Our flight to Paris included a stopover in Guangzhou, China which was a 3-hour flight from Manila. On board China Southern Airlines, they actually served dried mangoes for desert. (Yay! A little bit of home before setting foot on a foreign country.)We were originally set to stay in Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport for only 3 hours. But due to a delay, we had to spend 5-6 hours in Baiyunport. Allow me to share my experience and tips if ever you drop by Baiyunport.
Things to know about Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport
>> Can’t speak Chinese like me? Worry not! The airport staff can speak English. They even wear a badge to indicate that they can speak English. The badge also shows a certain number of stars to indicate how well they can speak in English.
>> They have tablets attached to trolleys which can be a source of entertainment (music videos, trailers, etc.) and information (flight details, boarding gate, map of the airport, current events, news, etc.). Although most of the entertainment were in Chinese, I had fun watching the videos and trailers. It was also through the tablets that we found out that our flight was delayed. Another good thing about the tablets is that they have USB ports. We used these ports to connect our gadgets and charge them while we were waiting for our flight.
>> NO FREE WI-FI
unless you are a subscriber of a Chinese telecommunications company. This kind of sucked because I wanted to check my e-mail, Facebook, etc. (Tip: An airport staff told us that you can look for a person who is a subscriber of a Chinese telecommunications company and hope that this person is kind enough to share his/her account with you. Multiple devices can be used for one account.)
>> Stores ONLY ACCEPT YUAN. Since we had ample time, we strolled and checkout the shops. I wanted to buy something but they didn’t accept US dollars. So if ever you do stay for a long time and might need to buy water, a meal or something bring some YUAN with you.
Nostalgia in Guangzhou
>> The time I dropped by a convenience store and I hear the one of the few Chinese song I knew. Blaring from the store’s speakers was the “美” Mei (Beautiful) by Wang Lee Hom. Enzo (my teammate for Go Green in the City) was surprised that I knew the song. I actually listened to Wang Lee Hom’s The 18 Martial Ats album. The songs were featured in his movie “Love in Disguised that I watched more than five times. This instance made me nostalgic. I remember that it was my former roommate, Joey, who actually shared the movie with me. We used to have a couch in S207 and we used to watch movies together in that couch. One of the movies we watched together on that couch was Love in Disguise with Noreen screaming “Ang gwapo niya talaga! (He is so handsome.)” every five minutes or so.
>> I have mentioned that the tablets had trailers. It actually featured a trailer of You are the Apple of My Eye. This brought back memories of the time I watched the movie in Singapore. You are the Apple of My Eye is a Taiwanese movie that my friends from Hong Kong strongly recommended (and I strongly recommend you watch, too). I got to watch this with my roommate in SG, Gloria Tsang. We went to the Golden village cinemas in Jurong Point near Nanyang Technological University, where I spent a semester in 2011.
Off to Paris
It was a good thing that we were flying out on a late flight because I just had to sleep most of the time. It
was also a good way for me to adapt to the different time zone. (Tip: Midnight flights are usually cheaper.) I was knocked out most of the part of the 13-hour flight to Paris.
For the time I was awake, I was either eating the food that they served or listening to music while also thinking about the slides we have to present. (Yes! I was thinking of ways on how to improve the presentation while on board the plane!) Although I had my own playlist, I didn’t want to drain the battery of my phone because I might need to get in touch with the people from Schneider Electric Paris. So I stuck with the given entertainment on board China Southern Airlines which was not that bad. But I find it weird that Justin Beiber is listed under Western Classics and Super Junior is on the Asian Classics list. But nevertheless, I found a bunch of songs I like and created my own playlist on the entertainment system.
My playlist on board China Souther Airlines (at least those I can remember)
- All I Ask of you (Phantom of the Opera)
- Think of Me (Phantom of the Opera)
- Learn to be Lonely (Phantom of the Opera)
- Angel (Jay Chou)
- First Kiss (Jay Chou)
- Father and Son (Jay Chou)
- Secret (Jay Chou)
- Les Miserables OST