Archive for March, 2008

Ketchup part 2

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Groceries

Zhaoqing was a pleasant place to stay, cheap too, but we went on because worldtrips don’t travel themselves. We still had to see Guangzhou in the same region, and we already slacked in Hong Kong (5 nights!). Our Russian visa has a fixed date and only lasts a month, so there’s no time to waste to get to the Russian border on time.

With that in mind we decided we might want to see Mongolia too (get the joke?), and cram that into our schedule ad well. So things are not as laid back here in China as they were in India, completely in unison with the coutry morales.

Beijing Lu, GuangzhouGuangzhou was big. We stayed at an island that used to belong to the British (one side) and the French (the other side), so the athmosphere was far from Chinese. This is the most pleasant area in Guangzhou if you like things quiet and elegant, so it was stuffed with hotels and the streets were filled with adoption parents with their newly acquired kids who have to stay in China for at least one month after adoption.

In our hostel we met some fellow travellers for the first time, it was very nice to talk about all the small things that make travelling so nice and sometimes difficult. Chicken feetWe had dinner together in a fancy Chinese restaurant, ate chicken feet (but only bacause they put it on our table without us asking for it) and after that, Jesse decided that even after a 56 hour train straight from ‘burning’ Lhasa he wanted to go party and so we accompanied him. If you want the hilarious details of this night, talk to W., he had the most bizarre encounters. Suffice it to say that is was a wonderful, even great night out.

The next stop was Nanchang, to visit a few ancient villages around there. The sleeper train was excellent, the annoying thing was our neighbour who decided he wouldn’t stand for breathing through his mouth even though his nose was clearly totally congested. This resulted in him making disgusting sounds every few seconds. It culminated in him throwing snotty tissues everywhere, even on my dear boyfriend, and so it is no surprise W. and I now have a cold too. The guy was really disgusting and he didn’t care what anyone thought about him, a rarity here in China so far!

So to get to the point: here are some pictures of the trip to the ancient villages.

Alley

Alley in Luotiancun, with two boys.

Home in the village

wooden interior

Village lady

village lady

Already this much story and I’m not even close to having talked about everyting. Next time I’ll talk about the town we’re in now and the train we took to get there. All the pictures I didn’t post here are also worth looking at, if I do say so myself. I have a Pro Account at Flickr now so I don’t have to be stingy when I upload pictures. You do the math.

Boldly

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

Blossoms

Finally I can once again post all my adventures, the great firewall of China has apparently decided to clear my website instead of blocking it. Either that or this hostel’s provider is just better.  So at least for the time being I won’t have to post via Flickr which I found out I can do yesterday.

What on earth have we been up to these last two weeks, I can hear you thinking. Man Ling Hung hotel Too much to post all at once, that’s for sure. We spent a few days in Hong Kong and got used to the nagging massage pushers and watch salesmen (“Hello madam, watches, handbags, you wanna know how much for a nice suit?”), enjoyed the western-like cleanliness and efficiency and warmed up for China when it came to the food.

China was again a big switch in culture, it was nothing like India, but nothing like Hong Kong either. We got on a train from Hung Hom station in Hong Kong and got out in Zhoaqing, west of Guangzhou, in the south of China. From the train we saw limestone rocks, flooded fields, duck farms, large halls full of pigs, people working on the country with those straw hats you think are so Chinese, large yellow rapeseed fields and dirty, grimy industrial towns such as Shenzen (10 million people) and Guanzhou (3,3 million).

Temple ornaments Zhaoqing was much nicer, quiet because the tourist season hadn’t started, but big enough to have a wangba, an internet cafe that is a large hall filled with rows of chinese boys and girls playing mmorpg’s and dancing games at inhumane speeds. The big attraction of Zhaoqing was Dingu Shan (Dingu mountain), a beautiful nature reserve with some peaks and temples. We walked through the park in tropical circumstances which were only right for our exotic experience of the whole thing.

Waterfalls on Dingu Mountain

I also visited the local hospital to get some new ice-cream flavoured tonic, because I ran out of the one I got in India. The real reason was quite trivial, but the nurse and doctor seemed to think that it was hilarious. They couldn’t stop giggling and poking each other when either one tried to speak English with me. Eventually they gave me 5 different kinds of pills and shots, so I was confident that I would get well soon. And this was only intensified when the nurse told me in het best English: “We want people to be well.”

Smiling driver in Shibi
Almost every person we met so far in China has been unbelievably friendly, even people trying to sell you stuff don’t block your way and are no way near as pushy as the Indians. It’s a big relief. At first we were a little hestitant to let everyone who offered it help us, but we soon found out that they were all genuine and we have gotten al lot of useful help already.

This is turning into a chunky post pretty quickly, I suppose I better save something for later. Don’t worry, this isn’t even a quarter of what I have to talk about. Todays hottest news is that even here, in Huang Shan, I was lucky enough to run into a yarn shop and get myself the materials for a new ambitious project, I can imagine how happy you must be for me.

Roof ornament

Saturday, March 29th, 2008


Maybe this still works? Can i update my blog via flickr when my own site doesn’t work from the internet cafes in China?
Anyway, we are in Huang Shan and its really beautiful here, once again. I love the old Huizhou style buildings and the Chinese people and W mostly loves the food. We are going to climb china’s most famous mountain in a few days and after that we’ll be heading for Beijing…
Lets try to post this now and see what happens.

Change

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

Looking on Mirador Mansion

Not only our currency, but also our surroundings have changed dramatically since yesterday. We our now in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong and the total opposition with India is complete.

Lock Road Hong Kong

Everything went quite well travelwise, I expected a major strike and cancelled flights at the Delhi airport, but the only bummer were the hour-long queues, so that was actually not so bad. We are literally looking our eyes out of our heads here, with all the skyscrapers and the cleanliness and the…well just the order of things!
The pictures our worth a lot more than words in this case, so here is the preview, and check out all of them on my little corner in flickr.

Hong Kong Central

Skyscrapers, real ones!

W and Bloemenjansje in the peak tram

Me and W. on the peak tram, going up to Victoria Peak, of course another queue, but very much worth the time and money!

I’m very tired now, on the end of our first day, but so glad we are here.