Nee how (hello in Chinese) . We are back. What an adventure. We had a brilliant time, very touristy, but brilliant.
Our command of Chinese increased by 400% – nee how; Sheeya Sheeya which means thank you; boo yow which means I don’t want it, which had a marked impact on a street hawker trying to sell Cal some pencils. Or perhaps it was Cal shouting it at him and waving his hand in his face. And we did know the word for panda, which is actually bear cat; and delicious, and beer. But they are lost in the mists of jet lag currently.
We can also read entrance and exit and have a large collection of photos of intriguing signs.
Nothing, I repeat, nothing, untoward happened to us. Someone we were with broke their toe on a step and experienced the not being taken to hospital until there was evidence they could pay for it. oh, and Cal left his hat and sunglasses in a restaurant one night in Shanghai (I loved writing that sentence ). I was deputed to go and ask if they had found them. Well, sign if they had found them. None of the staff could make the lights work so we had to search the restaurant with our collective mobile phone lights. This caused some of them to go a bit mad and start searching through the pot plants and the fish tank. Which made me wonder what my signing had been interpreted as. They turned up in the kitchen.
Oh, and we nearly got stuck on an island in Shanghai because we caught the last but one ferry but had to get off to buy tickets to return. So someone rushed on ahead to get them and we then got trapped in an astounding shouting match between a crew member and another passenger who was trying to show us how to get back without a ticket. He lost the argument. And we nearly missed the ferry.
So, what was it like? Well everything is on an epic scale. England feels like a model village by comparison. So many people, buildings are enormous – even places like restaurants – huge numbers of cars, mopeds, mountains, rivers, typhoons, skyscrapers. Just epic. We’ve never been anywhere so humid before, so you just got used to wringing your clothes out by lunchtime. The one day it rained it was a relief to be wet from the outside.
The scenery is amazing; the neon lights on the buildings are fascinating and the people we met were so lovely. We went to tea at someone’s house one night, and that is where we had an amazing meal and discovered that the epic scale of public places doesn’t extend to people’s houses in the city. And I got to use the toilets which are public because in this particular quarter of Beijing the houses don’t have their own toilets, and had my first experience of no door public toilets….
The people we met were very honest about the one birth policy and the implications, the cultural revolution and the impact that had on them personally, and the almost identical issues they have about how care for the elderly is a potential time bomb. And this is a place where you can sue your child (ren) for failing to look after you.
We got to see the Forbidden City, the terracotta warriors, walk on the Great Wall, visit pandas including a two week old one in an incubator and various temples . And we also saw that whilst we were making clay things vaguely formed into mugs and bronze buckles, during the BC years, the Chinese were fashioning intricate dining and cooking things, elaborate jewellery and writing in almost runic script. And we thought we were so clever. We also saw acrobats and some incredible mask changing which I can’t even begin to explain.
We saw birds in cages being taken for walks and crickets on leads. Dogs are only allowed out at night or very early in the morning. Oh, and in Beijing to control pollution certain car registrations are only allowed in on certain days.
So, we loved it. If you ever get the chance, go there. We’d definitely like to go back to Shanghai. One day.
Off to have a jet lagged nap now.
PS no blog because WordPress appears to be blocked.
PPS despite 7 flights I am no nearer dealing with flying. 5/7 were delayed by typhoons so we have in depth knowledge of several airports. And we flew through 2 thunderstorms. Which is pretty to look at and pretty turbulent to be in. I was so anxious on one flight I thought the cabin crew had announced an unfortunate and probably life limiting emergency. Actually they were telling us what was for dinner. Chicken and rice or beef and noodles if you are interested.