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We have spent the last few days waiting in vein in Beijing for our Iranian visas to be approved. The day after we arrived in Turkey we were told by email that the Iranian visa company had mistakenly been checking for our visas at the consulate in India rather than China. Needless to say that even though our visas are now approved, they are uselessly waiting for us in Delhi.
We have had a fantastic time travelling through China but we headed off to Beijing International Airport full of excitement. Our highlights were the old town in Lijiang, the cute and cuddly pandas in Chengdu, the Great Wall in Beijing, the grasslands in Inner Mongolia. This country is full of fascinating history, scrumptious food, beautiful architecture and phenomenally paced industrialisation.
Yet we can't help but wonder whether it was the latter of these characteristics which have made our 7 weeks more challenging than they might have otherwise have been. China is on the up, and everyone wants to be part of it. The constant spitting, yelling and pushing have been difficult to cope with. We would have second guessed ourselves about the legitimacy of these frustrations but for the fact that travel blogs are littered with similar frustrations and those we met recounted almost identical stories.
Our travel gifts have proved invaluable. The SteriPen Petra gave us as part of our wedding present has been particularly AMAZING. We have never had to worry about finding or buying drinking water but have had all the safe drinking water we could want at the click of a button! Despite Mo's disgust, the travel jug my (Chris) colleagues gave me has been awesome too. Boiled water proved harder to find than we thought and it doubled as a coffee plunger too... needless to say I have used it every day to make a fresh pot of coffee :)
On to Turkey!