We arrived safely in Shanghai on Wednesday morning and the next day headed to the tourist spot of Hangzhou in the middle of a national holiday.
We caught the Maglev ‘bullet’ train from the airport which sped at over 400km/h into the city of Shanghai. In the afternoon we headed to The Bund – a strip of skyscrapers which were obscured by the polluted smog, hopefully we’ll visit again when it’s clearer. It was there we had our first Chinese Dim Sum meal, which included ‘1000 year egg’, tofu, dumplings and lots of tea!
We’ve spent the last two days in Hangzhou (Hong-jo) – a lake side area of the Zhejiang province. It is a week long national holiday in China so many people leave the cities and head to country tourism spots… and so there were masses of people in Hangzhou – it was similar to the first Saturday of the summer holidays at Alton Towers.
We spent the first day walking around the West Lake and on the second day visited the LingYin temples; they were a very impressive series of temples with giant Buddha statues and many Chinese people lighting incense and praying before them.
We’ve experienced quite a lot of staring and curiosity from locals, as Rob said ‘I’ve never felt so interesting’. Some people tried out their English by saying hello and we were asked by one family to asked to pose for a photo with their young daughters – feels very strange.
Yesterday afternoon we escaped the crowds by going into a village near the tea growing plantation. We enjoyed the view from the balcony of a private tea house and had dinner in a restaurant in the village.
We got arrived back in Shanghai at lunchtime and visited an area of independent shops, similar to Camden market, in the French Concession this afternoon. We bought some traditional Shanghainese ice cream and cake but didn’t feel pressured to buy any other goods.
Tomorrow morning we fly to Beijing for a few days and we’ll see how we get on in the Forbidden City and on the Great Wall without my aunt’s Chinese translation!