Day 3 – Fly Guilin and Dinner

Things you can find in supermarker

After another great brekkie some of the party took a quick trip to the main island on the star ferry, to say they had been there. Time was short, as we needed to check out and be on the bus by 11am. The rest of us just wandered around the mall near hotel and check email and caught up with other chores

David (Jai) National Guide Wendy Wu
Dragon Air Flight Routes

Our uneventful 70-minute flight on Dragon Air to Guilin on a near empty plane was a nice breather for us all.

On arrival our national and local guide from Wendy Wu tours met us at arrival at the Guilin Airport. Kevin and David, David stays with us the entire time we are in China and Kevin will be our local guide for Guilin. We will have a different local guide for each location. 
The bus ride from the airport gave our first glimpse of the real China. We were all excited and looking forward to tour getting underway for real.

We arrived and checked into the hotel by 4.45pm and quickly got our bags to the rooms and set off to dinner in downtown Guilin. 
Dinner was more like Chinese from home apart from the snake wine which only the very brave tried but tomorrow we will hit the more traditional food.

The brave had a taste of this

Everyone pretty tired so all had turned in by 8.30pm. Tomorrow we hike to the rice terraces at Longji

Day 2 – Up and at ’em

We started the day with a breakfast to please all. The hotel had a complete buffet breakfast with everything one could possibly want to kick off the day. 

Our party grazed their way through the offerings at various times between 6.30am and 9am. Daniel Chang from AWI (Australian Wool Innovations) meet us in the foyer and we piled on the bus for 45 minute ride to the Love +Hope Textile factory. 
A lot of these types of manufacturing businesses have been priced out of Hong Kong and have moved to mainland China. This business is considered high-end manufacturing that work with a number of well-known brand names. Their model is one of excellence and high-end manufacturing. 

They employ around 60 staff and take garments from end to end. All the growers really enjoyed this visit, it was great to be able to get so close to each stage of the processing and asking lots of questions. Johanna and Ark were very generous with their time and answered all our questions.  

After the factory tour we headed back to the hotel for a dim sum lunch. This was fantastic and Brenda from AWI joined us and helped us navigate our way through all the dishes the just kept coming. It was voted a real highlight by all of us.
After lunch we head to the AWI office for a presentation on what Brenda and Daniel do to promote the qualities of wool with manufacturing in mainland China and around the world.  They were so enthusiastic and demonstrated a great knowledge of the merino product and showed many innovations they are working on to encourage a greater use of wool in manufacturing.
After a couple hours as guests of AWI Hong Kong we walk a short distance to the Polytechnic University where we were taken right through all the various training rooms. Every graduate of this university has to learn how to use all Legacies & Innovations: Cheongsam Exhibition before it opened to the public, the garments produced by students and staff for this display were not be out of place on any fashion runway in the world.

machinery and technics for using textiles before they graduate. Our AWI host both graduated from this university and are testament to what a good university it is. Students can access the uni 24hours day to work on projects and assignment. Our group was lucky enough to see the garments on display for the

On leaving the university most of the girl

s and a few brave lads set of on a shopping expedition with Brenda, the rest of us skedaddled back to the hotel for a quick kip and tidy up before joining the other a restaurant on the waterfront selected for us by Daniel. About 20 minute walk down past the famous Peninsular Hotel we arrived at the restaurant and the other were ready and waiting.

Fish Swim Bladder and Mushrooms 
The laughter and frivolity became. Daniel was charged with the responsibility of ordering beers and dinner. 
The ranges of dishes was extensive it included crabmeat balls in toasted almond (dish of the night for me), sharks fin soup (Sharpy had 2 bowls, he could have had another 16 if he wanted), scallops and some unidentifiable shellfish, suckling pig without the pig, just the crackling, steamed whole grouper, fish swim bladder and mushrooms (tried it but awful), rice, red bean soup(dessert, awful) and steamed bums buns with bean paste (they looked like the latter and caused righteous behaviour at both tables). 
The interesting fact was that both tables like and dislike the same dishes which just goes to should our palates are all very similar. Daniel was the best host anyone could ask for all on his own time and as he was due to fly to mainland China early the following morning it was so well above and beyond. 

Sydney to Hong Kong – Introductions

They came from far and wide with most choosing to stay night near the airport pre-departure. A popup dinner with those staying at Rydges in the Black Wattle grill. For anyone flying our on early am flight this is the best way to do and arrive at check in relaxed and well rested – ‘the best beds’ “Sharpy wanted me to tell Don he had changed his mind and we could pick him up from hotel on the way home, so impressed with the bed was he.

We all got checked in without incident the official tour caps were presented and introductions made, It was great to see we had all points of the compass represented. People quickly got down to the ‘where are your from?’, Do you know…? and ‘Did you get any rain? We headed through security and I don’t think anyone got a ‘Don’t come back’ stamped in passport, so were were off. Frank managed to give his customs guy some homework ‘ Mate, you need to look Nyngan up on the map, it’s really not that far west  Orange’ (This is where the customs guy grew up and was educated but he wasn’t sure where Nyngan was)

We straggled through duty free and all arrived at the gate in plenty of time to board flight CX110 departing at 8.35am. Flying time around 9 hours on A330 with seat configuration 2-4-2, we were scattered through one section of the plane but not all sitting together.  Shortly after take off a very tasty breakfast of roasted vegetable frittata with bacon and chat potatoes (that was my choice anyway) accompanied by bread roll and yoghurt juice etc. I promptly slept for a couple hours before watching a movie then you guessed another couple of hours snooze. I then decided to watch my second movie for 2014 and settled into Philomena with Dame Judy Dench which was excellent.

Our second meal (we beginning to think was never coming) arrived about hour before we landed. I had the grilled fish mash carrots and green beans which probably nicest in flight meal I have ever eaten.  After the crew cleared the cabin we landed is a very foggy Hong Kong, so much for the spectacular view I am told is there on a clear day and to think I wasted a credit with Sharpy to get his window seat, I bet when we fly out and he is back in window seat it will be as clear as a bell.

Our guide Alan met us at the airpot and did a quick tally up of numbers, yes we all made it and all had our bags although Louella’s was looking doubtful for a short while but eventually out it popped.

On the 35 minute bus ride from Lantua Island (where the airport is) to Kowloon and our Hotel, the Harbour Plaza Metropolis. Quick showers all around and we gathered at the hotel shuttle to head to Peninsular Hotel for one drink before heading up Nathan Rd for dinner, we found a funny little place where the locals were all eating and joined them for and took a shot at ordering, the boys mastered getting a beer pretty quickly and Heineken and Tsingtao were the popular choices.
After usual …what would you want …what ever everyone else is wants… (the universal ordering process even at chinese at home)  Sharpy took the plunge and ordered for our table (MacWool had 3 tables) the food was good and nothing unrecognisable although heard one table comment they may have drunk the hand washing water in place of their soup.  A walk down to Temple St markets, seen on one market seen them all is my take on that but I am not much of a shopper as you all know. Walked back down Nathan Rd caught the shuttle back to our hotel and turned in after long day.

Where to this year…

Travel plans for 2014 include a trip to China and Europe.   

The China trip is part of MacWool Wool Growers Tour. About 30 keen woolgrowers will set off on March 2, escorted by Don, Kerrie, Sharpy and myself.  We will visit Hong Kong, Shanghai, Chongqing, YangshuoGuilin and a highlight is sure to be the three day cruise on the Yantze river

Travel China Guide 

A week after returning form the China trip Mum and I set off to Amsterdam to do an 8 Day Tulip River cruise as well as visiting Belgium, Switzerland and Germany.