Rod and Kaye Jenkins
Two Week Conducted Tour
Macau, China's Pearl River Delta & Hong Kong Tour
Run mouse over map to see our route
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Tour departed Australia November 10 and returned November 23, 2008
This was wonderful value for a tour that included all of the following:
- Return Air fares with Cathay Pacific airlines from Melbourne to Hong Kong.
- 2 days in Macau, the "Las Vegas of Asia", 2 days in Hong Kong and 9 days touring China's fascinating Pearl River Delta.
- Good quality accommodation, mainly 4 star.
- Most meals.
- Entrance fees to many attractions.
- All transport and transfers, including Hong Kong to Shenzhen first class rail ticket and Macau to Hong Kong ferry ticket.
- Full time service of a local tour guide and an Australian tour leader.
IMPRESSIONS OF CHINA
- There were 19 passengers, a driver and 2 guides on our 38 seater bus so we had room to stretch out, even though a few of the seats woul not stay upright.
- The National guide stayed with us all the way but there was a different local guide for each district. The main task of the local guide seemed to be to get us to spend all our money in his district.
- China is one country with 2 systems, socialist in mainland China and capitalist in Macau and Hong Kong
- Shop keepers are happy to bargain. I think the more you laugh the better deal you get.
- No beggars on the streets and no touts like the well dressed ones in Bangkok who try to take you to special sales.
- No end to the number of multi story apartments to accomodate the millions of people.
- The size and extent of freeways that makes Los Angeles look puny. We went over the 5th level of a crossover outside Gungzou
- Cleanliness and good organisation of street system.
- Friendliness of the people and their eagerness to practice thier english with us.
- Openess of one of our guides who said he prefferred to live in the socialist system only because it was much cheaper than the capitalist system.
- The sincerity of people offering alms and praying at Buddist temples.
- Chinese restraunts are huge, we always had 2 tables in a seperate room for our chinese meals.
- It is not easy to recognise the ingredients of some chinese dishes !
- Chinese prefer hard beds so they are installed in all 5 star hotels.
- Bathroom plumbing is complicated. Breakfast talk was always about how or if, we managed to have a hot shower and how many fittings had been pulled apart or broken in the process.
- Parks usually have groups of young and old people playing a form of soccer with an item like a shuttlecock that has another spring in it.
- The preserved Portugese colonial buildings and streetscapes in Macau are impressive. -see photos of narrow streets.
- Forget bamboo hats and rice paddies, the parts of China we visited are well developed industrial cities with little open space between them.
- A shuttle bus runs from all Macau casinos to the ferry terminal,so from there you can go to any other casino
- We did not see another group of westerners until we got to Macua 11 days later.
- Despite the huge population we never struck crowds of people.
- Motor cycles are banned from Gunzou. The reasons given were that there were too many accidents and/or to stop bikkie gangs from getting organised. (Maybe we could try it here)
- The hotels are required to scan your passport when checking in.
- We heard a view that the one-child policy is producing a generation of spoilt brats who are not developing social skills by interacting with brothers and/or sisters. -You can have more if you are a poor farmer in the north or can afford the very heavy second child tax.
- Do not take travellers cheques to mainland China
While we had been warned to take enough cash and change it to Chinese Yaun before we left Hong Kong, we found more goodies than expected. Travellers cheques can only be cashed at a Bank of China, which are not plentiful. We had to take a 20 minute taxi ride to the one in Zhongshan. Then it took 5 people, reams of paperwork and 30 minutes to effect the transaction.
- Sharing beer and smokes with our two guides and driver after dinner. I tried to buy a bottle of beer but my offer was politely but firmly refused.. When I suggested that they would sign the docket and the company would get the bill, they said I was a "very clever Austalian"
- Two tables of suited Chinese business men who stood up when Kaye stopped on the way out after tea to say Hello and shake the hand of one of them,. another threw his arms out a asked for a cuddle.
- The young lady in the shoe small shoe shop who sent her brother up a ladder into the ceiling to find a pair of shoes that would fit me and the long discussion about families that followed.
- Chinese ladies crowding around SALE items exactly as they do in Target.
- Broadband available in most hotel rooms to connect my laptop.
- Free upgrade to 2 room suite for our 3 night stay in Gungzou.
- Our driver was adept at doing U turns when requested by his GPS ,regardless of oncoming traffic, so much so that we named him Mr U-turn. On boarding the bus the question was "How many U turns and parks today ?"
- The four Chinese ladies who stood behind Kaye shouting encouragement and giving her a neck/shoulder massage while she was winning on a poker machine in the Venetion casino.
- Traffic lights with a countdown number on them
Kaye haggling over how many childrens watches she had to buy to get a free one for herself in the middle of much laughter and discussion about grandchildren.
- Bottled water was available on the bus everyday.
- My in depth discussion with a chinese school teacher about how the socialist government is safe as long as the economy is strong and employement growing. However, if the current economic crisis puts all the immigrants from the north out of work and forces them to go home, there will be "social unrest"
- The weather was surpisingly mild. We had one day of 30 degrees and no need for the pullovers we had taken. We were told we were extremely lucky to not have any rain over the 14 days.