Slow boat to China with Captain Panda

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June 1st 2007
Published: June 1st 2007
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A slow boat to China (two and a half days) took the form of a cargo ship full of pianos (cue jokes about playing ‘Chopsticks’) from Kobe, Japan to Tianjin - another of those small Chinese towns with only ten million residents and an economy twice as big as that of Germany*. Our boat was surprisingly comfy with a table tennis room, lots of badly dubbed films and a vending machine selling a litre of beer for 1.50. We were further entertained with nightly karaoke sessions all enthusiastically filmed by the ship’s captain. There was a small panda steering the ship during this time. We know this because we saw him, twice.

From sixty miles outside of Tianjin we were met with NOx, VOCs and many other lovely polluting elements both in the air and the sea. Chinese rules state that you can chuck anything you like in the sea as long as you're more than 25 miles away from the coast.

On arrival in China we made our way up to Beijing to head for the silk market and some proper bartering. A few hundred purchases and a fight with a rickshaw man later, we were waiting at Beijing station for our Trans Mongolian train.

*This statistic was completely made up.

Additional photos below
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20th June 2007

Amazing new fact re pandas' skills. Have you informed David Attenborough yet?

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