Mike and Caitlin needed to add passport pages and the easiest place to do that is in Guangzhou at the American Embassy. Mike and I met Al and Caitlin at the train station and took the 7:45am train (too early for me) into Guangzhou.
The Embassy was just a quick five-minute walk from the train station. For some reason, I was expecting big steel gates, soldiers with huge guns, and of course, a huge American flag flying in the wind. My American pride was swelling because I just knew that when I saw that beautiful red, white, and blue flag flying, I would feel sort of like I arrived home.
Unfortunately, the “Embassy” was nothing more than an American “Consulate General”. It was in a dilapidated building that seemed to be deserted. After asking around, we were told that it was on the fifth floor. The escalators were not running, so we had to walk up the escalators in a dark and creepy corridor. Once we got to the fifth floor, we were greeted by a Chinese officer who checked our passports (at least there was a flag there!). Al asked if he could come in, even though he is British, to which the office just laughed at him and said no.
Once Mike and Caitlin were done, we went to the Chimelong Paradise Amusement Park. There were six big roller coasters and many other smaller rides. We paid an extra 100 kuai (about $15) so that we could be VIPs and cut to the front of the rides. That was totally worth it, especially since the wait times for the rides was about 90 minutes in the heat and humidity.
Al and Caitlin had to leave early but Mike and I stayed and rode a few more rides. Since our VIP bracelets only let us cut once per ride, we waited in line for to ride the Dive Coaster again.
Generally, I would say that Chinese people are not good at waiting in lines. They are constantly cutting and pushing. I’m told by my Chinese friends that this is because there are so many people in China and this is the only way to get things done efficiently. Even waiting for the metro or bus, there are signs that say “先下后上” which means “first get off (the bus/metro) then get on. It makes no sense to try to push your way onto the metro before the hoards of people get off… but it still happens. Frequently. I find that when I am getting off, I try to broaden my shoulders and I walk with my elbows out, ready to knock anyone out of the way.
Anyway, so Mike and I were waiting in line for this ride in the sweltering heat for the estimated 90 minutes. A man pushed his way through the line and got about 30 people in front of Mike and I. Boo, I hate it when people cut and get away with it.
Then about 10 minutes later, a group of five girls try to weasel their way past us. But aha! We prepared for this line cutting and successfully stopped them from sneaking past us. These girls wouldn’t give up on trying to cut past us, so in Chinese, I said “we are all waiting in line. How do you not understand this?! Look, they’re waiting in line (pointing behind them) and we must also wait in line”. The girls said nothing in response.
Then as we were rounding a turn, the girls simply hopped over the fence so they could be with the man who had already cut in line. Then, I was absolutely furious, and I yelled at them, saying that they were rude, they’re not civilized, and again repeating what I had said earlier. Surprisingly (or not), nobody else said anything or seemed perturbed in the least. *SIGH*
Since I didn’t want to lose my camera, I didn’t bring my camera around with us, and instead kept it in a locker. Here are some pictures from our Guangzhou day: