Finally managed to leave Shanghai after a few more rounds of backpacker but no rounds of beer, due to the alcohol consumption of the night before! Hopped on a train to a place called Nanjing- a mere three hours so a doddle. Jon a little disappointed that the scenery was not quite as amazing as our previous train journey but he managed to amuse himself nonetheless. Had booked ouselves into the Sunflower hostel that got rave reviews! A little trouble was had in finding the place but we were rescued by Hanfa (or a name similar to that!) who wanted to practice his English so very kindly escorted us to our ho9stel. (He had to stop and ask for directions three times!) Incidentaly I gave him Jon's e-mail address and he has already received one. The hostel was basic- we were staying in a four bed dorm- all the beds were in a row and reminded me of the orphanage in Annie! Needless to say that squatting toilets were present!
I will defend the hostel at this point by telling you that it was right next door to the Confucious Temple, an area that was lit up like Las Vegas and had some wonderful souvenir shops. (We bought ourselves our first souvenir and it's not for anyone else!) Had some good noodles and fried dumplings (just as bad, if not worse than steamed ones) and went off to our orphanage to sleep.
The next day we headed for Purple Mountain - The resting place of Dr. Sun Yat-sen (apparently the founding father of the Republic of China， and not to be confused with the 'peoples republic of china, which is Mao - confused?!) Anyway. after being on the bus for some time and unsure to our actual location, we got off (yes, it was a tiff - Victoria we do have them!). We then walked for 20mins to the Mauseleum - it was 8pounds to get in - a rip off! So we decided we would walk the mountain instead - problem was you had to go through the 'Mauseleum scenic area', so instead we walked to another scenic area where it was half that price, being diverted on our way from a road closed to traffic to which I said "you can't go anywhere in China for free" - she gave me a blank look. It also turns out we were there for the first day of the plum blossom festival - the plum blossom was beautiful! The park was amazing and we wandered aimlessly for hours - never actually going to the top of the mountain (another 'scenic spot' that would have undoubtedly cost more money. I know I sound like i'm whinging so I am just going to say it was really beautiful and worth the money! The evening was much more English - kung pao chicken (now officially English and not Chinese, as I eat so much of it) and watched Hancock - with popcorn! - if you haven't seen it I recommend it!
Yesterday, we flew to Guilin, another small airplane with a different airline (Shenzen airline - a place near HK I think!). Barnes was less scared as she was engrossed in a trashy Jackie Collins-esque 'novel' pinched from the hostel. We took off on time - the rice was better (although now we have learnt to avoid airplane noddles) - and we got a free polo! Stayed in Guilin for the night and today headed to Yangshuo - see the next blog!