A Travellerspoint blog

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 Comments (0)

Shanghai 07/04/11 - 09/04/11

07/04/11 Arrive Shanghai

When I arrived in Shanghai I got the bus to yan’an Road which took about 2 hours and cost Y20. I got kicked off and had no idea which way I was heading, I didn’t help that I had printed a map showing the correct hostel but printed the name of the hostel and the directions to a hostel on the opposite side of town. Depending on if the person I asked could read or not, depending on which direction I was sent, needless to say after 2-3 hours, two taxi’s and one wrong hostel later I was happy to find the hostel I was supposed to have found after 15 minutes’ walk.

I’m staying the YHA Hikers which I just down the road from the bund so located well enough. I checked into my four bed dorm (Y40 per night) and met one of 3 girls sharing the dorm with me, she is called Linda and is from New York. We spent a while chatting and then a while sleeping before I got up to meet Johnson at 4pm (Johnson will be my travel partner in Hunan Province, I’m sure you will much of him later). After a brief chat I headed out to the bund for a little walk in the rain and around the surrounding streets. I may have mentioned this last time I posted about Shanghai but walking about the streets is my favourite part.

After my walk I came back to the hostel and met up with Linda again, we went out to eat. Linda, like Bill seems to be a lonely planet’er. We wandered around Shanghai on the metro for a while before finding the restaurant that Linda had recommended we go to, she had seen a list of the 50 best dishes in Shanghai and this was one of them. Linda bought a chocolate cupcake from a shop nearby and decided to eat it with chopsticks when her food didn’t turn up which was a bit odd, not as odd as the video of an aborted foetus she had seen and explained to me in detail while I was eating. We had a good laugh and early night as the jet leg was still taking its toll on me.

08/04/11 – Got up about 11am and started to walk. I have the worst sense of direction in the world and even though I had a little map I still managed to get lost about 2 minutes after leaving the hostel. I had a great day wandering about on my own, I got to ?? Road which seemed to have lots of people walking up and down, I got approach by 3 couples of girls altogether which I just fobbed off with a boo yow, the third set I let put the spiel on me as I’ve never had it done to me before. They started off asking about me and explaining they were students for about 10 minutes, they went into lots of details about 1 of their parent visiting and how excited they were, very committed performances. The inevitable “I am taking my friend to see the tea house show today”, I tried to make my excuses but they were having none of it. “would you like to join us, it will only be on for 20 minutes and then we can practice our English with you”. It was all very interesting but unfortunately for them I had no desire to be ripped off today.

I then wandered the back streets and eventually came across the old town (at least I think it was). In that time I saw mechanic trying to fix a scouter with a hammer, I saw the biggest toad’s I’ve ever seen (destined for someone’s plate). I had a walk about with a transvestite, I visited the Temple of God and a guy hit me repeatedly with a bunch of sticks (a taste of a massage and ironically not the most painful massage I’ve had in China). I also saw a government employed cleaner sweeping the street with a tree branch. After all the fun I managed to find my way back to the bund where I met Robert from New York, he’s family is from Shanghai so speaks fluent Chinese. We arrange to meet at the night which we did and proceeded to get drunk on beer costing between Y50-80 a drink!!

We were in a German bar walking down stairs when we were ni hao’d by two girls. Obviously they were after one thing and (not the thing we wanted to give them though), I had only that afternoon told the story of my first night in Beijing to Robert so was surprised when he fell straight into the trap and before long we were in a taxi and heading to the karaoke bar. Even after trying to warn Robert, he didn’t really seem bothered as he was on his expense account. Once in there, the beers and whiskey came out, also the fruit. The girls were getting us up singing and dancing, I could see Robert was loving it and decided to leave but not before clearing my conscience by passing him Y100 to cover my bill. I have just emailed him so will post back if he lets me know how much it cost him. Once leaving I went to McDonalds for some nuggets and the place was full of sleeping locals. I got back to the hostel to find Linda in bed and we chatted for a bit before bed.

09/04/11 – Leaving Shanghai
I woke up in the morning and checked out. Linda took me to breakfast a metro ride away. I chose the same drink as her which turned out to be full of ginseng and almost killed me, a pricy breakfast at Y100 but it sorted me out for the long journey ahead. We got a taxi back and met Johnson before spending the rest of the day on the train to Changsha.

Posted by sharpting 10:42 Archived in China Tagged shanghai Comments (0)

Hello again

It’s been over 2 years since I last made a post on here but I’ve decided to write once more as I’m once again travelling but this time alone, so it will be the laptop screen keeping me company rather than Bill.

As you’ve guessed from the title I am in China for the second time in my life. I have decided to visit for a month as there is a few bank holidays in England in the next 30 days which means I can take an extra long holiday without losing all my days holiday at work.

This is now the second day of my trip or third if you count the day it took to get here. I started out 2 days ago at 6am where I got a lift to the airport from Bill and Hannah, I got checked in fine and boarded the plane to Zurich which was uneventful. After an hour or two in Zurich I boarded the plane to Shanghai to find I was sitting next to a Chinese girl. She is called Jackie and had lots to talk about for the 12 hours so the time passed soon enough. I got the impression that Jackie was a very well off girl and I thought it was very funny when she started brushing her teeth at the side of me.

Posted by sharpting 10:39 Archived in China Tagged intro Comments (0)

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