Arrival in Fuzhou

posted Aug 17, 2010, 12:41 AM by Charles Boling   [ updated Aug 17, 2010, 5:52 AM ]

Sunday 2010-08-15

The air flight to Fuzhou, China was uneventful and seemed quite short (an hour and a half) compared to the last one! We arrived in Fuzhou and took what seemed to be an odd route in and out of the building to finally get to customs. Except for the guard who never smiled and looked like something out of a video game with his extra large helmet, security and customs was easier here than anywhere else we'd been. In Portland Michele had to be completely “patted down” because of her skirt. Here they didn't do anything like that. Then again, here she wasn't the only lady in the airport wearing a skirt!

We grabbed our luggage, went out the door and our interpreter was there with a sign with our names on it. She was VERY nice. She was a happy positive person and enjoyable to be around. Her “American name” is Helen. She was with a non-English speaking young man who was our driver. He took our luggage and we all went out to their car – a newish minivan - which was parked really close to the exit. The weather outside was hotter and muggier than Hong Kong. The hotel was about an hour from the airport.

It was amazing to us how much the roads and signage was the same as America. The main roads, looked EXACTLY like freeways back home – even the signs, which were in both English and Chinese, were the same green and white. As we drove, Helen gave us the history of the town and surrounding area. The driver was SCARY. As Charles put it, the people in general are VERY polite and helpful, but when it comes to transportation they are ANIMALS! Wow. Pedestrians mixed with bikes mixed with cars mixed with buses mixed with lots of motorcycles made for a very interesting ride. No real rules over here. Red lights are suggestions and you can turn in an intersection and sit and block the other direction, even if your light is red. Lanes on the road are suggestions as well – it's pretty nutty. Our driver however, was VERY good at what he does. It's just amazing.

Our hotel was MUCH nicer than the one in Hong Kong (prices are much cheaper for things here). This is actually a VERY ritzy hotel – for less than $75 a night. It's rated as the best five star hotel in the city (and this city has 6 million people just inside it's city limits – that's more than 10 times Portland Oregon's in-the-city-limits size). The foyer, restaurant, entrance etc... are just amazing – this is the kind of hotel you only see in magazines or on TV when rich people are getting dropped of out of their Mercedes by their chauffeurs. There was a mix-up with the room and so it took us a while to get settled in. The room itself is one of the “cheap” rooms, but is quite nice and comfortable. And as opposed to the hotel in Hong Kong, this hotel actually has air-conditioned hallways too. We got to bed as soon as we could unpack, shower and prepare for the Monday.