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Archive for the ‘China’ Category

Yesterday we hired bikes for 20 Yuan each. Mine was so snazzy it was still half wrapped in bubble-wrap (which I ripped off after about 2 hours of it hitting my leg annoyingly).

We were given a map that we couldn’t follow so we just guessed roughly where we wanted to be heading. Twas pretty scary cycling along the main road with all the other push bikes, motorbikes, cars, buses, trucks, and random pedestrians darting out across the road at any moment.

I apparently worried C, who was behind me, with just how well I was blending in with the local road traffic. According to him I was weaving randomly in and out of the bike lane, cutting off cars and narrowly avoiding being squashed. Quite glad I didn’t know that at the time.

After only about 15 minutes we’d left the big scary road and were happily cycling along more country roads amongst all the rice paddies and karst hills. It was all very very beautiful. And completely worth the leg agony I was in that evening.

In about an hour we’re off to a Chinese cooking class. Yum.

I’ve been guzzling the tasty Sichuan food here as we’re pretty close to that region. It’s very delicious, a little buzzy. I am totally winning the battle of the chillies. C cried. Muha.

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It’s raining. But that’s okay because we’re in Guilin in CHINA! Oh yes.

And we’re staying in a lovely hostel called Flowers.  It’s very welcoming. I especially like the buckets everywhere to catch the rain. The best one is perched above the computer next to me. They have a variety of english books. I’ve already snaffled and read one.

In Guilin they’re into exotic food (tortoise, rabbit). Also very fresh food. We went on a walk and passed lots of restaurants with cages stuffed with live animals and bowls of sea creatures.  They used to eat monkeys but now don’t because of SARS.

I had spicy fish for lunch. It took a while to prepare. Chances are the fish was still alive when I walked into the restuarant. Poor Mr delicious Fish.

We got the train from Hong Kong to (note: names may be mispelt) Guangzhou and changed to a sleeper train to Guilin.  Guangzhou station was horrible. It was massive and confusing. Nothing was in English, there were no apparent platforms, or entrances to platforms. And it was very very dirty. Everyone was sitting on the floor or broken chairs. People were spitting and blowing their noses into bins or the floor. There were babies with no nappies, just slits in their trousers so they could go on the floor whenever they wanted. 
Once we got on the train everything was better though. It takes 12 hours by train to get to Guilin. We’d chosen to travel by ‘hard sleeper’ which is a carriage seperated into about 16 sections with six beds in each section. In bunks of 3. C and I were in the very top bunk! It was tres high. I squeaked with alarm as I tried to hurl myself up it. The ladder was tiny. Plus I was foolishly wearing a skirt.
 
Tommorrow we’re getting a boat down the Li river to Yangshuo (supposed to have beautiful limestone formations and gannet fishing). 3 nights there then after we’re coming back here – getting a train to Chongching (18 hours) and from there getting a 3 day cruise up the Yangtxi river.  Exciting! A guy called David helped us book everything in a travel agent shop in the station when we arrived. We’d only gone with him originally to get a map. Lol!

I will add photos at some point when I locate a USB port/remember my wires. This may take a few days.

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Today we got conned out of 20 pounds by a fake monk. I am quite annoyed with myself. Part of me knew I was being conned but still it happened. He was a cunning fake monk oh aye.

But still I have a shiny picture of the Buddha and an orange bracelet out of it. Although I’m not wearing the bracelet in case it marks me out as an easy target.

We went up the peak tram. Twas very high.

Oh oh oh AND we got moved to a room with an actual window. It’s all very exciting!

AND we bought our train tickets into China. Woo wee woo! Off to Guilin we shall go!

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Hong Kong

 

 

Hong Kong is great. At first when we stepped off the bus from the airport on Nathan Road I was a bit concerned we were going to be mugged and that the tall rickety buildings were actually going to fall on us. But now I’m actually warming to the place. I’m even beginning to build the skill of ignoring the people on the streets following us trying to get us to buy ‘copy watch and copy handbag’.

C bought a watch from a stall for 30 Yuan. It has a compass and a therometer. He tried to use it as a way of warding off the watch sellers. “Look I already have a watch, it glows in the dark and everything”. The guy just laughed and called it a girls watch. Tee hee.

My favourite thing so far is probably the giant neon signs that lean out right across the road. Some of which are on only bamboo supports.
 
Today I went to a cake making class and learned how to make Chinese ‘Wife Cakes’ and ‘Eggrolls’ Yum Yum. C went for a walk because there was only space for one on the class. It was organised by the Hong Kong Tourist Board and was free. Huzah! They were pretty tasty cakes if I do say so myself. 
 Then we went to a free Kung Fu show in the park. They did the Lion dance. Lots. It was ace.
 

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They also had an aviary in the park. And lots of flamingos.
 
My feet are quite tired from walking.
 
Our room has no windows. It’s a box. Apparently its an upgrade though. The woman said the original room we booked was tiny. I can only imagine that it contained nothing but a double bed crammed between four walls.

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C’s passport and visa arrived today! Yay! It’s such a relief. I really thought I was going to end up flying to Hong Kong alone. That would have been so sad for both of us.

When the front door knocked I was so excited I bounded out of bed to open it. No time for dressing I opened it in only my pants (under) and a t-shirt. I must have looked quite ridiculous. The courier was trying to hold back a smirk.

Everything is golden!

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Dreaming about China

I had a very odd dream this morning. I’d fallen back asleep after C had left for work (oops, I meant to get up and ‘do’ things, I blame a very boring book I was trying to read – Ghost Tide by Yo Yo).

In the dream C and I were in Hong Kong already, on the first step of our journey back to London. For some reason we’d decided to ‘have a break’ from our relationship. We were sitting on a beach near our hotel (does Hong Kong even have beaches?) and chatting to a very nice girl called Lara who had long blonde hair. She was flirting with C and I decided to set them up! He was gently flirting back but without asking her out. I got exasperated and invited her to dinner with us. Then I ‘remembered’ that actually I wasn’t feeling very well and thought I’d not be making it to dinner. I remember I was trying to be obvious about the setting up. Lara was delighted. As was C. That evening I was preparing to go out on the town to find food – C popped his head round the door and told me him and Lara were going to the hotel dining room and could I please not eat there because it would spoil the mood. I thought this was quite rude.

I went to the bus stop and got on the first bus that came along and got off at a random stop in the city. By conicidence a guy and girl I recognised from the hotel also got off. They turned out to be tour guides at the hotel having an evening off. They invited me to dinner with them where they were meeting up with a bunch of friends who worked around the city.

We ended up in a cute tiny little Chinese hostel dinning room. It was all red with worn plastic tables and chairs. The owner was lovely but didn’t speak any English. Before everyone else arrived I asked the way to the toilet which was through a series of rooms connected by sliding doors that I decided must be the guest rooms.  I also had to go through the kitchen where a woman was chopping up vegetables. The toilet was just behind here. Oddly it had a boarded up window/door which had ‘What happened to the window?’ written in red pen with a sad face on it. Whilst I was in the toilet I started to sms (text) Lacey to complain to her about C going off with Lara.

When I got back to the dining room all the other guests had arrived and we sat around eating a series of increasingly delicious food whilst chatting about China. I was asking the people next to me what it was like living and working there. They were all westerners and all loved it.

I was just eating a bowl of fried noodles with nougat (??) when I heard a familiar voice. I craned over the bowls so I could see the next table more clearly and recognised my friend P/P from University! (quite odd as he lives in the Midlands and is training to be an accountant). He immediately came over to sit next to me and we started chatting about what he’d been upto. In the dream I knew he’d been living in Beijing but had just forgotten it a bit. He was also loving China.

The people around us were getting curious about us knowing each other already and started teasing that we were lovers. Then P/P made some terrible joke about maybe once in the past which I misunderstood and said very loudly that we’d only kissed that one time. At which point everything went very quiet and P/P’s girlfriend (also a friend from university) stood up looking really pissed off. Now I hadn’t known she was visiting him so I got very embarrassed. We then had a brief conversation which she left quite early on. Which was a shame because at Uni I’d always been better friends with her than with P/P. P/P and I just went back to talking.

It was a very long dream. And very strange. What does it say about my subconcious?

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Chinese Tea Eggs

Today I made Chinese tea eggs. Yum Yum!

This is part of C and I’s attempts to assimiliate all things Chinese before we head off on our trip.

I once had a Chinese housemate and I remembered her vaguely boiling eggs in tea and soy sauce to make a special egg usually eaten at Chinese New Year. Cracked tea eggs. Or similar. Ah ha I thought, I have eggs lying around somewhere,  lets do the same.

I’d just also had some rather bad news from home, so I may have been distracting myself to a certain extent.

This is different to the famous 100 year eggs, which aren’t as old as their name, more like a few months old. Still sounds gross but I think I’d like to try them anyway. It’s on my list. My china list.

Anywho, back to todays eggs….

I added some eggs to water with green tea leaves (I had no black) and soy sauce and boiled them for ages. I kept getting distracted and accidently letting them boil dry. So I’d top up the water. After a while I began to wonder how they got the cracked pattern. So I looked it up on google and found this great website. It recommended putting cinnamon and anise and sugar in with the tea and soy sauce. And also actually cracking the shell of the eggs. Duh. So I did that and let them simmer for 40 mins and then I covered the pot and let them soak for about 6 hours.

And mmmm they were delicous.

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