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Published: August 18th 2009
It has been a while since I updated the blog but here is a brief entry about our adventure in China!
After spending a couple days in Sapa we headed over to Lao Cai and then to the boarder crossing. The lady from our hotel in Sapa had arranged to have her friend help us through the boarder she followed us from one side to the other all the way until we were in the bus to Kunming.
Crossing the boarder was easy had to fill out papers they checked out temperatures and rummaged through our bags, got a bit worried when they found my microphone and started asking questions about our jobs but it was all ok and they didn’t take our lonely planet away so that was good!
Once on the other side we rushed to the bus, the bus ride was interesting and the views from the bus were very beautiful! Getting a first glimpse at the Chinese landscapes kind of gave us an idea as to what was in store for us! Unfortunately we didn’t have any Chinese currency so we couldn’t buy any food throughout the day, we had a few stops during the journey
and the time that Steve and I decided to go for a pee we seriously regretted! The “toilets” were basically holes in the earth with men and women sides divided by a wall, there was another lady there for a pee but I pretended to look for something in my bag until she was done, didn’t want to pee in front of a stranger!!
We arrived in Kunming at night and were dropped off at a bus station and then we were left to find our hotel….with a rough idea of where to go and two other travelers we started off what was to be a long walk. Backs hurting and very tired we found the place where the hotel was supposed to be (this huge building with trees all around it although there didn’t seem to be a way to get into the building! The other travelers continued to look for their hostel and Steve and I started the search for the hotel we went around the area for an hour maybe everyone we asked seemed to be giving us different directions finally a taxi driver helped us and it turned out that the hotel was where we originally
thought it would be! So we finally made it to the room at 1 am, exhausted and very thankful to have a bed!!!
Next day in Kunming was pretty uneventful we went to look for something to eat in the morning as we had not eaten anything the day before and we were starving!
We arranged a bus to take us to Lijiang our next stop for the next day.
The next day we set off to the bus station to get our bus to Lijiang first we waited for a long time and then we were brought to a little very cramped mini van, we got in very worried that it would be our ride for the next 8 hours, but thankfully it wasn’t we were brought to another bus station where we got on a really nice bus the seats were like business class airplane seats! Really cool!
We arrived in Lijiang at late afternoon and took a taxi from the bus station to the entrance of the old town; once again we didn’t know the search that was coming! Finding the hostel took us about 1: 30 hours!
Lijiang’s old town is very pretty though we stayed
there a few days exploring the old town and we also went to see the Tiger Leaping Gorge which was amazing! It was really beautiful and the mountains and scenery in that part of China are absolutely gorgeous! The driving there and back was quite intense! (Parts of the road not constructed or under construction I loved it!)
From Lijiang we then took a plane which stopped back in Kunming and then went to Beijing. We arrived in Beijing and took a taxi to the hostel we were going to stay at, arriving at the hostel we were told that we actually didn’t have a room and that they would arrange a room at another hostel for us…the other hostel was terrible the bed was uncomfortable and towels were not provided! But we weren’t paying for it so we couldn’t really complain; we then spent a good few hours looking for something to eat and ended up eating at the hostel.
The next day we transferred to the hostel we originally booked and were pleased to see a very comfy decent room!
On our first day in Beijing we went around the many shopping malls and
both got a much needed hair cut!
The next day it was raining really hard throughout the day so we couldn’t really do much but we started looking at camera prices (I ended buying a new Nikon D300 at a great price! Thanks to Steve’s bargaining skills!)
Of course we went to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City (Forbidden City is huge!), along with thousands upon thousands of other tourist and hideous heat, add long queues and people pushing in from everywhere to it and the whole experience becomes a very tiring adventure!
We also spent a day at the Summer Palace unfortunately the day that we went the weather was really bad so we couldn’t take any nice pictures, the Summer Palace grounds are also huge did a lot of walking!!
On our last full day in Beijing we did the Great Wall, early in the morning there was a storm and it was raining very hard but miraculously the weather cleared during the day and we had perfect weather for our 10 Km walk on the wall! It was truly one of my top favorites of the trip so far with very few people on the wall with us it was really an amazing experience!
From Beijing we took another flight over to Hangzhou which was where we were to see the Solar Eclipse!! Hangzhou is pretty but is very obviously directed to tourism fast foods are on every corner (as well as starbucks) and everything is quite expensive! On the 23rd of July Steve and I woke up bright and early (6 am) and started our way to the mountain from which we would view the eclipse, the sky was clouded and we were really worried that we would miss the eclipse but we didn’t expect for our morning to be half as hectic as it turned out to be! We decided to get a taxi so that we would not risk loosing time trying to figure out buses etc…So we got on the taxi and showed the driver where we wanted to go, then the taxi crashed into another car which seemed to be in the middle of the road not moving. The taxi driver got out and started arguing with the other driver etc and we had to continue walking in the right direction there were no free taxis so we continued walking and went through a tunnel the tunnel was never ending! Finally after walking around and getting really worried about making it on time we found a taxi!
We arrived at the foot of the mountain got the cable car tickets and went up, at the top we found a lot more people there than we had expected but we still managed to find a spot to sit and have a good clear view. We sat there waiting but couldn’t see anything we set up the cameras and waiting for the moments when the clouds would move a bit and we would catch a glimpse of the sun, then all of a sudden the sky seemed to clear just around the sun and we got to see as the moon slowly covered the sun everything around us started getting darker and then it was completely dark, we could see Hangzhou with all the lights on!!! Everyone was cheering and I was crying complete darkness at 9 am!!! It was amazing then the light started coming back and we continued to watch as the crescent grew from the other way.
The remainder of our stay in Hangzhou was pretty relaxed we didn’t do much and then took a fast train over to Shanghai.
We only had one night in Shanghai, on our full day in Shanghai we walked around the city we saw a crazy crowd in front of a Nike store and wondered what was going on everyone was taking pictures through the window with their phones, camera etc…turned out it was a famous basketball player that was in there!
Shanghai has so many shops its ridiculous! At night we went to the top floor of the highest building we had a drink at cloud 9 bar on the 87th floor! (Ears pop as you go up the elevator!) We then had a really nice dinner a couple of floors below; it was definitely the best way to experience Shanghai!!!!
We then flew to Xi-an homeland of the Terracotta Warriors!!!!!
In Xi-An we stayed in a serviced apartment which we were really excited about thinking that we could food some nice simple food which we had been craving for during the last few months, we arrived at the apartments after taking the shuttle bus from the airport. We dropped our bags off and went to search for the supermarket; the problem though was that the supermarket was not much help in terms of western food, it was impossible to find cheese!!! We found some bare necessities though and went back to make some pasta!
The reason for going to Xi-an was to see the Terracotta Warriors which was one of the highlights of the trip! Getting to the warriors was a whole adventure as at first we took the wrong bus and ended up going in the wrong direction! We finally made it! The warriors were really cool it’s amazing to see the sheer size of it all, unfortunately the site itself has just been a little corrupted by tourism and it has been built up too quickly and could have been done a lot better, oh well!
Other than the warriors Xi-an really isn’t a nice city at all so we stayed a very short time before making our way to Yangshuo.
We first flew into Guilin and then had to take a bus to Yangshuo we got on the bus and started the drive, at some point when we were driving down a little road in the fields a guy came in front of the bus and stopped it, I really thought that they were going to rob the bus, turned out they were trying to get money from the driver!! Other than that the ride was alright except for the fact that everyone paid less than we were asked!!! We arrived in Yangshuo and it was raining really hard it was night time and we were tired! A really nice Chinese girl came and helped us get a taxi and everything! We arrived at the hotel soaking but with big smiles on our faces!
Yanghshuo was NOT what we had expected we thought it was going to be a cute little quiet place, instead the street where all the main things were was noisy with nightclubs, bars, souvenir shops and restaurants!! Yangshuo is a great base to explore the country side from which is why we went there in the first place! For a few days we rented bicycles and went around the country side exploring, rice fields looking at the many mountains (pretty much the land version of Halong Bay) it was definitely a highlight of our China trip!
From Yanghsuo it was off to Hong Kong which was the last stop before flying over to Australia!
Arriving in Hong Kong we felt that we were in a different place we couldn’t even find the same water brands as we did in mainland China! We arrived on the hottest day of the year so it was a shock when we came out of the underground and realized we couldn’t breath! Hong Kong is really cool once again shops and malls seem to be on every corner, we couldn’t do much while we were there as there was bad weather heavy rain and very strong winds on our last day though the weather seemed to clear, and we took the peak tram which was REALLY cool we went at sunset and after queuing it was dark but the view from the top was amazing could see all Hong Kong lit! On our last night we stayed a really nice hotel thinking it appropriate to do that on the last night in Asia before going to a different section of the trip, the room had 180 degree view of the city and we were on 37th floor!
Next day we left to go to Australia!!!!
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