Published: November 25th 2006November 10th 2006
Well we have arrived!
Spent the last few days in Bangkok, did the sights in a day - well-ish anyway - we went to the temple of the reclining buddha and went to go into the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha - however, they wanted to charge us an extortionate entrance fee that would have fed us for 3 days, so we skipped that one! We are indeed a tight fisted pair! Spent the remaining two days shopping and swanning around! Oh it's back to the hard life!
Then caught the flight of flights to Xiamen in China! Cost us a whole 35GBP - bargain or what? However, upon check in we did begin to question the true value - it took us nearly 2 hours of standing in a queue to get checked in, then our flight was delayed, first by half an hour then by an hour - things were beginning to look a little uncertain!!!! Boarding the plane did reveal that all would be fine, looking perfectly flight worthy in my expert opinion and we got leather seats! There was even a Business Class section - although we hadn't realised otherwise we would have been batting eyelids for an upgrade left, right and centre! Was only an hour and a half flight though and it saved us a 25 - yes 25 HOUR train journey ...oh ooooohh ooooooohhh AND we got a meal! Incredible! And free drinks! I think easyjet and ryanair could do with a few lessons if you ask me! The plane was full - so something must be working! (although I suppose it may be down to the sheer size of the population I suppose!) Needless to say we arrived safe and sound albeit to a dark city, in an airport where no-one spoke english.....daunting to say the least! We got chatting to a lovely american lady in the end, who scared us further by telling us to expect the worst...dirt, difficulties, rude men........but recommended that we went to the university accommodation and tried to get in the halls there. This decided our next challenge was to get a bus...only to discover that they had stopped running, thus a taxi beckoned! Some fantabulous artistry on Jen's part got us some chinese symbols that basically said university! Some gesturing and pointing later and we had arrived at the West Gate! Wahoo! Only to be stopped and detained by the security guard there! Told to sit down and not really allowed to move, we began to wonder if it was to be a night there.......fortunately he had better intentions than we had begun to fear and he accosted 2 Chinese girls to help us! Eva and Fiona.......The loveliest girls with the BEST english ever! Who kindly escorted us around the campus looking for the accommodation...only to discover that that too was now closed! Yippee! What now? Well we had no clue! They on the other hand, had ideas!!
A few phone calls later and they had secured a WHOLE apartment for the 2 of us for 80 Yuan......now we were expecting to be budgeting for this amount each!!! So this was indeed a bargain! After a night in luxury we spent the next day with them, going around the university and securing a flight to Shanghai! A flight?!!! I know! Bit extravagent, but last minute research (not recommended) highlighted that the train journey was 25hours! YES - 25!!!! So we opted for a 35GBP flight! And this was no easyjet! Leather seats, a business class section (not that we even got a look in there!), and all in all a pretty impressive flight.