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Old 04-08-2012, 05:06 AM   #61
pxlbarrel
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Yup, we've done Xian and Guilin. I'm behind in my reports right now.mwe just checked into the Peninsula Shanghai and we are in absolute awe of this hotel. I'll have more about that in day 8's report. Let me just say this...I will probably never stay in such a hotel again unless I do this tour again. OMG just does not describe the opulence of this hotel.

Gotta go ... Meeting in the lobby in 30 minutes for some fancy dining on the Bund.
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Old 04-08-2012, 08:17 PM   #62
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[QUOTE

Chengdu at night from our room
[/QUOTE]


So very beautiful!
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:52 AM   #63
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Having withdrawal! Need an update! Sure hope Pxlbarrel gets a chance to post soon!
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:54 PM   #64
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Agreed. Really loving the pictures. They definitely make me want to travel around China.
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:52 AM   #65
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Day 6 of the adventure

The day started VERY early. Bags had to be outside the room at 5:15 am and we had to be in the lobby at 6:30. ABD had the hotel restaurant open 30 minutes early at 5:30 so we could get some food before we left. The guides took our passports the day before so they could check us in while we were still at the hotel. Daisy, Steven and Joe went ahead of us with our bags while Daisy and Bobby stayed with us. We had 2 flights today... One to Xian to see the terra cotta warriors and then a flight to Guilin. 2 flights in one day can make a weary adventurer.

When we got to the airport in Chengdu we said good-bye to Bobby. Daisy gave us back our passports and we all went through security together. The flight to Xian wasn't too badly delayed (delays are normal in China) and lasts about an hour in flight. The toilets at this airport were positively revolting. The only western toilets (the handicapped stall) in 2 restrooms were locked forcing us to use the squat toilets. They stunk so much some of nearly gagged. And no paper! asked and there was a toilet outside of baggage claim that those who couldn't physically squat could use. She led some to that toilet. We met our local guide Jessica who is Daisy's son's godmother. Our luggage was retrieved from the carousels and wheeled to an area where ABD had paid somebody to watch over them and check us in on the next flight at the appropriate time. We boarded our bus to the Terra Cotta Warriors. We hit a traffic jam due to an accident on the highway but it wasn't too bad.

When we got there, our bus drove past a bunch of other tour buses and we got out and walked a short distance to the security check point. We put our stuff through X-ray machines but as far as I could tell, nobody was watching any monitors! We headed to a tea house where we were given a packed lunch from Starbucks. 3 little sandwiches and fruit plus a drink from the tea house. As Jennae explained it, Disney inspected the kitchen at the tea house and that's why boxed lunches are provided. After lunch we were taken to the safe "happy house" but still no toilet paper.

Finally we went to pit #1 to see the Terra Cotta Warriors. Documentary films do not convey the vastness of the excavation and just how amazing this place is. We had photos taken and we took many photos ourselves. We also visited pit #2 and the extremely packed pit #3 where the bronze chariots were displayed. Pit 3 was a madhouse of tour groups. While Jessica and our guides took us to pits 1 and 2, pit 3 was on our own.

We had time to shop in the gift shop and tea house before loading back on the bus to catch our flight to Guilin. Upon arrival, we picked up a boxed dinner before heading to the gate. We ate our dinner sitting there. Two sandwiches and a banana. There were supposed to be chips but they weren't in the box. Word to the wise, the chicken sandwich was drier than the Gobi dessert. Jennae had us pick a drink at the convenience store past security and the Mouse paid for them.

Our flight to Guilin was ok and when we landed, we were met by disgusting toilets again. I passed on them. Joyce was our local guide in Guilin. She and Jennae took us to the hotel. As we drove to the hotel we could see, in the, dark the shadows of the famous gumdrop mountains. We got our room keys and our luggage was delivered shortly.

Will upload photos later. Farewell dinner is in 10 minutes.
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:34 AM   #66
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:54 AM   #67
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Amazing!

I love your updates.

I was wondering if you are heading to Hong Kong now. Isn't that where the tour ends?
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Old 04-11-2012, 02:36 PM   #68
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Wow, awsome pictures of the terra cotta soldiers! Cannot WAIT for our ABD trip in July!

Can you also comment on clothes you needed/didn't need? What's appropriate to wear during the day and for the dinners, etc.? Looking for a few packing tips!
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:50 PM   #69
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Amazing!!! Thank you so much for sharing.
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Old 04-11-2012, 04:50 PM   #70
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Loving this report and photos! Thanks for sharing your adventure!
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:56 PM   #71
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Actually, I'm so behind on the trip reports that we are in Hong Kong already and we had the farewell dinner last night already. Because of everybody's different flightns, last night was also the teary hugging good-bye time. By now, Jennae and two of the families have left for the airport, soon to be followed by Daisy and the next families. We're staying a few extra days so we're the last ones to leave.

Hopefully, I can post about Guilin, Shanghai and Hong Kong in the next few days. I can post way more photos after I get home and download to a computer.

As for clothes... It will be a different climate for you guys leaving in May, June or July. We were wearing winter coats on the first day in Beijing but it was April 1, remember. When you guys go, it will be hot. Great Wall day will probably be coolest for you but even we experienced amazingly warm weather that day because the sun was shining. We had all overdressed thinking it would be cold up there. Great Wall is dress in layers day but I suspect that it will be very warm climbing the steps in the summer.

As the tour progressed, it just got warmer and warmer. Guilin was a little cooler because of the river cruise and rain. Again... Summer...you may be very warm. Shanghai and Hong Kong are very hot right now so I'm pretty sure it'll be very hot and humid in the coming months.

The only time you may want a sweater is inside the hotels when the air conditioning is trying to compensate for the hot weather outside. Dining is very casual athough you may want to dress up for dinner at M on the Bund in Shanghai. The guides say that that night you can dress up if you want but it's not necessary.

If you want to pack lighter and don't mind paying for laundry service at the hotels, pack enough clothes to last to Guilin. The guides recommended that hotel as the cheapest for laundry (which in my opinion is still a lot but it could be worth it to you). Have laundry set out the evening you arrive in Guilin so that it can be picked up and finished in time for you to pack the next evening.

All of the hotels had North American outlets but only the Peninsula hotels had 110 Volt outlets. Before we left, I bought a 220 Volt power bar so we could charge about 6 things at once overnight. It was a much used piece of hardware. Every hotel has had free wifi. The Peninsula Shanghai has free international calling using a VOIP system.

Bottled water is provided by the hotels and practically shoved at you by the guides while you're on the bus rides. One of the boxed lunches that I haven't talked about yet had orange juice... A lot of people took them out and abandoned them at the hotel otherwise they would have to drink it before going through airport security. We took ours, thinking there would be time to drink it. Well, we didn't but there was a cleaning lady at the airport, where you abandon the liquids, and we gave her the sealed orange juices and waters we had. She looked very happy to get them.

We found out that Jennae and Daisy will be the guides for the May Adult exclusive tour. Jennae and Joe will do one of the June tours and then Jennae gets sent to Germany. Steven will be doing one of the June tours with James, I think.

If there's time tonight, I will try to post about the Li River cruise.

And remember, I am leaving things out that were surprises to me because I think everybody deserves to be surprised.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:08 PM   #72
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Thanks for the update! What a great trip you've had! Can't wait to read your next chapter!

Also, thanks for the clothing tips. I know it will be much hotter mid-July - was really wanting to know if we needed a lot of dress-up clothes. Sounds like may be one nice outfit and the rest shorts and t-shirts.

If you go to Hong Kong Disney, would love to hear about it. We're adding a day at HKD onto the end of our ABD China.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:20 PM   #73
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I forgot to mention that as we were leaving the hotel in Chengdu, our bus driver backed into the tour bus behind us. Cracked the windshield of the other bus really good. That delayed us for about 15 minutes. Luckily for the bus driver, Daisy was at the airport. She said if she had been there, there would have been much yelling.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:31 PM   #74
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Great report! I'm so impressed with your pics of the Terra Cotta warriors! It must be hard to get a pic that conveys such vastness! Some day I will see them!

Looking forward to more of your reports!

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Old 04-12-2012, 11:11 AM   #75
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No report today. I hit the wall of exhaustion today. It was so hot and humid in Hong Kong today and we just had a late dinner with family that I am ready to fall. This is why I no longer go to Orlando in the summer.

I plan to head to HKDL tomorrow but probably will leave before fireworks. I need a vacation from the vacation!!
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