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Changsha 10/04/11 - 11/04/11

10/04/11 – Arrive Changsha

Johnson’s cousin met us at the train station with his car. Instead of driving us to the hostel we had booked he drove us to a fancy hotel and booked us in for free because of his business contacts. At first I thought I wanted to get to a hostel to meet people but after entering the hotel I realised that I could survive there for a few days .

We got checked in and had breakfast, then we headed out to Yuelu Mountain (岳廬山). We walked up the 300m mountain and got a cable car back down. Later we were picked up by Johnson’s cousin, wife and daughter and taken to a big restaurant where all the food is cooked on an fire. It was nice food and a good experience even though I understood nothing being said.

After food I was dropped back at the hotel to wander alone while Johnson went to meet more of his family. I walked in a straight line for about 30 minutes and then turned right and walked another 30 (any more turns and I would have been lost forever). During this time I looked in a few shops, tasted some tea in a shop and saw some people playing badminton down a dark alley. When I got to the end of the road I was walking down I discovered a park with lots of people dancing in the dark and some people doing Tai Chi, a very different seen to a Sunday night in Droylsden…

11/04/11 – Changsha (Hunan Botanical Garden)

We set off for a botanical garden in the morning after breakfast on the bus for about an hour. After getting of the bus we were definitely in the dodgy part of town. We paid Y40 to get into the gardens (apparently so expensive because of an expo that was taking place) and wandered around for a few hours looking cherry blossom trees and lakes. My favourite part was the bamboo forest someone had carved into one of them “love inside” or similar, probably one of the many couples getting married there that day.

We left the gardens through the back exit and walked along a main road looking for the bus stop, this really was the dodgy part of town!!, chickens wandered the streets picking at what waste was edible. We finally made it to a crossroads and while we waited for the bus observed a police officer/security guard giving an old lady vendor some major shit for doing business outside a bank. Shortly after, we observed the man walking away after the old women started waving a meat cleaver in his face. We got the bus back to the centre and had some noodle soup in a local restaurant. Just before we got our food I visited the toilet to find I would be sharing the space with a guy having a big shit, it was less than hygienic or pleasant smelling.

After lunch we went to a traditional tea house located in a pagoda overlooking the lake, we drank some green tea and I played a Gojin, I actually think I am better at playing this after two minutes than the guitar for a few years. After this we made our way back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.

Again we had dinner with Johnsons family but more this time. There was the cousin and wife from the night before, his other cousin with her husband and their daughter. Lastly, another cousin who I’m sure said his name was John Wayne. We ate lots of stuff, one thing looked like black pudding but smelt worse than any other food in existence and it was SPICY.

After dinner we left the family and went to a spa for a head massage. It lasted for 40 minutes and cost Y40, it consisted of a head massage, a shampoo, a conditioner, another head massage and then a top body massage. The staff found it very funny when I started to jump about laughing when she massaged around my arms. We then spent the last part of the night drinking at the side of the road in a make shift bar.

Posted by sharpting 10:44 Archived in China Tagged changsha

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