Dec 31, 2010

chchchch....china

china: blog post one

up to this point each day in china has moulded into one. we have been here now for eight days and visited three very different cities. we began our triop in shanghai which was a vert unique experience. we arrived on a flight at midnight and headed out into the cities first snow storm in five years. it was a big change from the hot and humid conditions a few hours south. shanghai was a big city with beautiful old buildings, and that's about it. as China`s finace capital, it has little to offer the nomadic backpacker. we spent a few days in shanghai and got settled into the way one must travel through china... without speking to anyone, getting gleared at on the street and having to rely heavily on our lonely plane guide. we grasped early on that english was not widely spoken which made even the most mundane of tasks i.e. finding a resturant, guesthouse or getting a taxi more than difficult. we did manage to navigate our way to a cinema though to check out the lastest harry potter flick which was bonus, in english. with a population of 15 million, we found shanghai to be a little deserted and it's inhabitants seemed to lack excitement in their day to day activities.

we then headed for a more traditional city via bullet train to suzhou. a small and quaint town west of shanghai, that's famous for it's traditional chinese gardens and canals. once we arrived an managed to hail a cab after a few failed attempts at trying to figure out the bus system and arrived at our hostel which was 'ideallic' to say the least. locted alongside a canal in a traditional chinese building, we fell in love with our housing at once. suzhou was the perfect anticdote to shanghai with it's outdoor cafes, canal-side tea shops and traditional buildings. we spent a few days wandering around the gardens, sipping tea and browsing the many stores selling handmade tea pots, antique chinese furniture and art galleries.

nanjing was next on the list and it was another big city. once the nations capital, it greeted us with many concrete buildings and a lingering hazey pollution fog. once we arrived at our hostel, which was a bit dodgey, we opted to suss out the streets. big mistake. we quickly turned from happy inquisitive tourists to sullen ones, as we walked the streets where noone would return a smile and people were spitting, smoking and littering left right an centre. if i had one yuan for everytime someone harked-up a golly and spat it out onto the floor right infront of me, i would no longer need to backpack through china, but rather stay in five star hotels and shop till i drop. nanjing had a little charm in it's tree lined streets though and we were able to enjoy some stall food for amazingly cheap.

we are now on the bullet train to beijing and up until this point, china seems to be lacking heart, if described ss a colour it would be grey and it's people seem to be cranky robots who go about their daily lives with little to look forward to. hopefully beijing will change our tune otherwise, we won't be hurrying back here anytime soon...

pics. shanghai in the snow, shanghai and view, the river, buildings in shanghai, a mixture from suzhou, us enjoying one of suzhou`s gardens suzhou at night, nanjing dodgy hostel, nanjing drum tower, nanjing at night and us on the train to beijing.