AMaking a new friend at the Pearl ShopMaking a new friend at the Pearl Shopfter lunch at Lucy's, we enjoyed shopping in one of Guangzhou's many pearl shops.  We had a good recommendation on this particular shop from another adoptive family and we were very pleased with their selection and service.

For dinner, we ate at the Cow & BridgeThai restaurant near the Beatrice food store on Shamian Island.  We were all pretty tired and returned to our room at the White Swan for some sleep.

On Sunday morning we made a quick trip the Chen Family Temple.  The Chen Temple is more of an arts and crafts academy than a religious building.  It was built to honor the many contributions of the Chen family to Chinese society and culture.

Our interest on this morning was Chinese paintings.  A shop inside the temple sells high-quality paintings and we wanted to add a few to our collection. We took a quick tour of the temple and then found three very nice paintings to take home.

Back at the White Swan we had time for a quick lunch and then had to leave for Guangzhou's new Baiyuan airport and our flight to Beijing.  The new airport is welcome replacement for the former, very old and cramped facility.  The new Baiyuan is shaped like a huge, elliptical horseshoe and is quite attractive both inside and out.  It is, however, a much longer ride (about 50 minutes) from the center of Guangzhou.

Chen Family TempleChen Family Temple With all the additional space at the new airport, we were hoping to avoid a bus gate.  A bus gate is where the airline combines what would otherwise be about eight jetway gates into one.  Naturally, this makes for a pretty crowded waiting room.  After presenting your ticket, you then walk out onto the tarmac and cram onto a large bus with about 150 other people plus everyone's carry-on luggage.  To make it even more fun, the buses rarely have seats, so everyone has to hold onto poles or straps to keep from falling over as the vehicle careens down the airport taxiways. 

This time, the good folks at China Southern Airways decided to have the bus take us on an extended tour of the entire airport area.  We kept passing aircraft after aircraft thinking that surely, this must be the one for our flight.  Finally the bus stopped, the doors opened, and we all filed out.  It was only then that we discovered that we now had to climb two flights up an external set of stairs to enter a jetway before finally boarding the aircraft. 

We just marvel at the bureaucratic mindset that comes up with this kind of plan.  It has to be someone who really enjoys making passengers miserable!  All of that schlepping around just to have to climb up and board on a real jetway.  Why not just post the real gate and let everyone walk there through the terminal?  Oh well,  we must not be qualified to work for the airlines. <g>

Once we boarded, the flight into Beijing was pretty smooth.  Seating in China Southern's coach class was tight but comparable to any U.S. airline.


On to Beijing!