We were up and ready for a 7am start after an almost full English breakfast in the hostel. We boarded the train from Taishan and an apparent 6 hour train journey ended up taking nearly 8 hours! Luckily for us, we managed to get chatting to a Chinese guy who after spending 3 hours trying to speak broken English suddenly pulled out a pen and paper and began to communicate with us in writing! It was really cool to speak with him and he told us so much about his life and we really learnt a lot from him about China and the local culture. We also found out it was his birthday today, however he explained that in China at his age (he was 22) birthdays aren't really celebrated until you are much older as at time age it is not an achievement to reach your 20's, but obviously when you are 50, 60 or 70 it is much more of an achievement and more readily celebrated.
We finally arrived in Zhengzhou around 3pm and were met by another guide called Gerry who was again very sweet and gave us a brief of what was happening over the next two days. He took us to our hotel (finally a hotel!) and Lizzie and I shared a room which was nice to just have a room to ourselves to get some decent sleep out of bunkbeds. We settled into our room and then a few of us when exploring the city. This is a very cool place, the city is really nice and the markets and shops are full of some really interesting things. We wandered around the street markets checking out all of the local produce and evenutally grabbed some street food that consisted of deep fried rice noodles, paprika chicken skewers and a huge pot of extremely spicy noodles, for the grand total of 75p. The food was delicious and was much nicer that some of the stuff we have been getting from the local restaurants! We wandered around for hours, soaking up the local culture in this cool city before getting too hot and sweaty and finally heading back to our wonderfully air conditioned private rooms, playing some cards and heading to bed. Tomorow we head to the Shaolin Temple!
I have just finished a years MSc in Security Sector Management and am off on a months trip to China before beginning a new job. Before that I have undertaken a BA Hons in Law and Criminology and have spent a year travelling and volunteering in between studies.
I have been blessed to have visited some amazing places and my personal highlights include volunteering in an orphanage in South Africa, motorbiking through the Central Highlands of Vietnam, hiking Cradle Mountain in Tasmania and watching the sunrise on a deserted island on my 22nd birthday.... full info