A Travellerspoint blog


China final chapter...kind of

Very delayed entry for the end of our trip to China (if you don't include Hong Kong)

We leave Yangshou but not without a spot of Tai Chi in the local park which caused quite a bit of entertainment and amusement for the local Chinese population and drew a bit of a crowd.

Upon arrival in Shanghai we are promptly ushered onto charter bus for a one night stopover in Tongli – a small town of canals and little bridges, an oddly large number of comb shops and an old lady who sings to you whilst beating a wooden block.

We had the opportunity to visit an embroidery factory the third in a series of these visits to local craftsmen (enamelling & silk duvet making being the other two.) These are very thinly disguised shopping trips which the government has made compulsory for tour groups to visit. Each one has been met with my traditional cynicism and sarcasm and each time I have come away having been interested and impressed although we never bought anything.

Shanghai is under siege – it’s the 61st anniversary of the Cultural Revolution and the Chinese people have descended en masse on the city. It’s difficult to know why they are here – there are no events, fireworks, music or the like. The people seem to be milling about on the waterside with nothing to do. Dragon had been telling us that once we got to Shanghai we would support one child policy and for a few moments along Nanjing road we came pretty close.

We loved Shanghai – the skyscrapers over the river which 20 years ago would have been fields of water buffalo. The colonial architecture which might as well have been uprooted from the City of London and dropped in China, the French quarter with its bars and restaurants, it was all good and an excellent place to end our trip to China.


The Chinese people have been extremely friendly and welcoming – they still have a bizarre curiosity with westerners – hence the regular requests for them to have their photo taken with me. At the same time they will push and shove for everything (apparently a throwback to when food and goods were in short supply, you pushed or went without.) The phlegm collection and spitting we could have done without but we made the best of it, implementing a three tier grading system: volume of collection; velocity of expulsion and overall points for style. On the whole however the Chinese people have been excellent hosts.

It’s now time to say goodbye to our tour group – over three weeks we have come to know each other quite well, those who will complain endlessly, those who will always be in gift shop and those who will always do something stupid whether it is leaving bags in the hotel, restaurant or have their faces gouged by aggressive monkeys. It seems oddly quiet now they are gone and Niamh and I head out on our own to Hong Kong.

Posted by steve1000 05:38 Archived in China Tagged monkey shanghai tongli Comments (1)

China 1

Details of our first couple of weeks in China

sunny 30 °C
View World Tour on steve1000's travel map.

We’ve been in China for 2 weeks now and have, so far, travelled from Beijing to Yangshou on our Exodus tour under the expert guidance of our leader Dragon Long.

Places visited include: Beijing; Xi’an; Chengdu; Leshan; Emei; Chongquing & Yangshou. En route we have been to Tiananmen Square; The Forbidden City; The Great Wall; theTerracotta Warriors; the Three Gorges Dam and ship locks; seen several temples and giant Budhas. We have cycled the city walls of Xi’an, climbed the mountain peak of Emei Shan and visited the Panda reserve at Chengdu.

We have travelled by bus, express train, sleeper train and cruise ship. All of which have been of various quality from excellent to filthy to bone shatteringly bumpy.

China is, as the cliché goes, a country of contrasts. The old coexisting with the new, the Mercedes sharing the roads with tuc-tucs, rickshaws and bicycles. The friendly peaceful people who turn psychopathic the moment they get behind the wheel of a vehicle. The traditional Chinese architecture mixed in with the ugly high rise apartments which have sprung up without so much as a lick of paint or a nod to town planning and aesthetics.

Most things in China seem to be big and impressive – they do have plenty of man power. Some of what we have seen is reminiscent of a tired, old amusement park but others have been truly amazing. The Great Wall, the Terracotta Warriors, the Three Gorges Dam project are three such examples that span a time frame of thousands of years.

The food has been interesting – Dragon seems keen for us to “eat as locals do”. As such we have been served up frogs legs, snails, chicken feet & innards, pigs intestines, pigs tails. Fortunately this has been served along with slightly more palatable offerings which are surprising in their similarity to decent Chinese food back home. We have even attended cooking school and our own efforts are nearly as good as the real thing. There is no discernable difference between what is served at breakfast, lunch and dinner so we are a little chinesed out and find ourselves sneaking out for a McDonalds or Starbucks when Dragon isn’t watching. For anyone who wonders – we have seen dog hanging in the local market, and even the sign advertising the dog restaurant but we have not yet been offered or knowingly tried the meat and have no intention of doing so.

The unofficial tally so far is as follows:

• Loss of sunglasses x1
• Bouts of man flu x1 (which I have now given to everyone else in the group)
• Victim of scam x1 (net cost to Sniamh = 1 of your English pounds)
• Digestive issues x2
• Posing for photo with unknown Chinese citizens at their request x3
• Run in with Chinese mafia x1
• Making animal noises at waitress to indicate meat choice x 2 (chicken cluck & oink)

Next stop is Shanghai for a couple of days before we head off to Hong Kong.

Posted by steve1000 00:11 Archived in China Tagged food dog china Comments (2)

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