Cheap Flights are Life.
My Plane Ticket from JFK (New York) to DPS (Bali) was $589.
BUT, the sacrifice was the 13 hour layover in Guangzhou, China.
As amazing as
cheap affordable international flights are, the reality is they usually come with some sort of caveat. In this case, it was half a day in China. While the novice traveler may cringe at the thought of spending 13 hours in an airport, the nosey traveler sees it as an opportunity to squeeze in one more trip and snag one more stamp. Sheeet…. two countries for $589?? I’ll take it.
SO how do you make a long layover work?
The first step is to look at your layover time and subtract it by two. You need at least 6 hours to get comfortably out of the airport and back in enough time to board. Mind you, the Guangzhou gang on my trip made it back with 8 minutes to spare, it was fun… but I wouldn’t really recommend that…
In Guangzhou, it took us two hours just to get our temporary stamp to leave the airport. China Southern provided us with a hotel and we were escorted there by shuttle. We arrived at the hotel at 11 and hit the streets by noon. By this time we had a specific goal in mind: Dim Sum and The Canton Tower (also known as the Guangzhou Tower).
Dim Sum: Getting food was hilarious! No one spoke English and the menu was completely in Chinese with no pictures. We used Google Translator but that was a farce. I enjoyed watching everyone struggle through the menu and keeping their fingers crossed that we received what we thought we ordered. Long story short. We left hungry.
Canton Tower: The Tower was pretty dope. Guangzhou is a business district so it resembles NYC in terms of the skyline and bustling streets. This is where we ran into the infamous crowd of Chinese men and women clamoring to take photos of us. While we expected that 8 Beautiful Black Women would be a lot to handle, the reality is, it gets pretty annoying. I can’t imagine what it must be like being Beyonce…
By the time we made it back to the hotel, we missed the shuttle back to the airport so we had to hop in a cab… After slowly sashaying through Chinese traffic where no one speeds or gets flipped off, we made it to the airport right before our flight was ready to board. Unlucky for us, Chinese security is thorough and rather anal. SO much so that I had to cut the built-in battery pack for my clutch out and throw it away simply because they couldn’t access the serial
Nonetheless, we made it to the plane with 8 minutes to spare. It was hilarious getting on the plane and hearing the cheers from the rest of our group (14 of us on that flight in all). We literally made it by the skin of our teeth…
But I wouldn’t change a thing…