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Published: August 11th 2007
Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an
This is the place we were at when we said "guess where we are?"
After Hong Kong our next place to see was Shanghai. We decided to take a 25 hour sleeper train and we both loved it. It gave us both time to relax for a whole day and take in the scenery. When we first arrived in Shanghai we were both confused how to get to a guesthouse we were looking for so we opted just to take a taxi. The hostel we were staying at was about a block west from the Bund, so it was really convenient for us to do our sightseeing. We stayed at "The Captains" youth hostel and both really enjoyed it. We bought a dormitory room and were both surprised to see the rooms layout was similar to an old ship! The bunks had portholes and the room was laid out with pictures of ships. The top floor was a travellers bar also laid out like a ship! After getting settled down, we both walked the city for a few hours and found a place to eat. It was so cold compared to what we were used to! We both ran to where we would eat at night across the street because we didnt like the cold!
Our first impressions of Shanghai were good, we liked the prices of everything and were also happy to be away from the massive amounts of tourists we encountered in Hong Kong. In total we spent 5 nights in Shanghai and both grew to love the city. One of the first things we did was look for some shopping because we had heard it was really good. We found a few upscale malls and were both disappointed but later we found a mall packed with fake goods, the stuff we like. As we walked into the mall, we were instantly bombarded with sellers grabbing us and yelling things like "Shoes!", "Purse!", "Watch!", "Bags!" and so forth. We were both shocked at the attention we recieved. We actually had at one point 5 people following us and yelling. We even went up the escalator twice but they kept following us, waiting outside the shops we would go into and then when we walked out they would start again. After 10 or 15 minutes the people left and we were free to look around. The next day we decided to go to the top of the Hyatt hotel, 88 stories up. We both
had great views of the city and were both amazed at Shanghai's size. For a joke we walked into the "Cloud 9" restaurant on the top floor to look at the prices and see the view. The restaurant was so classy and elegant we both felt very out of place. It was getting dark and we were both tired so we decided to head back to the hostel. Later that evening we met a big group of people from all across the world. There were 3 girls and 2 guys from South Korea, a military sub designer from Pakistan, a man from Santiago, Chile, an American man, a couple from Argentina and a man from Scandinavia. At this point in our trip we've become used to the shocked faces we see after telling people our age, but this group was great because every single person was like "are you serious!?". We both laugh afterwards because its just such a shock for other people when we tell them how old we are. We spent that evening playing a South Korean game called 369,a game where everyone sits in a circle and counts up from one, and the people with a 3,6
or 9 have to clap instead of saying the number. Whoever lost had to chip in 5 Yuan which went towards beer for the whole group. Later that evening we socialized mainly with the South Korean's because they seemed to be fixated on us. Now we don't mean to be big headed or anything but it's just really awkward to us both when there's a group of 5 South Koreans telling us "Ooooh we are sooo envious of you both! You have such good looks! We looove your skin color!". They were all so nice but it seemed kind of odd for guys to be telling us that we were sexy and that they would love to look "as good as us". It's happened to us many times on this trip and we both get weirded out afterwards, especially when its with other guys. The next day we both decided to go to the top of this large building across the river we had seen, a building with three big purple balls on it. We wanted to cross the river with the underground pedestrian tunnel, but were both distracted with a different mode of transportation we found. We found the
Spiciest meal Andrew ever ate
He didn't look so good afterwards, so we didnt take a pic with him in it.
Bund sightseeing tunnel and both really wanted to take it because it was an underground trolly across the river with moving spirals of color. It seemed like we were travelling through space light speed. We arrived at the weird building and bought two tickets to the second ball from the bottom. It cost us 70 Yuan each but was well worth it because we got to see even more of the city. Overall, we both really liked Shanghai, we had some great times and got to see a lot of it.
Our time was running out in Shanghai so we both decided to get a direct train to Xi'an to see the Terracotta warriors. We talked to a police officer that spoke english outside the train station in Shanghai and he kindly helped us buy our tickets. The train ride to Xi'an was 12 hours long and we both arrived fairly early in the morning. We found a hostel just 5 minutes from the train station and both really loved it. It was on the top floor and we both had a whole room to ourselves for our whole stay. The walls were scribbled all different colors with other travellers
The Bund, Shanghai
Our guesthouse was just a block west of it.
advice. It was a great atmosphere. After settling down we both walked around the city and found it to be really nice. The city was enclosed in an ancient city wall and we were both really impressed because this was the first place in China we visited that was not an ultra modern international city. As our main purpose for visiting the town was visiting the Terracotta Warriors, we set out in search of bus 306 which cost 7 Yuan to get to the Warriors an hour and a half away. We spent a really long time looking for the bus, but couldn't find it so we decided to see them the next day. We ended up renting bicycles and going around the whole city wall which was great. The next day we ventured out again to find bus 306 and found it! We got to the Terracotta Warriors and were both very excited. When we both saw them we were a little disappointed because you could not get very close to the warriors which kind of took away from the experience. They did have a few warriors in display cases and those were neat to see. It was a
We went up to the top of that three balled building.
must see for us and were both happy to have seen them despite the distance we could actually get to them. After the warriors we hung out at our place and ate some food. The next day we just walked around the city a bit, found a great dumpling house and did some more bargain hunting. We both bought new North Face backpacks (fake of course) to put all our souvenirs in and we walked the market a bit. There were people selling every sort of knick knack you could imagine. Andrew bought a supposed Ming dynasty bowl and I bought a new chess board which we have used many times since. The market was right beside two very nice old buildings, the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower. Our last day in Xi'an we spent at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and garden, which was amazing. The flowers were just coming out which made for good pictures. We spent a couple hours walking the grounds and enjoying the scenery, then headed back to our hostel. Overall we both really loved Xi'an because it was very cultural and ancient as well as cheap and enjoyable. After Xi'an we headed to
Pingyao, which is on the next blog!
Thanks for reading!
Andrew and Trev.
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