Babel restaurant with the couple who paid our dinner. Tia loved Mali.
Where finally in China. The plane flight from Hanoi, Vietnam to Nanning in China took as long to eat a packet of peanuts and fill in the passenger arrival cards and we touched down at the airport. Culture shock as we felt like we just entered another world. Aliens on a new planet. The Chinese of Nanning appeared to love neon lights, which, filled the night sky from every high rise building. The streets seemed quiet, with more cars than motorbikes (How wrong I was, check out the photo of the motorbikes; all are electric). Checked into our $45 accommodation, and, YES you get what you pay for.
As we opened the door, a selection of business cards fall to the ground, advertising 'Call me, I'm yours for the night or by the hour'. The room was ok, clean, sort of. We got out of the scary room and onto the streets in an attempt to find some dinner.
Oh dear, where is the food, English, anybody?!?! Finally found a cafe, and ordered, French fries, only thing on the menu that I recognised. I paid, and she handed me a teddy bear. Ok, what do I do with this.
How wrong I was, thousands of electric motorbikes.
Colin and I looked at each other. We needed salt, but this also got lost in translation, staff just looked at us, giggled and looked the other way. Ok, we can do with out the salt, and as for the teddy bear, a gimmick instead of giving us a number for our table.
Back to the scary room, opened the door, and more business cards fell to the ground. Mali commented this was the worst place we had stayed at, and when could we leave. 'Yes darling, we will leave tomorrow'. Which is exactly what we did.
Next morning after walking around for hours finally found breakfast at KFC which turned out to be lunch by the time we got there. After walking some more, finally came across a shopping mall and into 'Ukele Cafe'. Free wifi, coffee and donuts, relaxed and was introduced to Paul an Englishman and owner. He talked to us for hours about where the supermarket was, recommended a restaurant, and how to get around the subway as we where obviously still in culture shock. He even helped us book another hotel, four star (we are so western) and we relaxed straight away.
Big city, that lights up after dark.
Dinner at Babel restaurant, superbly recommended by both Paul and TripAdvisor, and it didn't disappoint. I had smoked duck with orange. Colin had Pizza and Mali had spaghetti. Paul happened to be eating at another table, and chatted a while with us and then left. Colin started talking to people at the table behind us, an American ballet dancer, now teaching dance in Nanning, and his Chinese wife, Tia. Turns out they knew Paul, and with only a small community of 1000 expats living in a population of 6 million, everyone is connected in one form or another. They both talked about living in China, recommend heaps and gave us her mobile number. When Colin went to pay for our dinner, it wasn't needed as it had already been paid for! Lovely couple, and we where blown away by the hospitality not even 24 hours into China. From there visited Guilin and went on a cable car (actually is a chair lift) with spectacular views.
She also told us of a town we must definitely visit. As I write this sitting on our balcony, we are here, overlooking this unforgettable town called Yang shuo which took 4 hours by
BBQ street in Nanning
The famous BBQ street, where you can get any known animal or insects cooked to your liking. I think Colin is checking out the worms in chilli sauce.
boat. Situated in the mountains, it's like out of a magical fairy tale. Little cobbled stone walk ways, lanterns and lights filter the night sky. Went for a 25 km bike ride yesterday, which nearly killed me, but well worth it for the scenery. I also got offered a German sausage, as there are a few German bars in town. That was a first, however my favourite is still the Italian sausage.
So now that we have settled, and have found our cultural feet we are loving this country. It's expanding and deepening everyday, this very different, and exciting place we find ourselves in, even if we are still lost in translation.
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