This is my experience in Beijing, China in the Summer of 2009.
If you came to this webpage first, it's better if you
start from the beginning of the story.
Friday, July 17
I was looking forward to the sights at Jiuzhaigou but someone should have mentioned
the elevation of this place! It seems all the websites describing Jiuzhaigou showed
only the pretty pictures and didn't bother to mention you might get
altitude sickness. Even the tour operator didn't mention this to me when I booked this trip.
If I had known this I might have had second thoughts about
coming here. The elevation here is varies from 10,000 feet above sea level.
The Jiuzhaigou airport itself is a little above 11,300 feet!
We Arrive at Jiuzhaigou
I think I was more susceptible to the high elevation because
I very recently had an ear infection
that was further aggravated because I was in Lake Tahoe at the time. The elevation there was
7,000 feet. I suspect my sense of balance is still recovering from that.
So that's probably why I became dizzy when I arrived at Jiuzhaigou.
And, of course, the twisty-turning bus rides didn't help either.
On the other hand, I probably would have came here anyway. :)
On the flight from Xi`an to Juizhaigou. I set my iPod alarm
for 5am. I actually didn`t sleep deeply but it was relaxing
just to lie still in bed. Anyway, I got ready, packed my
checkin luggage and put them out in the hallway for pickup.
Then I spent a few minutes watching TV because breakfast
wouldn`t be ready until 6am. Around 5:45am, I went downstairs
to checkout. I needed to pay my Internet fees (160RMB for
4 days). A number of people in my tour group were
already lounging in the hotel lobby. Grabbed a fast breakfast
and then we took the tour bus to the Xi`an airport. Tipped our local
tour guide, Rose, and suggested she shorten her
presentations in each scenic spot.
The airport procedure is the same. We gave our passports
to Steve, our national tour guide, to get our air tickets.
Then we went through the x-ray machine. I didn`t have
to take my laptop computer out or take my liquids out (like in the USA) which
was nice but, the metal detector was cranked way up.
They got me for my compass(!) Then they had a problem
with my wallet and wanted to put it through the x-ray
machine again. I was apprehensive about that.
The flight from Xi`an to Jiuzhaigou lasts an hour. Half an
hour into the flight, my ears are popping!
Landed at Jiuzhaigou. It`s raining lightly but not very cold.
The air is thinner. The elevation is 11,000 feet.
My breathing was harder but it wasn`t too bad.
We went to a nearby restaurant and had an early lunch.
I wasn`t too hungry so I went to a little shop next door
and bought 2 pashmina/silk scarves, a wall hanging with
the Chinese characters for Jiuzhaigou on it.
We`re going to our hotel next. It`s a 2 hour ride. Blah.
Finally got to the Gesang Hotel Jiuzhaigou Sichuan. I have a massive sinus headache
from the ride down. The road down was twisting and
turning a LOT! It really did a number to my head.
I thought this was strange. About an hour and a half
into the ride, we stopped at this deserted hotel
to take pictures!? Huh? What the hell for?
There was nothing here worthy for stopping.
I did use this opportunity to make a restroom break
When we got to the hotel, we found our rooms weren`t
ready. It seems they were not expecting us.
The bellboys were very late coming to help us
with our luggage. It seems the hotel was also
conserving energy because almost all the lobby lights
In my hotel room. They have limited hours for hot water!
The bed mattress is very hard like a block of wood.
And the mattress is very low to the ground. If you try to sit
on it, it's like a child's chair.
No internet in the
room (business center only). This is supposed to be
a 4 STAR hotel too! Maybe for Jiuzhaigou...
In the USA, this would be more like a 1 STAR hotel.
I unpacked a little and am going to take a nap.
I stll have a headache from that bus ride. It`s getting
better though. Dinner is at 6pm.
I just noticed they have "musak" coming out of speakers
along the hallway. That`s going to be very annoying
if it continues all night.
I called the front desk but no one there speaks fluent
English. Although I speak a little Mandarin,
I couldn`t figure out how say, "Turn the music OFF".
The lady on the phone just kept saying "wait a moment".
I called the hotel`s assistant manager but got the same
lady at the front desk. She finally sent someone to my
room. I managed to make myself understandable to
this person. At first he said the music couldn`t be
turned OFF (yeah, right). Then he said he`ll see what
he can do.
Ten minutes later, the "musak" was turned off.
There`s no room safe either. What do we do with our laptops?
(I found out later the hotel has safe deposit boxes for their guests.)
Got up from my nap and still had this headache!
Left my room for dinner at 5:45pm.
Saw Roy, another guy in my tour group, in the hallway.
Then I realized I left my room key in the power slot in the room!
And Roy's room key doesn't work either! I also wanted to check out
the business center of the hotel since it's the only place with
Roy and I went down to the front desk and we were lucky to see our
tour guides there. They helped us get new room keys! Then I saw the
business center. They open 24 hours and Internet access was cheap.
It's 1 RMB per hour!
Anyway, we went to get something to eat and Roy offered to give me
some motrin for my headache and a sleep tablet for tonight.
After dinner, Roy and I went back to his room and he gave me some motrin pills
and 1 sleeping pill. Then we went to my room and I showed him the Pashmina
scarves. He liked them and took a few pictures to show his wife.
I grabbed my laptop and headed down to the business center.
I wanted to check for support calls. And Roy wanted to call his wife
using Skype and email her the pictures he took. Well, I guess you get
what you pay for because the Internet upload/download speeds for this hotel
is like dialup access! I'm talking 7kb/s speeds. It took so long to upload
ONE of Roy's pictures in his hotmail email message, that we gave up.
Also, calling via Skype to Canada wasn't happening either. We kept getting
"internal error" messages. This was disappointing to me but it's the first
time I've used the Internet service here at this hotel.
Logging into my ISP's shell took a long time. And typing, forget it.
The characters took forever to echo back!