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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)

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