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Old 04-20-2012, 02:02 PM   #91
LionKingRules84
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This is an amazing trip report thank you so much for sharing your adventure with us!!

The Forbidden City is actually the reason I've wanted to visit China along with the Great Wall. You have gotten to do that and so much more!

The pictures are wonderful too!
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Old 04-20-2012, 08:54 PM   #92
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Glad to see more of your report! The "dancing" in the park sounds wonderful!

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Originally Posted by pxlbarrel View Post
A partial view from the observation deck of the Financial building
Wow! Even *with* the fog, it's amazing! I can't imagine the view on a nice day!
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Ok, this sign amused me. It had a Canadian maple leaf on it but then said their beef came from Australia. Uh... what's the point of the maple leaf then?

I'd assume Julie's Bistro is a Canadian Company. But that's just a guess.

Sayhello
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Old 04-20-2012, 11:11 PM   #93
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Didn't we go to Hong Kong?

Pxlbarrel, please finish the story! I can't remember how it ends? (Sure, I was on the trip with you, but I am *loving* reliving it through your report.) Great photos too!

To answer one of your mysteries: my husband was the one who slipped off the bus in Shanghai. He has an *impressive* bruise to show for it.

Oh, and while you were lost on the Great Wall, my son entertained the group flying the kite my mother made at the evening activities the night before.
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Old 04-21-2012, 07:24 AM   #94
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Originally Posted by margie100 View Post
Pxlbarrel, please finish the story! I can't remember how it ends? (Sure, I was on the trip with you, but I am *loving* reliving it through your report.) Great photos too!

To answer one of your mysteries: my husband was the one who slipped off the bus in Shanghai. He has an *impressive* bruise to show for it.

Oh, and while you were lost on the Great Wall, my son entertained the group flying the kite my mother made at the evening activities the night before.
Ahhh, the mystery is solved. I know there was a very impressive sound of exclamation when he slipped.

I couldn't get my kite to fly very much on the wall ... ironically, there didn't seem to be much wind when I was trying it....could explain how I was so distracted I missed the exit from the Wall.

Thankfully, my report has gotten us to Shanghai...land of Happy Houses. <sigh> I will finish the report soon. I'm working on photos right now. Your parents show up in an awful lot of my photos. LOL
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Old 04-22-2012, 03:37 PM   #95
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I apologize if this has already been said (I haven't read the entire thread yet). When we were in China adopting our Dd in 2010 we bought a month of a VPN virtual private network. We used Freedur. It allowed us to update our blog for our friends and family to follow along and also allowed me to check my gmail and facebook, both of which were blocked at that time in China. Just a tip for any of you going to China anytime soon.
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Old 04-22-2012, 03:40 PM   #96
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I apologize if this has already been said (I haven't read the entire thread yet). When we were in China adopting our Dd in 2010 we bought a month of a VPN virtual private network. We used Freedur. It allowed us to update our blog for our friends and family to follow along and also allowed me to check my gmail and facebook, both of which were blocked at that time in China. Just a tip for any of you going to China anytime soon.
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I wish I had known before I went. But still, it's not a bad thing to be off Facebook for 2 weeks.
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Old 04-23-2012, 05:23 AM   #97
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Day 10 of the Adventure

It was another flight day but first, anybody who wanted to go see the Shanghai museum, even for only 1 hour, met in the lobby at 8:30 am. Bags had to be outside our room at that same time. Those who didn't want to go to the museum were to meet in the lobby at 10:30 (or 10:15... or around then. )My brother went to the museum but my dad and I walked out onto the waterfront instead. My mom stayed in the hotel to rest up some more. It was a very hot day already at 8:30. The sun was shining and the haze over the buildings almost obscured them across the water.

When everybody was back, we boarded the bus that would take us to the maglev train. This train would travel 301 km/h to the airport. This journey would take 8 minutes. The bus ride to the train station was definitely longer than the train ride.

When we arrived at the airport there was time for people to grab a bite in the food court on the second floor/mezzanine level. There's a Burger King, an Italian fast food place and other assorted restaurants. It was about this time the gate kept changing. First here, then there, then all the way to the other end of the terminal. Thankfully, we didn't lose anybody. Now, on our last flight, we ended up being the last to board because we didnt line up soon enough or we were too polite to butt in ... although we did eventually line up the Chinese way -- entering the line from the side. But being last to board meant that overhead storage was almost non-existent when we got to our seats. THIS time, we were all lined up about 20 minutes before the scheduled boarding time ... probably because of our last experience but also because they had moved the flight to a gate with practically no chairs. If we can't sit, we might as well line up ... much to the annoyance of the gate agents.

The flight was about 2 hours long and included lunch. The best part of lunch was Haagen Daz ice cream - strawberry or vanilla. It was frozen solid but after a bit of a thaw, it was a very nice treat.

We arrived in Hong Kong as the sun was setting and met our local guide Bruce. My dad is from Hong Kong and we, as a family, understand Cantonese which is spoken here. (I can understand it but can only really say food things in Cantonese ... the important stuff!) It was, kind of a relief, to be able to understand when people rattled off stuff. For the past week and a half, people would go in length in Mandarin to us because they expected us to understand, only to have us go, "Huh? what?" Anyway, our bus left the airport as the sun was setting behind the many hills in Lantau Island. When we arrived at our hotel, the Shangrila Kowloon, it was already around 7 pm. We got our keys and went up to our rooms waiting for our luggage to be delivered. The view from our room was of Victoria Harbour. It was a beautiful sight. In our room, we found Mickey Mouse cookies and a teapot of hot tea stored in a little wicker basket. My dad said that's how he remembered tea back when he was a kid.

The harbour light and laser show occurs every night at 8 pm. From our vantage at the Shangrila, you can see some of the light show from your room but you are really too east to see it best. If you want to see the show, go out onto the Avenue of the Stars (the waterfront walkway) and head towards the Space Museum or Kowloon Railrood Clock tower area. You have to really get past the Intercontinental Hotel which blocks a fair portion of the view if you watch it from our hotel. There's a bridge from the hotel to the other side of the street (Avenue of the Stars). You can access it on the same level where you'll eat breakfast in the morning. Just be aware that they do close this access at some point in the evening. It'll take about 10 minutes to walk to an area where you can view the show relatively unobstructed. If you walk out onto the waterfront, you get to listen to the music that goes along with the show. We watched it from our room ... because were tired and we've seen it before.

We headed out afterwards to find something to eat. Bruce had recommended a place called Ho Choi so we found it and had a really good dinner there. It's a seafood restaurant so be aware it's not a place to get the really simple meal of noodles or fried rice. The price was reasonable though and it was about a 5 minute walk from the hotel. There's another restaurant in the same mall that has more simpler fare that you might want to try. It looked ok. There is also a Starbucks nearby. (Honestly, we were never far from a Starbucks throughout the trip.)

This was also our free night in Hong Kong... so despite being exhausted, my dad, brother and I headed out after dinner to Temple Street for the night market. Oddly, it seemed smaller than I remember it from past trips. We took a taxi from the hotel and it cost about 28 HKD. Not bad at all. Temple Street market and the Ladies Market are places where you can practice your bartering skills. You can get amazing deals on lots of crap here. My brother and I got a 2 for $80 HKD shirts. If you like Angry Birds, this is the place for you... it's everywhere. I got a t-shirt with Angry Birds on it ... not sure how long it'll survive but it was only a few bucks. They have an entire area of fortune tellers and another area for open air karaoke. Really kind of bizarre. We got a taxi back to the hotel (this time only the minimum 20 HKD!)

Bus rolls in the morning at 8:00 am!

End of Day 10
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Old 04-23-2012, 05:50 AM   #98
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Jennae taking care of our luggage


Hazy morning in Shanghai


Shanghai waterfront


Maglev train station in Shanghai


View of Victoria Harbour from our room


Cookies!


Temple Street Market


Karaoke at Temple Street Market
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Old 04-23-2012, 06:04 AM   #99
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Forgot to add ... there was a bit of a thing at Shanghai airport. It took forever to get us checked in which is why the guides get us there so early. At one point, it looked like they wanted to weigh everybody's carry on. Now, before I left on this trip, I found out from ABD that carry on for the domestic flights was limited to 5 kgs...and I paniced. My carry on, even when lightened up to only essentials, was 6.5 kgs. It was the reason I left my wireless keyboard at home. Up until Shanghai, there was never even a hint that anybody wanted to weigh our carry on. In Shanghai, the Dragonair agents were giving Daisy a hard time. They apparently pointed to all the carry on we had (a lot of the group had rolling 20 inchers) and said they were too big. The guides argued that they were regulation size. Around that time, they started talking about weighing the luggage. We already had our boarding passes and were just waiting for the guides ... but when they started talking about weighing luggage, we all disappeared into the bowels of the airport. With nobody left to weigh, they insisted on weighing Daisy's carry on which was full of pins and assorted ABD stuff. Of course it was overweight. They tried dispersing it amongst the 4 guides (Daisy, Jennae and the shadows) but it still didn't work. I'm not sure what eventually happened but Daisy may have been forced to check that. She sacrificed her carry on for us!

Another thing, I think by this time in the trip, most of our checked luggage was overweight or getting there. I know that all four of our checked bags were overweight (stuff that was on our carry on for the overseas portion of the trip and our winter jackets were now in checked!). The Mouse covered this for us ... Dragonair never said anything to us when they weighed and tagged them. This is not to say that they do this every trip and remember that on the way home, as Jennae reminded us, the Mouse can't help us.
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:51 PM   #100
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I am so enjoying your trip report. Thank you for sharing this with all of us!
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Old 04-23-2012, 10:35 PM   #101
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I am enjoying this too. My DD17 is going to HongKong for 4 days in July on her way to a dance conference in Taipei. So I am enjoying the info on Hong Kong.
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Old 04-28-2012, 03:00 PM   #102
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Day 11 of the Adventure

The last day of all of us being together. Kind of sad that the tour is winding down. The Shangrila Kowloon has one of the better buffet breakfasts in my opinion. It could be because I'm Cantonese that I prefer their version of Cantonese breakfast items than the other places. Who knows, eh?

Anyhow, we met the group and Bruce, our local guide, in the lobby at 8 am. While talking with Bruce we discovered he had lived in Welland, Ontario for a little while. Welland is about a 1 hour drive from us and is near Niagara Falls. One was tempted to break into a chorus of "It's a Small World ... " but thankfully, I resisted.

Remember that they drive on the left side in Hong Kong so remember to look in the right direction first before crossing the street. They helpfully paint the direction you should be looking on the street to remind us forgetful tourists.

After going in the tunnel under the harbour, our first stop that morning was Stanley Market. Stanley is another famous Hong Kong Market (along with the Ladies Market and Temple Street) with a whole lot of shops to through. If you're looking for Chinese Rainbow Calligraphy, this is where you get it. It takes the charecters of someones name and assigning them animals and the animals have assigned characteristics like nobility, strength, beauty, energy, etc. If you have a Chinese name, they'll use that to do the artwork but if you're not Chinese, they'll take your name and do it phonetically. For example, I had one of the artists do one for my friend's daughter named "Emma". Phoentically, he said it sounded like E-Ma... Ma, in Chinese is a horse. So he drew a very colourful horse which he said meant her daughter was "Energetic". She's a very energetic 6 year old so it fit her well.

You can also get all manner of clothes, handicrafts, luggage, etc. here. You can still barter her but don't expect it to be like in China. It will not be as cheap as the mainland ... not even close.

And by the way, it was a scorcher. The temperature was around 26 C which isn't bad but the 91% humidity made it very uncomfortable. Those going in the summer are in for a treat. If you find yourself fading, there are two pharmacies right at the start of the market where the air conditioning is extremely refreshing. If you don't have the nerve to stand inside or pretend you're looking for something, stand by the opening... the cold air coming out of the store will help. The people working in the Watsons pharmacy didn't seem to mind. They had a really neat Winnie the Pooh spinner suitcase too!!!

After that, we hopped onto our bus to go to Peak, also known as Victoria Peak. We had amazing weather. It was a very clear day. The last time I was in Hong Kong, the smog and haze obstructed my view but today, the view was phenomenal. They took us to a observation deck where we took photos and the guides took a group photo. And then we headed to lunch in a restaurant in the Peak Galleria, the mall they built up there.

Lunch was Caesar salad, spinach curry or steak or seafood pasta, tiramisu for desert. Let me just say ... tiramisu...

We had a bit of time afterwards to wander around and shop if we wanted to...I was shopped out so my dad and I just walked around and got some more photos. We all met at the restaurant entrance so we could go down together in Peak Tram. The tram is a funicular that dates back to the late 1880's. Do not dilly dally when you get into the tram. Sit down quick or you end up with no seat.

When we reached the bottom, our trusty bus was waiting in the parking lot. We got on board and it took us to the dock where we boarded the Star Ferry for our journey from Hong Kong Island back to Kowloon. The ferry is as old as the Peak Tram. And it's one of the most identifing icons of Hong Kong in my opinion. It's also, if you have to pay, one of the cheapest ways to cross Victoria Harbour. If you're over 65, you don't even have to pay.

Back in Kowloon, we walked up onto the waterfront walkway to take photos of the Hong Kong skyline. This was also where we took our last group photo. We were then given a choice, walk back to the hotel by way of the Avenue of the Stars (the waterfront walkway) or take the coach back. It had probably gotten hotter as the day went on so most people took the coach back. I decided to walk back since I wanted to take photos. The walk, if you don't stop, is about 15 minutes long. I loitered and lingered a bit to snap shots and to people watch, watch some people try their hand at fishing, etc etc. By the time I got back, I was soaked with sweat. but if you're not spending any extra days in Hong Kong, I recommend you walk back to the hotel. As I said earlier, the walkway leads to a bridge that takes you to the second floor of the hotel.

There's free time now ... we were efficient shoppers at Stanley and efficient eaters at lunch so even I was back at the hotel by 3 pm. We had a few hours before assembling for our farewell dinner. I have relatives in Hong Kong so an aunt and uncle visited during our free time. I would recommend, again, if you're not staying extra days, to head out and find Nathan Road. It's the hub bub of Kowloon. Busy busy busy. Just watch out for the dripping air conditioning water.

Dinner was in the hotel and it was so sad to know that the tour was ending in a few hours and we had to say good-bye to everybody. A piece of paper was passed around so we could write down our email addresses. After dinner, the guides presented the slide show of our trip. Hard to believe it was already over when we watched photos of the tea ceremony during the Welcome dinner. We had such good laughs with the photos. The guides went over how the next morning would work. Some families were leaving with Jennae (one family was headed back to Newark with her!!) at 8 am. Others would be leaving later. The cars had all been arranged. Only our family and another couple (Margie100's parents!) were not leaving yet. Our family was moving to another hotel the next day (more about that in the post tour report) but we were told to go ahead and call the hotel porters to get our luggage to the taxi because they had already been tipped. Very nice.

And then it was time to say goodbye to everybody. Much hugging, promises to keep in touch, and our ABD adventure was over.

I wanted to take a photo of some whizzing traffic at night so my brother and I headed out onto that walkway bridge to take photos of the traffic with the Hong Kong skyline. I got my photos and that's when we headed back to the hotel, that's when we discovered they lock up access to the hotel at some point in the evening. We had to walk down and enter the hotel through the bar.

The end of the ABD adventure. I'll write about our next few days here too.
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Old 04-28-2012, 03:29 PM   #103
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The view from our room.


Stanley Market


Rainbow Calligraphy


View from the Peak


The guides prepare to take the group photo


View from the Peak


Star Ferry


My family with the guides


Avenue of the Stars


Bruce Lee statue


Night traffic (it was actually kind of slow that night!)
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Old 05-08-2012, 11:39 PM   #104
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Smile luggage

I am currently reading your post. Its very helpful as we will be going on the same trip in June. We are also traveling on Air Canada. Were the luggage weight limits for Chinese domestic airlines different from Air Canada? Do you recall how much luggage you brought and the weight for each? I have also read other posts that recommend bringing extra luggage for items purchased. Would extra luggage just get checked in for a fee on the domestic carriers?
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Old 05-09-2012, 06:56 AM   #105
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I am currently reading your post. Its very helpful as we will be going on the same trip in June. We are also traveling on Air Canada. Were the luggage weight limits for Chinese domestic airlines different from Air Canada? Do you recall how much luggage you brought and the weight for each? I have also read other posts that recommend bringing extra luggage for items purchased. Would extra luggage just get checked in for a fee on the domestic carriers?
The weight limits are different from Air Canada or any other international flight. First the airlines you'll be going on are:

China Southern Airlines
Air China
Shanghai Airlines
Dragonair

The biggest difference is carry on in my opinion. Your carry on is only supposed to be 5 kg. Again, a lot of times we never check in ourselves so we never see the ticket agent to get our carry on weighed. Only two times did we see them... in Beijing and in Shanghai. The only time it was threatened was Shanghai.

Checked baggage is supposed to be 20 kg. I believe Air Canada allows 23 kg (for economy passengers). Now, checked baggage IS weighed and I know that we were overweight in Shanghai since I was standing there when it was weighed. One of ours weighed 27 kg. Somehow, the Mouse paid for it or made the charge go away. I cannot guarantee that this happens all the time but one of our guides said, at the farewell dinner, that when we go home that we all had to do the checking in ourselves and there would be no Mouse to help us with overweight bags.

ABD also says you're restricted to one checked bag but the guides kept reminding us that if we had added a bag during the trip to tell them so they could add it to the baggage count. I know of one lady who added a second bag and as far as I know, she wasn't charged extra for it for the China flights. Remember though that Air Canada's going to charge you for that second bag.

I don't know about bringing extra luggage. If you're sure you're going to need it, I guess you could bring it but like I said, AC's going to charge you that coming and going. You could just buy lugggage in China if you need it ... there's a few markets on the trip where you can buy some luggage rather cheaply. One after the Li River cruise and a few markets in Hong Kong.

I liked our AC flight by the way. We flew economy on the way back from Hong Kong (no upgrade ... rats) and it was actually quite fine. The seats and pitch were very ok.
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1975 WDW Fort Wilderness | 1983 Disneyland | 1992 WDW Offsite | 1996 Disneyland (DL Pacific Hotel)| 1999 Disneyland | 2000 WDW Dixie Landings | 2002 Disneyland | 2003 WDW Offsite | 2004 Disneyland | 2005 WDW Offsite | 2006 Disneyland | 2007 Tokyo Disneyland /Disney Sea / HK Disneyland (Disney's Hollywood Hotel) | 2008 Disneyland | 2008 WDW Offsite | 2009 Disneyland Paris | 2009 Disneyland | 2009 WDW Caribbean Beach Resort - DCL Disney Magic | 2011 Disneyland | 2011 Disney Magic Mediterranean | 2012 Disneyland (VGC) | 2012 ABD -Enchanted China | 2012 HK Disneyland | 2012 DCL Disney Magic NYC/Canada | 2012 WDW Boardwalk | 2013 Disneyland | 2013 Disney Magic Mediterranean Greek | 2013 Disney Dream Bahamas | 2014 Disneyland (VGC)
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