Sunday: Frankfort, Monday: Frankfort/Dubai, Tuesday: Dubai, Wednesday: Dubai/Shanghai.
Thursday: Shanghai, Friday: Shanghai, sheshan, Jujiaojiao, Xitang, Saturday: Hangzhou!
This being just a reminder to myself of where I had gone to these last past days. Not even a week has passed and I already arrived at Hangzhou after a 220km biking trip in two days.
After having easily obtained my visa, not so easily stored my bike and even less easily got it on the plane, I safely arrived at Shanghai on Wednesday afternoon - and my bike did too. Because I didn't want to take it in the box all the way to my host's home and because I wanted to get to see something of Shanghai, save my money and of course make sure that my bike was ok, I decided to unwrap the box and put it together. Right away two interested Chinese surrounded me to take a look at it - and of course to give me a hand. Smiling and gesturing I tried to communicate and express my gratitude whereas I used but few words to do so and that proved to have been the right decision! On my way through Shanghai (two paniers plus the bike box) to the place I was supposed to stay, I made the wonderful experience that just nobody would understand me. Or if, I wouldn't understand them. Embaressed and discouraged I finally asked two young Chinese whether or not they spoke English and they did and helped me right away to get in touch with my most wonderful host Ling. She picked me up from the ferry dock and brought me back to her house. What I have seen, what I have felt, what I smelt - I was back to ASIA!
After a quick shower we met up for my first Chinese-Taiwanese dinner (which was excellent by the way) while discussing the first trip!
In order to get organised and everything prepared for it. Even though I left rather earlier the lovely place I have been sleeping at, I did not manage to be on time for the appointement with Harry who was willing to take me to the shops I needed to go to before getting started. Not that I would have got lost (of course I did) but it was rather the fact that I did not have a Chinese SIM yet so I could not have called him as the public phones don't work with coins - too bad for me and too bad for the Chinese I had to bother again with my bad Chinese. I finally figured out whom to ask and how to ask and therefore to meet up with Harry who proved to be a very friendly and well informed helper on this kind of issues. In a couple of minutes my bike was fixed, tubes bought as well as a Chinese SIM card. Ready to go - if there wouldn't have been the issue with the Traveller cheques. No way to get them exchanged here, they told me. I should go to Germany and get Euros for it. Well then, that would have been the purpose of my trip to China ;-) Convinced that this had been but a misunderstanding I met another Couch surfer who took me kindly to a bookstore and a very nice restaurant, run by a minority family thus having the right to have more than one kids, who made wonderful food (self and fresh made noodles - great)!
Knowing that I would still need to pack, organise my trip and catch up some sleep I returned immediatly although the trip took me more than an hour as I had been lost once more! Showering (I tought that would be one of my last for a while), packing, emailing, chatting, sleeping! READY TO GO!