Newsflash: The Chinese police have indeed confirmed their sighting of backpacking badger; she was detained for several hours before being released without charge. She is now at large and roaming the country although we are receiving reports that she is still complaining about the weather...
Ok, so I like signs. Especially ones with terrible English. 'Chinglish' is, so far, one of my favourite embodiments of appalling use of the English language. Here's the list:
- Akin to falling, be care, mountain is steep. (on a trail leading up to the top of a mountain)
- Together we can make Guilin a heating place (on a sign advertising property in the city of Guilin)
- Motorcycle the repair shop town best (it's a shop sign - unbelievably)
- Don't forget to carry your thing (on the train)
- I like your smile, but unlike you put your shoes on my face (this took me a while to figure out - but actually means 'keep off the grass'...)
Arriving in Hong Kong was bliss, it was an oasis of unabashed capitalism and consumerism and Western-style luxury amidst the sea of dirt and 'grittiness' I had so far experienced. And there was a Marks and Spencer there (hurrah!) so I stocked up on a few essentials, including more than a few packets of Percy Pigs...
Before arriving in Hong Kong, however, I had to endure a fairly terrifying experience where I was detained by Chinese immigration for a few hours while they scrutinised my non-existant Chinese visa and I helplessly realised that my brand new Berlitz 'Mandarin Phrasebook' was not going to help me one little bit... It's a long story, but the moral is: Never, ever - even if your life depends on it - fly with China Eastern Airlines.
China is a pretty fascinating place - in the cities it feels like the western world, with neon skycrapers everywhere, packed-out McDonalds and KFCs literally on every corner and incredibly chic Chinese women wearing the very latest trends - in the country it feels like time stopped somewhere in the '50s as little old women shepherd their herd of ducks along the dirt tracks and water-buffaloes happily roam the rice paddies for food... Speaking of food, I've also had some pretty horrifying market moments: So you're happily strolling through the local market, marvelling at the beautifully arranged multicoloured fruit and vegetables, soaking up the bustling atmosphere when you look up to see an unidentifiable piece of meat laid out right infront of you. Is it a bird? Is it a pig? No. It's a dog's jaw for sale - complete with gritted teeth. Yikes.
I'm making my way into Laos in the next few days where hopefully the weather will actually be warm and I won't see any dogs being skinned (yes - stumbled upon that one too) or eaten. Thanks for the messages guys, they're much appreciated. xxxx