Ni Hao (Hi)
Well if you hadn't already guessed I am in China!!! I have been here for about 11 days now.
I'm not sure if anyone is still reading this but I will write anyway!!!
China is not very touristy (my spelling has got pretty bad-think its about time I came home!!!) as it has only been open to visitors for about 20 years (and only for the generally public for about 10) and this can been seen as not many people here speak English unlike in Thailand. You also get stared at alot in the streetand people ask to have their photo taken with u as many people have never seen western people before!! Me and a few of the girls get most of the attention as we have lighter hair and eyes!!
The temperature here has been so changeable, from 9 degrees in Beijing, then at the great wall it was warm and sunny (it had been snowing the day before and there were still traces of snow!) and then it was even warmer in Xi'an and now it Shanghai it is pretty nice.
Sorry this is going to be a long message!! It has been difficult for me to get to the internet so I will cover each place I have been to so far:
This is where I flew into and met up with my tour group. When I arrived it was a bit of a shock as it was about 9 degrees and I had been used to over 30! We all went out for dinner (Beijing duck) and I got laughed at for not being able to use chop sticks!! Which led to the girls buying me some large wooden tweezer type things as a joke!! (I have got slightly better now but I am no pro!!) There are 8 of us including the tour leader (Snow White-the English translation of her name!!), 2 other english girls, a german lady, an american guy and a guy and girl for Denmark. They are all great fun!
The second day we saw some sights including Tiananamen square, the gate of heavenly peace and the forbidden city and that night we went to see the acrobats. They were very good and very young!!
The next day I went to the silk market where people chase u trying to get u to buy stuff and shout come here pretty lady I have nice thing for u!!! (worse than Thailand) It was an experience!!
On day 4 we got a bus for the 4 hour drive to the great wall and climbed for about 4 hours (10km) on a remote part of the wall (other parts have been repaired and are full of tourists!!) It was amazing!! We finished the walk in an area called Simati and stayed in a really cute guesthouse overlooking the wall which only had water for an hour a day!! The following afternoon we drove back to Beijing to catch the 14 hour overnight train to Xi'an.
We arrived the morning of day 6 and after a well needed shower we headed out to explore the city, this included the muslim quarter which is full of markets and also the bell and drum towers.
That evening we headed out for some local food (more spicy than in Beijing and very nice!!) and then we headed to the Karaoke bar. (When in China do as the Chinese do), its so cool, they have a supermarket inside where u can buy cheap alcohol and then u get a room (less than a pound each for an hour) It was so funny!!!
Then a few of us went to a club where there was a stage and poles in the middle of the bar (so we gave it a go and I have bruises all over my arms!! oops) and we didn't get home until the early hours as the bar staff kept giving us free drinks!!
Got up early the next day and got the bus to see the Terracotta warriors and horses. They were discovered in 1974 (they are over 2000 years old) and so far over 7000 have been found.
That evening I got some much needed sleep and then the next day we wandered a bit more before getting the17 hour overnight train to Shanghai. The trains have 3 tier bunk beds with 6 beds to one compartment and on this train it was completly open so there were over 60 beds in one carriage-interesting! The time actually went quite quickly as we chatted and drunk and then tried to sleep!!
We arrived yesterday afternoon and after checking into the hotel we went to the main street for some food and wander.
Last night we went to the Hudong area and had dinner overlooking the Bund and skyscrapers and then we went for drinks at the top of one of the towers!!! It was expensive so I only had one drink but the view was well worth it!!
Today I have been taking it fairly easy, might go for a wander along the Bund after this.
We are going out tonight in a local cheap hip hop club which should be fun!!! Tomorrow we leave in the afternoon to get an 26 hour overnight train to Yangshuo where we will visit local villages on bikes and then to Longji where we have a day trak through the rice terraces and stay in a local village!! Then we get our last train to Hong Kong where I will spend about 3 days before flying home arriving back on 12th April.
That is assuming that I have my plane ticket home by then, STA (got to love them(!)) have once again messed up! My ticket home was supposed to be an e-ticket but they have contacted the tour company to tell them that my PAPER ticket is in Auckland and that they will send it to Hong Kong for me to pick up!!! So apparently the e-ticket that I have been carrying around for the last month is actually worthless!!! (Dad-I feel a letter coming on when I get back!!!) It is pretty lucky that I booked this tour through them aswell or they would have had no way of contacting me!!!
Ok well I think that is everything, sorry for going on for so long!! Sorry if I bored u!! Will be even more when I get back in a few weeks and get out the 800 picures that I have taken so far!!
This will probably be the last time that I write because after this I will be in some villages in south china but I will see u all soon enough and then u will be sick of the sight of me soon enough!!!
See you really soon,
Love B xx