Thursday, July 30, 2009
Next Phase China!
The following Monday it was Adam's time to go home, how quickly a month goes when you come to the end of it! Fortunately there was something to take the edge of the rather sad atmosphere in the form of the high speed airport express which gets there in 8 mins and goes at 420km- even the Japanese were taking photos so it must be fast! That night I was demoted to a dorm for the first time, sharing a room with four strangers was a bit much after so much seeming luxury I can tell you! Perhaps I am feeling my age. Still, it was not for long that I was all alone as the next day my friend Faye arrived! Straight in from Phnom Penh.
It was Faye's first time in China so it was exciting to spend it with her. We spent a couple of days doing some more touristy things which I had managed to so far avoid such as the Yuyuan Gardens and the Propaganda Poster Museum. That was a definite highlight, made all the better by a hilarious chinese man who worked there who took much enjoyment out of wandering with you and giving the odd translation “That is you- English! That says English Dogs! Stamp on those English Dogs, Slave to America!” Was extremely funny at the time at any rate!
Having already been in Shanghai for about five days I was kind of ready to move on after a couple more, but we had a bit of a predicament as to what to do next. Long story, but we were planning on going to India afterwards in which case we needed to get a visa, in which case we needed to go to Beijing... But when? So for some unknown reason we seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time having lengthy debates catching up and discussing what we should do next. By the time we had made a decision, which was to go straight to Beijing and miss out anything in between, we went to the Station only to find out the trains were all sold out for the next day. Eek! This wasn't supposed to happen innit. Mistrusting my language skills we ended up going to a tourist office to see if they could help, but it turned out that I had been right... bollocks! We had already checked out of our hostel (and having already stayed there a total of 10 nights I didn't want to go back!) so we were in a dilemma. We managed to get an overnight train for the following evening and then figured we should try and find an internet cafe and find somewhere to stay... The way to find an internet cafe in China is to flag down the first young hip person you see (or in our case go in a mobile phone shop) and ask them where there is one, where they will no doubt direct you to an enormous smoky labryinth, and this was no exception. I have to say, you often find very helpful people in China. Ensconced in seat 670 of the net cafe the guy who worked there took a polite shine to us and let us use his phone for free, so we managed to find somewhere else to stay.. We found a cool hotel though which was perfect. Our last day in Shanghai was spent drawing in the park (kamp!) and then eating lots of cake. Nice!