I recently took a trip to Guangzhou, China with my family of 6. We flew Air China and stayed in the White Swan Hotel for about two weeks.
The White Swan is a super nice hotel. Each floor has an attendant and they are so willing to help and very polite. I really enjoyed watching the Chinese TV channels. The plots were usually lost on me, but it was interesting to watch the different shows and even the commercials.
The hotel also has a game room with different arcade games and air hockey tables. There are two swimming pools, a hot tub, and a kiddie pool outside. There is also a Mattel toy room. It has a ton of really well kept and clean toys. .
Staying at the White Swan put us on Shamian Island. It is a beautiful place and is extremely tourist friendly. Shamian Island was a great place to explore. It is a small place so walking is the preferred method of transportation. There are plenty of little shops to visit. There are bronze sculptures everywhere. It was a fun adventure to wander around taking pictures of them and just experience China.
On the island there is a very American diner called Lucy's. They serve burgers and fries and stuff like that. There is also a little ice cream shop near the hotel. However, I would personally recommend the more authentic Chinese restaurants. They are delicious and served some of the best food I have ever eaten. You just have to be willing to try some new foods but, in my experience, it was always worth it.
There's a little school on the island next to a park. We would go play at the park every evening. We traveled in September so the nights were nice and warm. The school kids would come play with my sisters and I. They would play games with us or kick a ball around. They would show us their tricks on the playground equipment. That was a neat experience to interact with the kids.
We spent time in the rest of Guangzhou too. We went to a toy market. It was a huge multilevel building with toy shops everywhere. We also went to the Guangzhou Zoo. We were able to see pandas as well as other wild animals. There was a place where you could hold and feed animals like chimps, red pandas, snakes, birds, and dogs. There was also a little amusement park at the back. There were some roller coasters and some other little carnival type rides. We also went to a tea house and the Sun Yat Sen Memorial. We visited a pearl market and went on a dinner boat cruise too.
On the down side, it can be a little smoggy and the air can be polluted. There are a lot of people and cars everywhere. The traffic is crazy, but the taxi drivers are quite skilled. The public restrooms are usually various forms of squattie potties. (a hole you squat over) However, just bring some toilet paper and hand sanitizer and you'll get used to them fast. Just all part of the experience!!
This trip was amazing. It showed me a whole new place and culture. I loved trying new foods and learning about the Chinese history. This trip taught me to be willing to jump out of your comfort zone. This trip taught me to be respectful and accepting of people different from you. We all have a common ground if we will take the time to find it.
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