In China now on an ABD and ...

Discussion in 'The DIS Unplugged Podcast' started by pxlbarrel, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. pxlbarrel

    pxlbarrel <font color=teal>They won't allow any kind of cow

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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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  3. KingK12

    KingK12 <font color=red>No boo boo, but Yes, I wanna get s

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    [QUOTE

    Chengdu at night from our room
    [​IMG][/QUOTE]


    So very beautiful! :thumbsup2
     
  4. CBEB

    CBEB <font color=deeppink>We're ready to do it again!<b

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    Having withdrawal!:scared1: Need an update!:banana: Sure hope Pxlbarrel gets a chance to post soon!:goodvibes:goodvibes
     
  5. Cousin Orville

    Cousin Orville Inventor of Air Cooling

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    Agreed. Really loving the pictures. They definitely make me want to travel around China.
     
  6. pxlbarrel

    pxlbarrel <font color=teal>They won't allow any kind of cow

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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.
     
  7. pxlbarrel

    pxlbarrel <font color=teal>They won't allow any kind of cow

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  8. Halloweenqueen

    Halloweenqueen Whenever Candle Lights Flicker...

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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?
     
  9. CBEB

    CBEB <font color=deeppink>We're ready to do it again!<b

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    Wow, awsome pictures of the terra cotta soldiers! Cannot WAIT for our ABD trip in July!:cool1:

    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! :)
     
  10. Disney_Mama

    Disney_Mama DIS Veteran

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    Amazing!!! Thank you so much for sharing.
     
  11. auroralark

    auroralark Lives for vacation

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    Loving this report and photos! Thanks for sharing your adventure!
     
  12. pxlbarrel

    pxlbarrel <font color=teal>They won't allow any kind of cow

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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.
     
  13. CBEB

    CBEB <font color=deeppink>We're ready to do it again!<b

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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.
     
  14. pxlbarrel

    pxlbarrel <font color=teal>They won't allow any kind of cow

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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. :rotfl:
     
  15. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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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!

    Sayhello
     
  16. pxlbarrel

    pxlbarrel <font color=teal>They won't allow any kind of cow

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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!!:rolleyes1
     
  17. wdwscout

    wdwscout <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/" targ

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    Your reports have been amazing!
    You deserve a break from reports. Enjoy the last days of your trip and send us pictures and more details when you are refreshed!!

    Thank you for painting such a beautiful visual of this trip! :cool1:
     
  18. pxlbarrel

    pxlbarrel <font color=teal>They won't allow any kind of cow

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    Day 7 of the Adventure

    The day started by drawing our curtains and seeing gumdrop mountains in our magnificent view from our room. We couldn't see them when we checked in because it was so dark so the reveal in the morning was magnificent. Again, the Mouse arranged for us to all have a view.

    The breakfast buffet at this Shangrila was better, in my opinion, than the one in Chengdu. After breakfast, we had an optional tai chi lesson. Because it was raining, we did the tai chi in the hotel. Wow, it's hard and hard to believe it's good for stress. Hahah. Our meetup time for the bus was 9:30 or 10 (I think ... I can't remember). The day before, the guides asked us what we wanted for our boxed lunch: veggie, tuna or something else sandwich. Most of us picked tuna. We were told the boxed lunchesnwerembecause the kitchen on the Li River boats were scary. They weren't wrong. :rotfl:

    It was a very grey and rainy day when our bus took off on our journey to meet the boat. Our boat was our boat and not to be shared with anybody else. Apparently this had to be negotiated with the Chinese government....apparently many months of negotiation. On board this ship was 1 western toilet and on our bus, a woman hired to clean the toilet. We gave her a huge round of applause. :thumbsup2

    The power of the Mouse was strong. As we arrived at the dock, an hour of driving through amazing countryside, the rain stopped. It was still a pretty grey day and misty but that contributed to the mystique of the gumdrops. We dumped our lunches in the cabin and then ascended to the top deck to take photos and to take the majesty of the mountains in. It was the most awe inspiring scenery. You cannot believe That you're actually there looking at these natural wonders, or the water buffaloes, and other water craft of varying seaworthiness. We stayed out on the deck for about an hour or a little more than an hour when Daisy told everybody that we should eat our lunches. We all obediently went below to eat causing Daisy to remark that she felt that she really was our "mommy"!

    Our lunch consisted of a soggy bread filled to the brim with tuna and a bit of cucumber, a banana, orange juice and a salad (with thousand islands dressing). It was edible ... but I'm not much of a sandwich person and even less of a tuna person. While we ate, it started to downpour outside. The Mouse has impeccable timing. After eating, Jennae and Daisy pulled out a jug of noxious paint cleaner that passed for booze in those parts. It had some interesting ingredients still in the jug ... Which is for future adventurers to discover and not for me to reveal. :rotfl:

    Then the guides handed everybody 20 RMB and told us that when the ship docked, we would be in Yangshao, where there was this market. We were to use the 20 RMB and buy a gift for a white elephant gift exchange in the evening. We were to practice our bartering skills as taught by the master her self, Jennae. She told us about buying a crapload of scarves in this market for an extremely good price. That's when the women of the group banded together at one stall and bought a huge crapload of scarves with the price negotiated by Jennae. A record number of 51 scarves and pashminas were purchased for 580 RMB. Do the math... Those silk scarves cost less than $2 each.

    After that it was time to buy the white elephant gift. I thought about how Kevin bought a white elephant on his Italian ABD but I wasn't sure what the white elephants at this market were made of ... Ivory or plastic ... Neither of which I wanted. I need up getting a hand painted glass snuff bottle with pandas on it. I found my parents later and they still had not bought aything so I went into full bartering mode (I can do it when it's not for me... :confused3 :rotfl2: ). Negotiated 2 t-shirts for 40 RMB. The vendor called me back about 4 times. :woohoo:

    Oh, it stopped raining while we shopped. The timing was uncanny.

    It was time to board the bus for the trip back...and it started to rain again. We got back to the hotel with time to clean up and pack for tomorrow before our BBQ dinner at the hotel. Dinner was outside under cover but it was actually a tad on the chilly side. The hotel brought out a bunch of heaters for us. They bbqed chicken, pork and beef...and some sausages. Wasn't bad at all. After dinner it was time for the white elephant exchange. My poor dad was first to pick and got a big Chinese fan. Ha! Nobody ever tried to steal it fom him. The evening of white elephants was truly fun. I nearly peed in my pants because of hard I was laughing. :rotfl2: Now, our little group had bonded already but this evening was like icing on a cake. So, so fun. And Jennae needs to get her own television show.

    This was also movie night ... and we watched ... what else, Mulan! I left for my room after the second song.

    Bags outside the room for 7:30 (I think). Shanghai was next!
     
  19. pxlbarrel

    pxlbarrel <font color=teal>They won't allow any kind of cow

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  20. Cousin Orville

    Cousin Orville Inventor of Air Cooling

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    Wow. Amzing pictures. It doesn't get anymore exotic than that!
     
  21. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    Beautiful! What an amazing sight those Gumdrop mountains are!

    That boat deck you're posing on looks MIGHTY slick! :eek:

    What did you end up with for the White Elephant exchange?

    Sayhello
     

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