So, you step off the plane after a cramped over-night long-haul flight from Amsterdam, with an additional couple of hours wait at Schiphol Airport and before that a short flight from Edinburgh, and although your watch tells you it’s 9 am China time, your body clock simply doesn’t agree, and the weather is hot and clammy and you don’t feel particularly good.
And it’s just so nice not to have to figure out how to get into the centre of the city yourself, but instead be greeted by a sign saying “Roderick Alexander MacLeod” being held up by a lovely smiling Emily from CITS, as arranged by Sanya China Travel, your tour company.
Emily and her driver took us the 30km into town to the Hengsheng Peninsula International Hotel, which was the only hotel we stayed in during our trip which wasn’t excellent. The room was fine, and the location was perfect, but the fitness and pool centre was ‘closed for development’ (it didn’t look as if it had been open for some time, and no work was being done on it), there were hardly any other guests, there was no WiFi, and as we found out the next day, the breakfast was just awful.
I’ll eat most things, including Chinese breakfasts, and for example I’ve enjoyed elephant biltong and baked Kalahari grubs, but the breakfast at the Hengsheng was dreadful. We liked every other meal we had during our China trip, apart from one which was a bit too spicy and full of bones (and it was our own fault for choosing it), but the Hengsheng breakfast was by far the worst meal we had in China. Whoever prepared it simply couldn’t cook.
We later had a few meals on the train from Shanghai to Kunming, and although these cost only the equivalent of £2 and were not aimed at tourists they were far better than the Hengsheng breakfast. On my plate above is some dried up greasy bacon, some dried up salmon which I didn’t go near, a rubbery egg which was had possibly been cooked several hours previously, a dried-up mini-burger, and some pretty foul-tasting noodle stuff. The fruit (melon) was fine. The processed cheese in a plastic wrapper was standard processed cheese in a plastic wrapper, and not really what you’d select for breakfast. The bun was OK but the slice of bread must have been laying around for several days.
There was a choice of three weird selections of food, and you had to take one of the three – you couldn’t say, for example, ‘hold the salmon’.
The next day breakfast was just as bad, even though we chose a different selection. We also noticed that the few Chinese people staying at the hotel left most of their breakfast.
At the end of our trip we stayed in the Hengsheng again for one night before flying home, and by that time the breakfast dining room had been switched to the ground floor, and the breakfast was MUCH better. So maybe it was just a temporary thing.
The rest of the day went much better!