In other words … our family is visiting China currently!
We are currently in China visiting the family here. We have planned this trip for a long time and we especially wanted to ensure that it would be best possible for Nooa. So many new things for Nooa, first flight ever, first stay in the hotel and meeting many of the people first time.
Due to the quite large amount of luggages, we decided to take a bus to Helsinki airport since it is rather convient way to go there - after all, the bus goes from front of our house and ends up to the front of terminal with minimal transfers (we chose the one which had only one transfer, a quick one along the route to airport connection). Well, plans didn’t work out so well. We were approaching Tampere when bus driver was announcing that there is a tehnical problem with the bus and everyone needs to change buses in Tampere. My travel luck apparently also affects buses. The friendly bus drivers were helping us with the luggage and soon we were again on board a new bus on our way towards Helsinki aiport. And rest of the bus trip went smoothly. Nooa was happy to sleep in his basket and basically slept the whole trip.
We arrived to Helsinki airport and proceeded with our check-in, or basically just leaving our luggage and buggies to luggage drop-off desk. In the security check it looks like you are treated a bit differently when you are traveling with a baby, just my feeling but of course we were also occupying the whole belt with our stuff and it took a long time to pass the security since we were traveling with such a large amount of stuff which you need to take out from your carry-on luggage (all the computers, liquids, baby food and so on).
Nooa was excited to look around in the airport, lots of people and new things to see and hear. Most of the time he was awake and enjoying, he took a short nap in the lounge (first lounge visit for him :-) ) and it really looked good for our travel that he can take it very easy.
We got on board the airplane among the first ones and started to get settled down for our seats. We noted that there will be two other babies in the flight as well so there was naturally real possibility for the “chain reaction” when one baby decides to cry, other two will join.
The whole flight went rather smoothly since Nooa happily enjoyed his bassinet and slept most of the trip. The amazing part was that he didn’t participate too much the crying games other two babies were doing to each other and Nooa basically announced his dissatisfaction only when something was truly needing attention. Flight was uneventful and rather smooth.
We arrived to Beijing and managed to find all of our luggages and just when we were wondering where they would deliver the buggies, they were pushed in a cart to us. Just outside of customs we had our Hertz rental car agent waiting for us informing us that our rental car with a driver is waiting ready to transport us to our hotel. We did last minute reservation for this one when it became obvious that Beijing taxi wouldn’t cope with our amount of luggage and it was just easier to have a bigger car ready for us.
We arrived to Grand Hyatt Beijing and it was obvious that the weather is rather bad in Beijing. According to the weather forecast, it was getting a bit better but you weren’t seeing too much far away and the air smelled weird so all the news about smog were true. Oh well, we were any way going to stay in Beijing only for one night so it didn’t matter so much. In the hotel reception they delighted my attention to details by welcoming me back to the Grand Hyatt (I know it is something they get from their computers but it is a nice detail) but the real surprise was the next sentence: “We noted that you are traveling with your family today so we upgraded you to a bigger room to accommodate you better”. Okay, very suprised and very much welcomed gesture. And our eyes were really large when we saw the room, two bedrooms, living room, office work desk, kitchen and two bathrooms. We were going to have enough space for ourselves.
For the evening we had planned to visit one new hot topic for Beijing - new modernized style of Peking Duck. According to the reviews, really good service and surprisingly modernized version of the typical duck meal in Beijing. And it was definitely worth the visit, the food was extremely good and service was truly a example of it’s own.
Our next day plan was to fly from Beijing to Qingdao and once again we got really nice service at the airport. At the check-in we had to walk around a bit since we were actually directed to the special service desk since we were traveling with an infant but when we found it, everything started to move smoothly. We got to keep our buggies until the gate which was a nice surprise and helped naturally our way inside the airport. At the security check we were directed to the special line and it was good call since once again it took some extra time to pass. A quick visit to the lounge and then to our gate where we once again boarded among the first ones after leaving our buggies behind.
After the smooth flight to Qingdao, we arrived and collected all of our luggages and proceeded to meet Da Jie who was already waiting for us with the car. We managed to load all of our stuff to the car and started our drive towards Jiaonan area. Just recently they combined some of the surrounding areas and nowadays Jiaonan is officially part of Qingdao so the naming topic is a hot topic for the area and people living here. Along our route, we passed the longest bridge over water, Jiaozhou Bay Bridge which was now open and fully in use (last time we were in Qingdao area, it was still under finishing and not opened).
We arrived to our hotel, this time we had chosen the new less than one month open first Western hotel in Jiaonan, Four Points by Sheraton because we wanted to see how it is. I remember when they started to build it and we saw the first signs promoting the hotel and we decided to stay there one day. And now it was that time. The hotel opened in 18th of December, 2012 and we were really happy to see such a new hotel and experience how this type hotel arrives to Jiaonan. In the previous trips we have stayed in the Detai hotel since there wasn’t exactly any other choice but now the situation has changed and it also shows how the area is getting development because also some other new hotels are currently being built nearby.
We entered the hotel and there was a services manager waiting in the lobby for us. Immediately after we got inside, he approached us and introduced himself. Quite a first impression, being addressed by name by a manager, something typically happening in more expensive hotels only. All the paperwork was done and then we got the next news from services manager, we got upgraded to a nice room on the 18th floor. We got into our room, very nice seaview from our room and really large room with very nice decoration and modern style layout.
So far, the hotel has been really magnificient. Different managers come to greet me which of course makes me really happy and Fangfang thinks it is funny how I like the attention. Everyone also likes Nooa and comes to see him when we are walking inside the hotel. I really hope the hotel can keep this kind of friendliness and service also in the future. How hotel is now presenting itself, it is definitely the place to stay when in this area. Excellent hotel and located in really nice location, especially in summer time it is going to be really good to see the ocean and the beach right next to the hotel.
So, here we are in China and everything is going really smoothly. Nooa is happy just like any time at home and enjoying his time in China. I think he is understanding that this isn’t home but he is curious about the surroundings and really happy to have all the different people to play with him.