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Shanghai stick - Beijing bust

sunny -1 °C

We've been in China almost exactly a week and shared our time so far between Shanghai and Beijing. Both very modern cities and we are enjoying everything China has to offer. We had an amazing host in Shanghai, thanks Lara! We were totally spoiled and very well taken care of. Now we are on our own in Beijing and we've already blown our budget. There is so much to see and do here. We might actually have to stay here as there are 230 million people trying to book train tickets this week so they can get home for Chinese New Year. Terrible planing on our part and its going to be a very long walk to Hong Kong. It will be great to see some of the celebrations though when it all kicks off.

So what did we see & do in Shanghai? We had a fair few more beers than we'd been used to in India so the sightseeing wasn't quite as active as it had been. Our posh city centre pad was a very useful base and we enjoyed strolling around the French Concession, evening views along The Bund and some much needed cheap shopping to layer up for the cold weather here. We gatecrashed the drum & base scene there and were glad to find everyone really welcoming and not embarrassed by our not so hip outfits, we didn't pack for the night scene much.

Having spent 7 weeks in India suspecting regular rip offs we must have let our guard down in China. 24 hours in Shanghai and we fell whole heartedly for 'The Tea Scam'. Nearly a week ago now and i'm still furious. Apparently it's famous and our hosts felt bad that they'd forgotten to warn us. We returned from a successful shopping day with tales of our 'weird' experience which on closer inspection from our wise Shanghainese friends is a total scam. Hook, line and sinker. Luckily Richard's keen eye for our daily budget restricted their winnings from us but we still paid a fiver each on the worlds smallest cup of tea. We left the cosy tea house thinking we'd made some cute new friends - oh you fools!

As we have only seen big cities so far we can't believe how clean everywhere is. It's such a contrast to India and we are trying to get to grips with the culture and politics here.

Beijing is massive and very spread out. We are excited about heading out to The Great Wall tomorrow but can't decide whether to take the cheaper option and go to the touristy part or stump up to explore the more remote and less restored parts. Today Richard was in sports heaven when we visited the Birds' nest stadium and water cube from the 2008 Olympics. Yesterday was very cultural, Tian' an men Square and The Forbidden city. Interesting, but the guards had a very Russian feel so I was scared. We missed Mau's mausoleum though and Richard is quite intrigued so we may go back and stare at him for a while.

We've kept up with the beers here and our hostel is great for meeting people. After a few free drinks with the special buffet here we got chatting to some other guests. A young couple from Oz got a barrage of questions about Nieghbours but they seemed happy enough to humour me. Can't wait to get to Australia and go to actual Ramsey Street! I've go t a feeling the Kennedy's will be having a family meeting that day.

The food has been interesting. We ate like Western royalty in Shanghai but so far here its been a bit ropey. We are checking out a night market later and Richard is psyching himself up to try a scorpion.

So provided we find a way to get to Hong Kong for our flight to Bangkok, it's all good!

Posted by Po Gallon 18:25 Archived in China

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