Haneda to Guangzhou
3 passengers with 5 overweight, stuffed to capacity suitcases; suitcases literally bursting at the seams. But, no extra weight or baggage fees. Our Father is good in His care! The fastest slurping of Ramen you’ve ever seen before it’s time to board. The flight was a third empty, so not only did we forgo extra luggage weight fees, but we got to sit next to each other (we had all booked our flights separately so this was an unexpected plus!)
Landing in Guangzhou and getting our temporary visas for our long overnight layover took a while. We couldn’t find our free hotel shuttle, and there wasn’t one remotely helpful member of staff. We ended up getting in a taxi to take us to the airport. He didn’t know where he was going and agreed to stop us off for 100 yuan. No thanks, too expensive! He turned around took us back to the airport, muttering what must have been unpleasantness the entire time.
Back at the airport, the information kiosk called our hotel and gave me the license plate number of our shuttle. ‘It’s upstairs and it’s waiting on you’, she assured me in annoyance after I questioned her a few times. OK. We went upstairs and found... no hotel shuttle. So we got into our second taxi, after securing 40 yuan as our cost.
Let’s just say Booking.com has lost my business. I shall not be sharing a 5 Star recommendation; not for the hotel, nor Booking.com. Our hotel was a little less glamorous than the posted photos, just a little. Turns out the promised and requested ‘free shuttle’ was a magical, imaginary thing, similar to unicorns and mermaids.
Beds like a slab of rock with springs in it. A shower room with squatty potty. It helps when one is rather tired, disappointed and annoyed at all humans to list things I’m thankful for. Thankful for the a/c. Thankful for a lock on the door. Thankful for my traveling friends; I’m not doing this trip alone. Thankful we are all healthy and safe.
Our early morning ‘free’ shuttle was - what a surprise! - an illusion! 50 yuan or you make your own way there.
I’m sure we will look back on these moments, laugh and be thankful for the spiritual refinement process. Gold must be put through the fire for refining, and removing impurities. A soldier has training facilities for the purpose of going out into the battlefield.
As a Christian, I’m held to higher standards. I know how I ought to live. I have been taught. It started when I chose to follow Christ and every day since is choosing Him and laying aside my self. I’d love to say in moments like this I rise above the rudeness, injustice and manipulation with compassion, truth and mercy. I don’t want to be like the glue dot: attracting every piece of lint and dust. But these Guangzhou moments of rudeness had me reacting with a knee jerk annoyance, frustration, self righteousness and a serious lack of grace. Time to get realigned and recenter my empty cup under the Everlasting Water of Life in my Comforter, the Holy Spirit. Humbled. Repenting.
Assured of His grace when I fall short, which is more frequently than I’d like to admit. I want to be like a repelling magnet: rejecting the ways of the world and attracting everlasting substance.
We found the round green symbol of comfort that is Starbucks, and gained some much needed perspective and realignment.
Ready and boarded for Kathmandu, sayonara Guangzhou!
Get ready for Nepal, Day Two