A Travellerspoint blog

China

Chinese Crackers

sunny 6 °C
View World Wide Wander on millfred's travel map.

No. of 7/11 convenience stores per sq km in China = 7
No. of street escalators used in Hong Kong = 25 (including the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world)
Size of box room in Hong Kong = 1.5m x 2.5m
No. of street gyms where pauline failed to complete the monkey bars = 5
No. of dumplings consumed by Richard on Chinese NYE = 35

We are a bit late with this blog, sorry. We are now in Bangkok but realise we haven't given you a China round up yet so here it is...

Xingping, wowsa (Pauline's word) what a lovely place, found almost completely by accident. Beautiful mountains adorn each side of the equally breathtaking Li River, ( I know enough lonely planet bumff!).
Xingping - gnipgniX

Xingping - gnipgniX

This place is really special though and we were genuinly sad to leave. 'This Old Place' hostel was the best we've stayed in yet and the staff there we so welcoming we really felt like we were spending Chinese New Year with an adoptive family as we were taught to make Chinese Dumplings and drank very strong cocktails.Concentration face!

Concentration face!

The town has two main streets and at midnight on 2nd Jan, every house, shop and restaurant set off a barage of firecrackers and fireworks. The noise was incredible. A few mini heart attacks for Pauline as there was no break from the fire crackers, bu her bravery was rewarded with a turn on the kids fireworks. The local kids had no fear with their handheld fireworks. (Basically a thin loo roll tube that you light and it shoots out about 10 in a row!). Perfectly safe if you haven't been drinking any of the cocktails!

Bit of a struggle to get from Guilin to Hong Kong in the end. Won't bore you with the details (2 buses, 1 sleeper train, 2 metro's) but we managed it and it was worth it. Hong Kong was really cool. Very multicultural and provided us the chance to reignite our Indian food passion. Only 2 days there but an early start meant we had enough time to get 'The Peak Tram' and see what was on offer in this very modern city. On our first night there we stumbled upon what turned out to be the most amazing fireworks display we've ever seen. (Mam, if Lynn Duffy ever gets wind of this, tell her its a lie and their back garden displays were unbeatable!). Not sure if its on YouTube but if it is, watch it. Unbelievable, must have cost millions and Hong Kong's biggest ever. HK did however continue the Chinese pattern of being pricey so we had to limit Richard's snacking tendancies.

Not once in India were we tempted by MacDonalds', so much delicious, cheap food on offer. Three weeks in China was enough to allow our feet to wander through the dreaded golden arches. To be honest though, it was the novelty of the Prawn Burger that drew us in (pauline that is, as if Richard needed any persuading). In any case the vegetarian card was out of the window after one week in China when Pauline tucked in to a KFC.
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Only KFC prawns this time though!
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And yes, Richard really did eat TWO scorpions on the night market in Beijing.
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Posted by millfred 12:29 Archived in China Comments (1)

Travellers stare kitsch horror bus in the face

rain 3 °C
View World Wide Wander on millfred's travel map.

No. of street sweepers per square kilometre: 10 - communism and all that
No. of days snow: 3
Hours spent queueing at train station not to get a ticket: 5
Current pool score: Richard - 13 Pauline - 7
Number of tantrums during pool: Pauline 13 Richard 0
Speed of the Shanghai to Beijing sleeper train: 243 km/h

A quick update from Guilin (home of the HSBC adverts showing the fishermen collaborating with the cormorants). Its nice to finally see some Chinese countryside although the food is still a minefield, for Pauline at least! Who knew Tofu would be served with minced beef sauce (and the menu was in English with no word of a cow!). We flew from Beijing to Guangzhou since there was no other form of transport not fully booked and after a few enjoyable days there took a sleeper bus here which was interesting. Unlike India where the worry is cockroaches and the cold, we suffered from death by Chinese (anti-American) movies and variety shows played throughout the night and the sweltering heat from the air-con not because it was actually hot! Add to that the dolls house-esque furnishing with beds sized for far-eastern proportions and the sealife scene glass flooring meant it was a strange, sleep deprived experience.

Anyway we're here now and it gave us something to blog about! Onto Yangshuo tomorrow (supposedly more picturesque) and then to Hong Kong where we've managed to book the last two beds in town, albeit in a shared dorm with shared squat toilet (good exercise for the quads!).

Struggling to upload videos and photos at the moment or even get on the net sometimes so please be patient, there's lots to share from the last few weeks.

One final thought, in one of the nicest hostels we've stayed in a rat has just ran over my feet! The staff just said: 'Don't scare him he's our pet!'

Posted by millfred 22:00 Archived in China Comments (7)

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 Comments (0)

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