Monday, February 20, 2012

China: (Canton) China Import and Export Fair- First time)

I woke up early , took a bath and ate the complimentary breakfast of yoghurt, bread and boiled egg. Went down to the lobby where the van that would take us to the fair was waiting. I needed to be early since I had to register yet. The traffic was so heavy since it was just the second day of the Fair. Travel time was almost 1 hour. It usually takes 15-20 minutes on regular days.

Upon arriving at the Fair Complex, I was amazed because it was so huge. I got the number of the van so when it would be departure time back to the hotel I could find it easily.

I proceeded to the Registration booth. You need 2 pieces of 2 x 2 ID and a copy of your passport plus 150 RMB as registration fee. Registration had a very long queue. It took almost 30 minutes.  

After registration I went straight to the electronics section. There were about a thousand of display booths for electronics alone. If you would want to see all the booths I think it will take you 3-4 days. You have to come back every day. The building has 5 floors and divided into classifications of displays.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

China: Exploring Guangzhou (First Time)

When I arrived Guangzhou at around 2 pm, the hotel receptionist told me that free shuttle was 8:00 in the morning and would depart from the Fair at 6 pm. Since I had nothing to do in the afternoon, I slept for about 3 hours and when I woke up it was about 6 PM. I asked the front desk a guide to go to any Mall. They recommended TEE Mall. I asked them to write it in Chinese so I would show it to the taxi driver since English is hardly spoken and understood in China. I do not speak Mandarin either.I got a name card of the hotel so when I would get back I would just show it to the driver.
A view from the window of my hotel

China: HK to Gunagzhou

China Import and Export Fair is held twice a year either March or April  and September or October. This is a gathering of all the suppliers in China exhibiting all their products from electronics to plastic ware to automobiles, clothes and everything. As they always say, "Almost everything now is Made in China". I wanted to attend to see the latest in technology as well as to source out for new suppliers and learn more about solar panels.

In going to Guangzhou, you need to have a China Visa. Application is just easy. Just fill out the form, provide a booked round trip ticket as well a hotel booking , 2 pcs of picture 2 x 2, your passport and pay 1200 for single entry or 2500 for double entry. Processing takes about 5 working days.

The easiest way to go to Guangzhou is via Hongkong or you can take a direct flight from Manila to Guangzhou. For me Hongkong is more convenient  as you have plenty of options to do after the fair. 

@ Hong Kong Airport. gates were closed since we arrived at past 1 am already. Trains will start at 5 in the morning.
From the airport you take a train to go to Hong Hum Station. In Hong Hum Station there is an express train to Guangzhou. It costs around 150 HKD. The interval is every hour. But during China Fair, there are plenty of passengers since this is an International gathering of suppliers and buyers.

 On board the express train. There are food on board to choose from usually Rice Toppings. Cost starts at 50- 100 HKD. You get one complimentary bottled water.

Upon arrival in Guangzhou Station, there  are plenty of hotel representatives with free shuttle. It depends upon your budget. I asked if there was a USD 10 per night and they laughed. Since there is a fair rates are partly doubled to tripled. I got the 50 USD per night. There is a free shuttle from the hotel to the Fair because it is quite far. about 30 minutes if traffic is good but sometimes takes 1 hour is it's too busy.

A view from the hotel I stayed, Sha He Lou Hotel

Malaysia: Kota Kinabalu New Year's Day

It was my last day in KK before going home. In Ate Josie's house I met two Brunei-bound teachers. They just arrived from Manila and their flight was late in the evening. They had not explored downtown  Kota Kinabalu so I invited them to take the bus and there we went early at 9am. We went to 1Borneo Place. It is a Hypermall with hotels , cinemas and lots of stores.

Brunei to Kota Kinabalu: By Land

After being picked up by ate Josie's driver, we went to their house in Brunei. There were plenty of food also. I was  already full so I just took some tea. She told me we would be leaving at around 5 am yet. I wanted to sleep but there were plenty of guests singing the Videoke. I just sat in the sofa waiting for our trip. When its was about 5 am the driver arrived together with two Pinoy kids who will be going back to Philippines also. They spent their holidays in Brunei with their parents who were working there. So I sat in front while the two kids were at the back seat. The start of a 6 hour trip started. Our driver was friendly so I just kept on talking even though my eyes were closed to keep him awake.

I woke up when we reached the border between Brunei and Sabah Malaysia which was Temburong. (In going to Malaysia you have to pass about 4-5 border patrols, so expect 5-6 Immigration stamps on your passports too. )

At around 930 am we arrived Kota Kinabalu. We went straight to Ate Josie's House in Penumpang. I slept and woke up at around 4 in the afternoon. Had to take shower and ate lunch. After that I walked around the nearby shopping mall.

Brunei: Last Day, a Day Before New Year

It was my last day in Brunei as I planned to go back to Kota Kinabalu already. I went to this Filipino store selling Philippine made products, Konica and Natasha and invited the staff to have lunch in a Chinese restaurant.

Fresh Kiwifruit juice for a rice with beef rendang

 After lunch we went back to their shop and talked. They also invited me to go to their rented apartment for the Media Noche. They said there will be plenty of Filipinos coming so I was excited to go also. Besides my trip was at 2 am yet. ( I would be goint back to KK by land-over 6 hours. I contacted Ate Josie , they were in Brunei also. And her driver would be going back to KK. So I would be going with them. For 150 BND, that was just right even if it was a 6 hour trip. )

After chatting I went up to my hotel room to pack up my things and rested. By 8 pm I checked out and went to their apartment to meet fellow Pinoys. We heard mass at 9 PM in the Church. After mass we went back to the apartment and shared the food they had prepared. I was amazed how were they able to have a Lechon. Although it was only the Pig's head, everybody enjoyed. And there were plenty of alcohol.  So i really believed in Filipinos abroad. If there is a will there is a way.

When it was about 1 am, my pick up arrived. Had to leave Brunei already. I thanked everyone and said Good Luck and wished them a Happy New Year.