Trip Start Jan 16, 2009
Trip End May 26, 2009

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Flag of China  , Shanghai,
Monday, February 23, 2009

Hello, or indeed, Shang-hello.

Since we last updated, we went to the Muslin quarter in Xi'an, which was awesome, full of souvenir shops and food stalls. We went inside a Chinese style mosque, which was a bit bizzare to say the least. Emma (R) put her buff over her hair so all the men thought she was a good Muslim girl and surrounded her. There was a man with a massive telephoto lens taking blatent photos of her. Funny stuff.
Later that day we went to the train station and had an emotional goodbye with Declan as he was heading off to Vietnam, we've since found out he had a nightmare journey that we thought was only 8 hours long but actually turned out to be 36 hours! And he'd only booked a hard seat ticket not a bed and the carriage was ridiculously crowded and full of Chinese men spitting on the floor so he didn't have the best time :( As he's doing the same route as us but backwards round south east asia we're hoping to cross paths with him at some point later on.

So now for the first time there is only the 2 of us. Our journey to Shanghai was much less traumatic thankfully. It was only 17 hours and overnight so we had a hard sleeper which wasn't too hard at all in the end. We did both have top bunks though so were pretty much sleeping in the ceiling as the bunks are piled 3 high.

So we got to Shanghai and its green here which is nice! Over in the provinces round Xi'an and where we've been so far there is a lot of drought going on so everywhere is just brown and deserty and horrible, and the weather wasn't much better as you could see in the pics it was a but overcast and horrible. So we were dead excited when we got across to Shanghai and found that there was sun and some greenery around!! Unfortunately that didnt last. What we should have done was gone out to see the sights of Shanghai when we arrived here at 3pm on Saturday but we were being lazy so just chilled in the hostel, played pool and drank the ridiculously cheap beer (600ml bottle for 50p! I (EW) am having to learn how to love beer). Later on we were a little tipsy and decided to go to a clubs with these English guys we'd been talking to, however we went outside to get a taxi and it was POURING with rain. As we were only wearing converse shoes our feet were wet pretty quickly and the guys were fannying around and beginning to annoy us so we sacked them off and went back into the hostel for more cheap beer and chatted with other people we'd met. At one point we had quite a multicultural group going on involving northern irish, french, swedish, australians and us.

Yesterday was the day we were going to do the sights, unfortunately it was still raining, a lot. But never mind, we had walking boots so our feet stayed dry so we were happy. Our first challenge was to post a load of stuff home, scarves, gloves, sounvenirs etc. Apparently in China all you do is take everything you want to post into the Post Office and the little man there gets you a box and arranges and packs it and tapes it all up for you, which was awesome, see pic of us having a fantastic time with that. We then wandered to the Bund (the most famous touristy part of Shanghai along the river) via the Peoples Park. Shanghai is very tall, I think that describes the general feel of the place quite well. We went under the river using the Bund sightseeing tunnel which was really bizzare, you sat in these little cars and went along a track and the tunnel is covered in trippy lights and trippy music plays for you in the carriage. It was very odd yet very cool. We sat in a starbucks on the other side until it got dark as apparently the thing to do is see Shanghai and the Bund at night with all the pretty lights. That was well worth it, as it was very pretty.

So today we're leaving here, off to the train station in an hour or so to go down to Hangzhou, which is meant to have a very pretty lake. According to bbc weather its going to rain there too, oh well.

Love Emma and Emma
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