Taxis, trains, planes, and KFC in huge domestic airports

Taxis, trains, planes, and KFC in huge domestic airports

[Edit - 18/03/09]

I’ve just slept for 12 hours straight. We got in to Hong Kong at about 6:30pm local time, made it to our hotel at 7:30pm. I lay down for a quick kip while John sorted his cell phone and I woke up the next day at 8pm. I was more tired than I thought. The last week before I left was a little exhausting.

This is the first full day of our trip. We headed out for breakfast and John found some local place which was full of people so we thought that was a safe bet. This place cracked me up. You don’t get a table to yourself in this place. There are large round tables that seat about eight people and you are directed to just sit down at anyone with the strangers already there. Everyone was Chinese, which is to be expected, and they all took a good look at the hulking great white guy with blonde hair who squeezed into their morning world.

The food was great. I’m keen on trying as much new and different stuff as I can; however, I figured that playing it safe for my first meal might be a good idea. John ordered some local cuisine that I would probably have tried in NZ at some stage. Things like meatballs, shrimp dumplings, chicken and rice soup. It was very nice and I managed to eat everything with chopsticks – I was stoked. I really don’t want to be a tourist if I can help it. I want to experience China the local way as much as possible. I hate the idea of going to a foreign country and making them bend to my western European way e.g. asking for a knife and fork because I can’t use chopsticks.  John is great. I’m very blessed to be travelling with a Chinese national.

Oh I haven’t said already that I have no idea what the deal is with tipping people over here. The porter took our bags to our room last night and then hung around in the room for a moment and slowly headed towards the door. Neither John nor I had any idea if we should tip him or how much. We still aren’t sure.

After the mornings adventures we headed over to meet up with Sam, one of the other three guys I’m travelling with. There will be Sam, Sinclair, John, and I on this trip for most of the time. Sam and Sinclair each arrive separately and leave separately. We meet up with Sinclair in Shanghai on 17 March.

Sam’s hotel is tiny. I thought ours was bad but Sam’s was amazing. Trying to find the door to his hotel was hard enough. I’m not sure this picture will give you a great idea but it’s just a small door in the side of what looks like a closed shop. I was expecting a lobby with a porter etc but not this place


The great thing about Sam’s hotel was free wireless Internet.  I gave Mum and Dad a call from Skype. Mum wanted to know if I was safe – how cute of her. I wonder what she was going to do if I wasn’t? Maybe she will comment if you reads this.

The plan for today is to travel to the border of Hong Kong province and cross over into main land China. We essentially travelled from one end of the line to the other but couldn’t go on one train all the way; so we would travel six stops, get off, hope on the next train on the other side of the platform which was heading the same direction as the train we were on, and then travel another six stops and do it all again. The train ride was easy and uneventful. The only things I’ve round about China and now the train system is it has been designed for small people with small bags. My large suitcase doesn’t fit through the turnstiles where you swipe to get into the train stations. If you’ve been to London or on a subway you will know what I’m talking about.

At the end of the train ride we end up at customs. John has to go through a seperate area for Chinese nationals who are just visiting China and this leaves Sam and I to get through by ourselves. Not an issue really apart from the fact that we can’t read or speak Chinese and that makes it a little hard trying to figure out which one of the 70 aisles we should line up at. They are all colour coded so we just picked a colour and followed that all the way though. It was a good plan and worked well.

Once we got through customs and found John we were out into the big wide world of main land China. Immediately some guy comes up and starts talking to John and showing him a card, which I think, was a taxi drivers license. John obviously was not impressed as he flagged the guy away. The guy didn’t leave and started to walk next to john and tapping him on the shoulder. I could tell John wasn’t impressed and wasn’t going to shake the guy very well. These guys are very pushy. I’ve encountered it before in Africa. They mean well and just don’t leave you alone. I thought this was a good opportunity to use the skills God blessed me with – a loud voice and a direct spirit. So in a loud clear Hayden type voice I said ‘go away’ several people around us looked over and the guy hassling john looked a little shocked. He left very quickly hahahaha. John appreciated the help.

The next part isn’t nearly as exciting. At this point we are in a border city called Shen Zhen. We jump into the airport bus, drive 45mins to the airport, get out and check into our flight for Shanghai.

We had a little time to kill before we had to board and we were all hungry. KFC was the closest place that looked safe. The funniest part was not being able to figure out how to order what we wanted. Obviously all the menus are in Chinese so I have no idea what I’m trying to order. I can’t even tell the burgers from the drinks. Nothing is called the same over here. I did find this menu but I’ll be dammed if I know what to say to order something from it hahaha. They don’t look like what we have at home so I don’t even know what I’m getting. It was a fun little adventure.


I’m sitting on the plane to Shanghai writing this post. We have just been served our airline food. Check this out; it’s just not as good as First Class food from Qantas


They really know how to package food. I couldn’t get my jelly open. When I finally did, or when John got it open for me – thanks John, I couldn’t get my fork into it hahaha. The jelly was so tough I couldn’t cut it. John though it was rather funny so took this pic.


21 comments (Add your own)

1. Penny wrote:
Pretty sad that KFC has made it to China!! Tell Sam to email us at some point soon.


Mon, March 16, 2009 @ 4:35 PM

2. E wrote:
Haha! One of the things I loved about China (brief stay but still) was the hilariously different burger king. want a cheeseburger? sure, but only with mushrooms! how cool but how weird...if you see that please try one, i wasn't brave enough to ^_^

Mon, March 16, 2009 @ 11:40 PM

3. Eri wrote:
You spelt for 12 hours straight? Dude, you must be a dictionary! Or some sort of wheat product...hehe! Hi Hayden - I'm Erica, very facetious, and I live with Kat. I can hear her in the kitchen talking to someone about your blog so I thought I'd pop by for a geez.

My husband grew up in one of Hong Kong's housing blocks. He used to hear suicides falling past the window at night. Ah the memories...

Hope the rest of your trip goes well! And pleased to meet you!


Tue, March 17, 2009 @ 10:52 PM

4. mum wrote:
Darn right I wanted to know if you are safe, I have had enough phonecalls that start 'just letting you know....' Love your descriptions have a great time.

Fri, March 20, 2009 @ 8:04 AM

5. Hayden Sanders wrote:
Ohhhh yay for Mum reading my blog. Did you figure out how to watch the videos on youtube? You will laugh at the ones about the theme park ride and how silly I was to hope on it.

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