After settling into our hostel in Shanghai, the boys and I arranged to meet up with Michelle Allen, a Canadian whom we had met in Bangkok, and has been living in Shanghai for a few months now.
She took us to the Ewe Gardens, a very picturesque and tudor-like setting in the Bund, an area of the city. After a few hours with her here, we sorted ourselves out and returned to our hostel. Meeting some new Americans at the hostel, they seemed keen for a night out, and having not done so yet in Shanghai, we thought that one was in order...purely to gain a better knowledge of the city...or something. Well...the group was seperated and we ended up not finding anywhere much to go....and getting home at about 2am...brilliant!
Meeting up with Michelle again a couple of nights later on was good fun, and we were going to watch some of the Euro 2008, but it kicked off at 2:45am...so we didn't bother!
Despite there not being many touristy things to do in Shanghai, we kept ourselves busy by meeting new people and spending time with people we already knew.
In this spirit we spent one afternoon with Catherine Turner, who Matt knew from home, and 2 of her friends. Catherine has been living in China for 3 years, and so after climbing the Jin Mao tower (340metres tall), we enjoyed an afternoon and evening in the company of people who can communicate accurately with locals...invaluable!
As the time and money was running out on our trip, the activities dried up too. for the last couple of days in Shanghai we lived cheaply, not treating ourselves to much, and just relaxing. We did find time however to check out the skyline at night, which was utterly beathtaking. Pictures do not do it justice.
On Saturday 21st June we moved down to Hong Kong, on a 19hour sleeper train, which was pretty easy and uneventful.
We quickly moved down to Kowloon, a district of Hong Kong. On Nathan Road is a building known as the Chung King Mansions. These are considered by some travellers as a badge of honour, and others as a big mistake. This reputation has been established because of the building's dilapedated feel, smeared blood on the walls, regular police drug raids, frequent rip-offs and generally dreadful conditions. So naturally we thought there wouldn't be a more appropriate way to finish the trip!
It is enough to say that the building lived up to its reputation. After bumping into the Americans we had met in Shanghai and having a few drinks, we headed over to Hong Kong Island to check out the skyline from the peak at night. This was a bit of a failure and we ended up just giving up.
On Monday 23rd June, Matt, Ian and I thought it would be a fitting end to the trip to visit the Ocean Park, which is Hong Kong's main theme park. This was great fun, having a couple of roller coasters and some other exciting rides to fill a generally enjoyable day, as well as seeing some giant pandas there too.
Finally I arrive at today, and after 5 months of travel, exploration, discovery, excitement and thrill seeking, I have checked out of my final hostel, have one final afternoon to complete, then one last use of foerign public transport, the last supper and the 9th flight of the year. Wow, that is very strange to consider at the moment.
Let's see what can happen between now and home.