this unbelievable looking Japanese restaurant I wanted to try.  It’s a celebration day so I decided to go for it. Great idea. I got some sparkling wine, and hung out and laughed with the staff and the head chef, and we took some pictures together. They were SO sympathetic that I wasn’t able to be with my family on this day and did everything they could to make me feel happy and comfortable (maybe they remembered me from my exclusive tour with Felix that afternoon) and wanted to know all about how I usually celebrate thanksgiving. It was awesome to have people to talk to and there was so much smiling.

The manager even brought me a plate of turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce that was a special from one of the other restaurants. Awwww.  Other than that, I ate some king crab, asparagus, and softshell crab and yellowtail sushi. Everything was Excellent, and I walked away extremely satisfied.

After dinner, I went in the pool again because why not, and now I’m about to watch Modern Family. All in all, a Fabulous Guangzhou thanksgiving!

November 23, 2012 (Friday)

I hope you enjoyed these posts and thank you so much for reading! Today, I’m going to finish up my work, and maybe go site seeing later in the afternoon. Tomorrow, I head to Shenzhen, the last work location on this survey quarter, by train! I’ll keep posting when possible.

Love, Annie

One Response to “Update from Guangzhou!”

  1. AngO Says:

    Guanzhou is nice, but it’s a madhouse when it comes to the holidays….

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