Saturday, July 7, 2012

Changsha to Sanya

This all happened on Tuesday, July 3, and I'm writing it on Saturday July 7.  We woke early, at 5:00 AM because we wanted to try and catch the first bus to the airport.  The hotel we were staying at, The Changsha Aviation Hotel, was chosen because it was right by the shuttle bus station that would take you to the airport, and the first bus leaves at 5:50 in the morning.  Our plane was leaving at 8:20, and we wanted to make sure we got to the airport in time, and that's why we wanted to first bus there.  We woke, dressed, drank some coffee, ate a couple of breakfast cookies, zipped up our suitcases and went down to the bus.  We got the tickets, and made it on the first bus, but just barely!!  There were only 3 seats left and they were scattered around the bus.  Jorg sat in front, I sat in the middle and Min had to sit on the back bench.  Laina sat on my lap.  Min was not happy at all that she had to sit by herself.  Oh well, she lived.

We got to the airport in plenty of time, we checked in, cleared security and went to our gate.  There was time for the kids to run around, eat some more breakfast cookies, go to the toilet and get bored.  Then, finally, it was time to board the plane.  The flight was 2 hours long and it seemed to pass quickly.  We got a little breakfast snack that the girls thought was very strange for breakfast (cake, spicy turnip pickles, a sweet bean bun, and a small package of spicy duck meat).  I ate all the duck packages!

When we landed, we collected our luggage and went to find a taxi.  The taxi stand was easy enough to find, and the taxi driver used his meter and didn't try to negotiate a price and he was good and honest.  This was nice, because there have been many reports on the internet about the taxi drivers and how they are swindlers and cheaters.

When we arrived at the hotel, we were greeted with a necklace made of coconut shells, a cool washcloth, a glass of juice and warm welcomes from all of the staff.  We went up to find our room, a nice comfortable room on the 6th floor.  After getting situated, we went out for a walk around the grounds and then after that a swim.  The pools here are all surrounded by meticulously manicured gardens and the water is fairly shallow, only about 3 feet deep, so it's easy for the girls to "swim" without worrying too much if they will let a lungful of water.  There is a kiddie pool that is only a foot and a half deep and there is also a small water slide that they can play on.  After playing in the pool for a couple of hours, we went upstairs and watched some TV.  About 6 or so, we decided to take a cab into the city to buy some snacks and have dinner.  The taxi driver was again, fair and honest.  No problems.

The city is interesting.  For some reason or another, Sanya is a favorite with Russian tourists.  When you see a non-Asian-European type person (AKA "White") chances are they are Russian.  The signs in the town were written in Chinese and Russian with very little English.  It was very strange to be addressed first in Russian.  We found a grocery store to buy some snacks, some quick noodles (like Top Ramen) and then, most importantly, some laundry soap, and then we went out to find a restaurant.  We learned that things here are expensive.  VERY expensive.  We found a restaurant, a Singapore/Chinese place that had good dishes for not SO much money, and ended up having a good meal.  Jorg started to wonder if we were going to need more money than we had to make it through the rest of the holiday!!  Well, the girls were wiped out, they had a big day and we were all tired, so back to the hotel (again, a very nice taxi driver) and to bed.

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