China 2008

How do you sum up a month of travels in so many words?  There are too many!  It was month of fantastic travels, fabulous food and family…not mine, but Davy’s.  And a whole lot of family it was.  Every city that we went to, there were either family members or friends of the family who were more than happy to invite us out to meals or take us sight seeing.  Never in my life had I been so catered to.  It was amazing.

The Hong Kong skyline was the most beautiful skyline I’ve ever seen.  So many buildings, so many lights in so many colors.  The pace of the city took a bit of adjusting to coming from Auckland where everything coasts on the back of a snail.  Even though we were on holiday, there was no time for relaxation, which was fine by me.  Holiday time is meant to be spent sight seeing and fitting as much as you can into one day.  Hong Kong was theme parks and shopping…and more shopping!

Guangzhou was all about scrumptious food.  I had durian!  We took a detour one day to Panyu and stayed in the most fabulous resort that had white tigers roaming around in a glass enclosure outside of the restaurant.  Crazy.  The twenty hour train ride to Shanghai was shit.  Most of the time was spent lazing around trying to sleep.  We did have a fun round of cards where Davy’s parents lost and had to sing a song each.  Shanghai was totally about being catered to.  Personal drivers, fancy meals in fancy restaurants and tours with personal guides.  We even got to board the harbour cruise boat first before everyone and stay in a private section at the front of the boat which included it’s own grand piano.  Our big event in Shanghai were courtside seats at the USA vs. Australia basketball game.  So many NBA stars only a arms length away; I could have slapped Lebron James in the ass were I not afraid of being thrown in a Chinese prison.

The unexpected surprise for me was about a week long detour to the old capital cities of China.  Suzhou – Nanjing – Kaifeng  – Henan – Xi’an.  So much culture and history.  It was a challenge to try and absorb it all.  Got to see a couple of fantastic shows.  One was about the history of the Song dynasty and the other about the Shaolin Temple.  And I got to go to the actual temple!  Different from what I expected, but still awesome.  The backdrop was breathtaking.  The last leg of this detour brought us to a showdown with the famed Terracotta wariors of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.  We had the edge though due to our moveable limbs and resistence to crumbling.  They did have fearsome [clay] horses though!

I was anticipating Beijing during the entire trip.  I couldn’t wait to see the palaces, the Great Wall and of course the OLYMPICS!  The whole of China was abuzz with Olympic fever.  There were olympic signs and souvenirs in every town that we went.  Thanks to connections and kindness, we received tickets to two events as gifts.  We saw two volleyball games and got to go to the bird nest to see track and field.  We also purchased tickets to see two basketball sessions, one featured team USA and one featured team China.  I wanted to see a badminton game and we attempted to score some tickets outside of the stadium, but got there too late.  A highlight for me in Beijing was my little jog on the Great Wall, an item on my adventure list.  Beijing was defintely all about the Olympics though, oh and the duck, mmmm.  Yummy crispy skin.  Oooh and fantastic lamb hot pot.

After a typhoon delay which granted us our only day of rest, we were back in Guangzhou for a few days and then Hong Kong for shopping, shopping and more shopping.  We were actually 10kgs over our weight limit when we returned, but thanks to Davy’s mom, we were given an extended weight allowance on the plane so we got to keep all of our stuff!  I had the time of my life in China and I can’t wait to go back and see more of the country.

It was then back to NZ, back to the Fat Camel, back to work and back to a few days of finding a new flat.  Hurray for normalcy.

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