Friday 18th September
Up at 7am, bags sorted and out the door as quickly as we could. Bought some lunch boxes and snacks in the local shop - nice and cheap and we were on our way.
Stumbled across a coffee shop called Canterbury Tea - how ironic.
Only a couple of trains before arriving at the Ferry terminal area. Could not for the life of us find the free shuttle bus, so we went for the exercise option of walking with our back packs - never my favourite choice, but it was only about a 20-30min walk and I feel like I am getting quite used to walking with it now, I will be miss muscles before you know it.
Was really strange entering the ferry terminal, everyone just stared at us walking in and a guy approached us with what looked like a marker pen, I thought he was going to mark us up before getting on. As it happened it was a device to check if we had high temperatures, for swine flu etc. Luckily we were perfectly healthy. 10mins later and we were all signed in and just had to wait in the lounge area for about 20mins before we could get onto the ferry.
Got on the Ferry about 11am, was shown to our room straight away, are sharing with a really nice couple from Switzerland. Chatted to them for a bit, worked out who would look after the one key that the staff so kindly offered us, for some reason they couldn't give us a key per couple, but it's not like we could go too far on a ferry. Time to wander around and see what there was.
Managed to peek into one of the lush rooms on the top floor, looked nice with its, large seating area, large bed, shower room etc. Our bunkbeds and cushioned seating area with TV is perfectly comfortable though，so we didn't care.
Went out on deck for a bit while we were leaving, was a little chilly but not too bad, took some pics of us leaving the port area and some of the surrounding greenery, then went in to munch on one of the lunch boxes that we brought with us. Found a group of people that were already in mid conversation and started to chat to them about where they had been etc. Most of them had started in Japan like us and were covering most of the areas that we are going to do. Scott and Cheyne were from Oz, Richard from UK, Jas from UK, Cliffe from New York, David from Switzerland, Joe from America and Kevin from China, plus a few others which I didn't get the names of. Great bunch of people. A table tennis table appeared in the main entrance of the ferry - WICKED we could not help ourselves, although Ad absolutely thrashed me, but I did manage to almost get the ball trapped in some decorations, which was quite difficult to do, so I was very proud of myself.
We managed to get some fab shots of the sunsetting while the others were all having dinner. Such a beautiful sight, was gorgeous being out on deck and seeing such a perfect scene, with the odd few boats drifting past, with the sun going down behind them, absolutely gorgeous.
Night was drawing in fast and it was great not having to worry about tubes, buses etc, we could just enjoy a beer or two or three out on deck with the rest of the crowd. We must have got through just about every convo you can think of between us all. It was sooooo cool, we were out there in the dark for ages, it was surprisingly warm, warmer than the room in fact because of the air con. Ventured inside later though as it started to get chilly, but were drinking well into the night and only decided to call it a night when the drinks machine was almost all out of beer. I guess the crew was not warned about how us Brits can drink. Rather tipsy we headed to bed.
Saturday 19th September
Managed to make breakfast at about 8am, was the strangest combination I have ever had - a bowl of what looked like rice pudding, but was cold and tasted like rice soaked before cooking it, kinda weired. The two rolls with a boiled egg were nice, tea was ok, but was not sure about the slice of random tomatoe and Pinapple, I guess it was just there to satisfy everybody's wants. It was perfectly nice for what we needed. Decided to go back to bed for a bit because we could, we didn't need to do anything, so we took full advantage of being lazy.
Was in bed till the lunch bell rang - I know what you are thinking, but who cares, it's nice to be lazy bums for a bit te he. Washing machines were free on the Ferry, so as we had plenty of time on our hands, we decided to take full advantage and get some washing done. Ad decided to go and use the onboard onsen, it sounded amazing, sitting in a hot bath whilst looking out over the ocean, I was tempted to go but had already washed and was settled watching Bridget Jone's Diary.
Spent a good chunk of the afternoon, out on deck in the sunshine, which happened to be really quite hot, reading up on places in China. We had done a little research at home, but not that much, so this gave us the time we needed to get down to the nitty gritty of places to visit and any other towns that we may have overlooked.
Must be the day for breaking things. My sunglasses had already lost one arm a few days ago, but I was still able to use them, however today I dropped them again and the other arm fell off - NO MORE SUNGLASSES, good job they were cheap. Then my flip flops broke, to be honest they were quite old anyway, but still very useful. I see a shopping trip approaching in the not too distant future. Things normally come in 3's, but nothing as of yet, so keeping my fingers crossed that nothing else breaks.
mmmmmmmmmm Dinner time - I had fish and noodles and Ad had some sweet and sour dish, were ok, but not the best we have tasted so far. Sat with some of the group whilst eating, going over places we would like to visit. Shortly after we all went out on deck to enjoy the sunset but unfortunately it was not as good as yesterday's, but they seemed happy enough with this. Back inside to chill. Ad and Richard played a bit of table tennis, while I went up and sat with others and wrote in my diary. Transformers was on TV in the back ground, most people sitting around watching it.
Ad and Rich came back looking rather sheepish, we was not sure what was wrong, then they said that one of them, I think it was Rich wacked the ball so hard and it flew over the recetion desk and clocked the guy in the head, Rich ducked and the guy automatically looked at Ad, sounded quite amusing, they did apologise through their smerks te he.
All chilled out for a while until we heard the Kareoke starting up and couldn't help but go and see what was going on. Cliffe and a couple of the Chinese guys were the only ones to have the courage to get up and rock the boat, but we all joined in, in the back ground. Then Cheyne got up and sang with Cliffe, they did a very cool version of Love Shack. I was on the edge of my chair, as I always am at Kareokes, but before I even had chance to build up enough courage, it closed for the night. I was secretly grateful, I would have emptied the bar anyway. I have to say Cliffe's version of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody was def interesting, but I give him all respect for doing it.
After we chilled in the sofa's and Kevin kindly gave us all a chinese lesson, where I noted down all what he was saying the way they should be pronounced, so they are def not spelt correctly, but hopefully will help us remember them. It was really interesting to learn and everybody generally took an interest and joined in, poor Kevin should have asked to be paid at the end. To be honest he seemed to enjoy it and like the fact that we were all paying so much attention, the beer may of helped though. A very difficult language. After about an hour of this, it was def time for bed.
Sunday 20th September
Up in time for brekky, which was a bit nicer today, instead of the horrid rice bowl, we had one of their traditional dumplings with meat inside, actually really tasty and the bread roll again with egg and some peach, all very tasty. Packed our bags and met everyone in the lobby area ready to leave the ferry. Our group were all summond to the deck for some pic's with Shanghai tower over us in the background, such great views. Cliffe got us all to do a silly dance while he filmed us, was hilarious, I managed to get a pic as well, it was too funny. We also managed to get our mascot in a pic, not only with us but also with Richards mascot, great fun. Shanghai buildings were amazing, it looks like a lot of fun, we were looking forward to getting let loose and exploring it.