After saying a sad goodbye to my family in Melbourne I was officially on my exchange journey. I departed Melbourne en route to Guangzhou at 2230 on the 26th of June 2012. After what was a nearly 10 hour flight I touched down in Guangzhou at local time 0600. Hopping off the plane into a very balmy steamy 28°C was a bit of a shock to the system. After being directed to a body temperature scanner and then to the International Transfers desk I was stamped into China. As it was still so early in the morning very few things were opened, I wandered aimlessly for a short while before making camp to charge my phone and try to access the “free Wi-Fi” which was offered at almost every gate with no success due to the language barrier. I browsed around stores in order to kill some time but again everything in Cantonese provided some issues.
After four hours my gate location for my flight to Vancouver was finally displayed. In China there were a couple of significant differences that I noticed firstly the toilets were just porcelain holes in the ground which were designed for you to squat over. These toilets still flushed like regular toilets but I had never seen a toilet like that before. The second most noticeable thing was the fact that the tap water was not safe to drink, so in order to provide drinking water to people traveling, machines were placed in the airport which boiled the water in order to make it drinkable. This was interesting because if you wanted a drink you would pour yourself a cup of hot water and either wait for it to cool or drink it warm. It was at this point I was upset I hadn’t carried any tea bags with me!
After a lengthy 8 hour layover in Guangzhou, I boarded my flight to Vancouver. After boarding the plane a flash rainstorm began. This meant that we were unable to take off until the rain subsided. We were not informed of much so it was just a waiting game until the rain stopped. This situation is not ideal as the flight we had ahead of us was 12 hours and nobody really wants to sit on a plane in a small space longer than they have to. The rainstorm took an hour and a half to pass so that meant we were delayed our arrival that time. This would not have been an issue if I didn’t have to catch a flight at the other end to get me to Regina. This hour and a half delay only allowed me an hour in Vancouver to get through immigration, collect my bags, check onto my next flight and clear security. It was a race against time so after collecting my bags and running through the airport to check onto my next flight I had to clear security once again. Unfortunately I beeped in the scanner and was required to undergo a pat down and have all my belonging scanned for explosives needless to say I wasn’t carrying any so was free to go but had to run the entire way to the planes gate as my flight was now boarding.
After 20 odd hours of travelling I made it relatively unscathed to Regina, Saskatchewan, my home for the next 7 months. Now to enjoy some summer weather!
The toilets in Guangzhou
China Southern Plane I travelled on