Okay so i as requested i am finally updating again. However after reading this i'm sure you will see why there has been an absence of updates!
Not had the best 2 weeks since leaving Xi'an. I became ill on the overnight train to Chengdu and my fever hit 40 degrees. We checked into a 5 star hotel to, as the girls put it, 'cheer ourselves up'. Absolutely ridiculous i know but will claim it back on insurance. So for the next 2 days i was bedridden. The first afternoon they went to see the pandas which apparently were great. The next day we all went to hospital and i was put on a drip. The final day i insisted that they went to see the Giant Buddah, but i went back to the hospital for my last round of drips and blood tests etc.
The last evening in Chengdu i was fully rehydrated after all my I.V. Drips. It was Jess's birthday the next day but as we would be on a ferry i thought i'd surprise them on their return from the day trip to the buddah. I got her a birthday cake and lit all the candles when they knocked on the door. (I really am just such a nice person) I'd booked a booth at KTV. The Chinese kareoke bar chain so we went and sang their all night.
Next day we went to Chongqing and caught the ferry down the Yangtze river. The very was very very basic and we were in the lowest class. Whilst the ferry canteen wasn't exactly marcello's ham and olives with crusty white french bread from budgens, or mum's lasagna, or sathi takeaway or... well i'll just stop as i am clearly going on a slight tangent. ANYWAY! whilst the food wasn't great, the views were spectacular and we were on there for 2 nights. The sunsetting behind one of the great steep gorges on the Yangtze was absolutley spectacular.
From the end of the cruise we took an overnight train to Guilin. The morning in Guilin Millie's passport was stolen. They wanted us to go to police station after police station and fill out reports etc. But, with the memory of my 8 hour trip in Beijing to 5 different police stations still fresh in my mind, i was not in the mood to waste our only day in Guilin doing that. Guilin had been what i was most looking forward to and so we pressed on to the Li River. It didn't let us down. The beautiful Karst mountains rise up and are like icicles sticking up out of the ground everywhere. The whole place is constantly misty and it was just so beautiful. Definately a highlight for me so far having already seen the Great wall etc. It even managed to impressed a thoroughly pissed off Camilla!
Having taken a bamboo boat down the river passing fishermen with their cormorants we got off and headed back to Guilin by bus from where we took an overnight bus to Guangzhou and back to the apartment.
We arrived in Guangzhou last Friday and so the last week has been very uneventful. We have had to go from public security beaureu (no idea how that is spelt) to consulate office to police station getting form after form. After being sent to one place by the security beureu we then returned with the form, they then told us to go back there and get another one. When i asked why they couldnt have told us about both the forms the first time, they said we needed this first form to have access to that information.... It was just the most ridiculous process. Millie had to get an emergency passport, then a new visa for that passport so she could leave the country. We then went to Hong Kong to get a new passport and then another new visa. Applying for the visa today we found out it was a public holiday so we ran round hong kong finding someone who would do an express service call out on a public holiday in time for us to catch out train to Tibet tomorrow. I have been SO stressed for about a week knowing that we had to sort it all before saturday otherwise we would miss the train, having re arranged the tickets once to allow for all this passport stuff i wasn't allowed to change them again. So we would have wasted so much money AND been stuck in this damn apartment for another week before we could get the tickets again. Then pay for a whole new tour etc etc.However we are in the apartment and ready to get the train tomorrow! I don't know how but we did it all in time.
In other news; Mum you would be very happy that i have been speaking Chinese non stop. Trains, hospitals, hotels, visa people, police. I even had an hour long chat with a Chinese lawyer who was sharing our compartment on the train to Guilin. We weren't exactly commenting on the nuances of Chinese law, however it was definately a good conversation and bored the hell out of the girls! Jess has hurt her back falling over and has been in real pain getting around. Reminds me of Dad in that every 5 minutes everyone will jump as there is a sudden yelp of pain from her. However in her case it is real pain as oppose to fictional father. I went to hospital again in Hong Kong as my tonsillitus and fever had returned. To the extent that i was stopped at the Hong Kong boarder by the temperature reading people and they tried to make me turn round and go back to China! THe doctor said it was because in China they only prescribe you a 2 day course of anti biotics for some reason. So he has put me on a 10 day one and has said it will have all cleared up by then. Christine has given me everything now dad, it's a long story but will explain sometime. Just so you don't say something wrong! Travelling with 2 girls is starting to catch up with me and i am feeling the effects of being very much surrounded by oestrogen - in fact i'm expecting my first period any day now.... And in a weeks time there will be 3 of them!
Anyways, i hope that is a suitable update! Please update me with the families news via email! I will be out of contact for a week whilst on the train and travelling across Tibet. But when i arrive in Kathmandu i will read my emails.
Love to all the family
P.S. i keep trying to upload my own pictures to accompany the blog post, however it always says there is an error which is really annoying. However a picture has to accompany it so you're in store for another lovely one from their picture album! But ask Jake to see the pictures on my facebook i've uploaded a new album.
PPS Having now selected one from their album they actually have the Li River where i went, however my boat was a lot more authentic!