Doria --the gal who can't speak chinese!
So, Xian...our favourite city since we have been in China. It was such a wonderful city..and we had a lot of fun in and around it.
We climbed Mt Hua Shan...which was a feat, making it to the South Peak of 2160m..and quite picturesque.We also got to place our locks (Locks are found all the way up to the various peaks) on the top of the south peak (the highest) FOREVER!!! We also biked on the city wall that encompasses the city...it was fun, a bit bumpy and a great way to see the city. We also saw the 8th Wonder of the World!...the Terracotta warriors. They are amazing, so old, so well preserved...and well, just check out the pics!..you'll see. Hard to believe they were found in such a good state...being buried approx 30 m below the ground for the best part of 2000 years.
We left our beloved Xian via an overnight train, which turned out to be the way to travel..quite comfy and easy to sleep on! (better for me because i was on the bottom bunk...Melissa and Clint were on the very top, which is 3 beds up!--cramped!
We made it to Shanghai, China's biggest city...and wow...hard to get a taxi.. We later found out that certain colored taxi's go to certain areas of the city and therefore we had to find the right one!...its not that we were foreign and they didn't want to take us! Shanghai is quite a nice city, HUGE, with all the ammenities of Western Culture (Starbucks, McDonalds, KFC, big big Shopping malls-they are HUGE there!..like 10floors or more high). The most famous area is The Bund, the river that flows through the city. Its disgusting to say the least...very very dirty, first thing we saw was a floating condom! But at night, its at its best...tons of neon lights and big buildings....quite beautiful then! A great place to walk..and check out the sights. We also shopped a lot!...but not your typical shopping!...we checked out basically all of the black market (back alley goodness)..shops in a very busy shopping area of Shanghai. We were telling THEM what prices we wanted and what Prada, Gucci, bags/wallets, watches etc. were the best!! We all found a few great items, at great prices..SOOO cheap...it was awesome!
We had a bit of trouble leaving Shanghai, as we missed our very much advanced time flight (10hrs!)...the one deadline we had and we screwed it up! haha But, our trusty travel agent got us booked on another flight out 2 days later...and we had a very pleasant flight to Hong Kong! It beat the other option of another overnight 24hr train ride. It also meant we were able to take the 430km/hr Maglev train to the airport!...a VERY nice way to travel....30kms in 6 minutes! Very sweet!
So, we made it to Hong Kong and found it to be much more tropical, warmer and VERY modern/western. They even had a Shell gas station...and..Walmart! We also found it to be VERY expensive, especially because we were coming into the weekend. We toured the HongKong underground via the Subway, looking for different tourist sites..but found mostly crowded shopping areas and way too many people! Our last night we met up with an old friend of mine from LCBI (high school) days...Leo Wu. He took us out for a nice dinner of Peking duck, wonton soup, and other various delicious chinese dishes. It was the best chinese food we have had since we have arrived in China, made better by the great Harbour view and the fact that he ordered it all for us! We then toured the Harbour, which is quite beautiful at night..walked the Chinese Hollywood Boulevard!(many stars included! ie: Jackie Chan, Jet Li etc.)
We are now very happy to be in Guangzhou...a smaller (but still MAJOR) city. It is called China's Los Angeles! We are staying on the Shamian island portion of the city..which is quite quaint, quiet and very tropical! The weather just keeps getting warmer and warmer!..and more humid. We love it! It is a very European island..with influence in the architecture, food, and the total feel of the place. We don't feel like we are in China. Its also interesting because many American families come here to live for a month after adopting Chinese female children. There are TONS of them..just like the lonely planet said there would be...amazing! We have found out that the Lonely Planet is the bible...!
Tis all for now...we are very much looking forward to the South of China and all of the mountaineering, boat trips and biking we get to do around it! Will share more later! Take care
Bye from Team DMC