Stadiums, Seafood, and Stairs

Trip Start Apr 16, 2010
Trip End Jul 24, 2010

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Flag of China  , Shandong,
Monday, May 24, 2010

Here we are again, and its been another whirlwind adventure since our last blog!


We left the last blog just before we headed off to the Bird's Nest and Aquadrome Olympic venues.  The Bird's Nest really was a magnificant sight, and as dusk settled the red floodlights made it glow warmly.  Unfortunately we had high hopes of swimming in the Aquadrom but it was closed when we arrived, so we settled for an ice cream outside.

Our last day in Beijing saw Stef, accompanied by Tim, headed off to find some antibiotics to fight off the lasting effects of Delhi Belly while Ollie and Dan had a more relaxed morning in our favourite local Tea Shop.  After a lengthy and frustrating morning Stef managed to track down necessary treatment, avoiding the requests for different samples of bodily fluids!We are glad to say that he is now on the road to recovery.  We regrouped and headed for Tianjin after a final lunch in our local. 


We embarkered on our first intercity train experience and China rather puts Network Rail to shame here unfortunately - a 330km/hr bullet train whipped us to Tianjin in a mere 30mins, while we enjoyed the comforts of a lot of leg room and comfy seats.  A far cry from the trains back home.  Our arrival in Tianjin was a little less smooth, and after a lot of pointing and fruitless negotiations our taxi driver managed to find our hostel.  We learnt that we shouldve had the hostel phone number - taxi man was not a happy chappy.

That evening we ventured toward the famous 'Food Street' in the city, and we were greeted by a tumult of restaurants lined with tanks containing all sorts of seafood ranging from sea snake to snail, lobster to toad.  We were rather bemused and took a while deciding what to do, eventually settling on a small restaurant.  Not too sure what we were getting into, Tim, Ollie and Dan plucked out an unfortunate crab from the plethora of seafood on offer.  A short while later said crab appeared in front of us, looking much the same as it had when it was selected bar the fact that it was sitting in a spicy broth.  We then embarked on the messiest and toughest meal yet, and felt like cavemen as we tried to crack the crab open.  This caused much amusement and disgust within the restaurant and we soon scared off the table next to us.  Eventually we extracted a little meat from within, but all in all it was far too much effort for far too little product.  Dan "It defeated me; I do not often admit defeat"

Travelling has been full of surreal experiences and the following day was no exception.  By sheer coincidence we discovered that a good friend from Guildford, Rufus was in the same city visiting his brother and sister-in-law.  A couple of emails the night before and a few texts later we were all sitting down for a lovely roast duck and it felt like we could've been back home.  We spent the afternoon at his brother's apartment before heading out for dinner.  We ate by far the best meal we've had here in China, and were very grateful for Rufus' brother and sister-in-law for treating us.


Our next stop on our China route is here in Taishan.  We endured a 3 hour train ride (with no seat - much more like home!) and arrived to more struggles with taxi drivers.  Most drivers just did not want to take us as we are foreign, and thankfully a lovely Chinese man helped convince one of the to take us after much negotiation and a bit of bribery.  We arrived at a fantastic hostel, which is the best we've been to yet and all for 3.80GBP per night!

The next morning (today) we were greeted by a 7:30am alarm to see Taishan's main attraction - a temple on top of a mountain.  The 14km round trip was no mean feat, with around 6000 very steep (seeming vertical) stairs and high temperatures.  At times it really did seem never-ending but like the warriors that we are we made it!  It was a massive achievement and we enjoyed a nice picnic with a marvelous backdrop overlooking Taishan.

We took a little shortcut on the route down, getting a cable car for half the distance.  Nevertheless it still took us a while to reach basecamp, even with some interesting dance routines on the stairs to pass the time.  We are feeling the effects of such a trek now though, with some stiff muscles and aching joints.  It really was incredible and Tim even suggested that it might have been one of his favourite days while travelling so it must've been good!

Tomorrow sees us have a relaxing day here, before going on a 16 hour sleeper train to Xi'an.  We hope we definately have a bed this time and aren't camping in the corridor (3 hours was just about bearable)Thanks for all the comments so far - we love reading them so keep them coming.

Big love


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Messengers on

Your blog is read and enjoyed by all age groups - printing off the latest blog for my 92 year old aunt -- she's loving it! What an amazing time you're having. Fancy meeting up with Rufus! Message for Simon and Julia - hope you're having a great time in the U.S. Let us know where you are (a blog within a blog!) Uxxxx

Rob Simon and Julia on

Hey y'all! We're sitting her in our hotel in Brewster, Cape Cod, reading your blog on the new iPad (Rob's new gadget) and very much enjoying the commentary on your latest adventures! Mum says "Its sooo cool" not sure if she's referring to the ipad or your blog but hey. Oh she says its the iPad. Guess you'll have to do better. Glad to see you're sampling some of the weird and wonderful foods on offer in china, and managed to conquer the taishan steps. Have fun in Xian, lots of love from the three of us, chat soon. Xx

Veiras on

Isn't technology brilliant....I was standing on Clapham
Junction reading your blog! Not suprised your muscles are screaming today. What a long slog up. But what a view! Simply fantastic! Hope the sleeper meets your expectations....and you sleep.Love to all. Sue x

Auntie Ruth on

Just caught up with the whole blog - sounds like you are having a great time. Congrats on you all writing such an interesting account of your adventures - you will have lots of stories to tell. Printing it all off for Joan - she keeps asking where you are now Dan. She was getting confused between Beijing and Bangkok and was worried about you! Pictures are great also - I think the beard rather suits you! Take care and lots of love from me and Martin x

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