Planning

So I have started planning my next trip to China.  It looks like it is going to be very rushed, and I have left it quite late, so some flights and so on are going to be more expensive than hoped.  But nevertheless, a number of people are expecting me to … read the rest...

Transport

With only one week until I leave, I have finally got all my transport booked:  four planes and five trains.

I say all, but that’s not quite true I suppose.  This is only the transport between cites, and does not include the leg to Hong Kong, where I will … read the rest...

Hello China, Hello Beijing

The day came to leave.  Still not really able to replace the nervousness/stress, that I always experience when preparing to travel, with any kind of excitement, I arrived at the airport.  The queue just to get bags checked-in was the longest I remember.  And it seems you have to queue … read the rest...

Beijing Zoo

Woke up really early, which is usual for me being on holiday despite being extra tired, and XR joined me with XJ for breakfast.

I was then able to rest for a short while before going to Beijing Zoo metro station to meet KY, who arrived shortly after I got … read the rest...

Blue Frog Surprise

This evening I went over to Jiangtai to meet SL, and we went to Blue Frog for dinner which was great. No apologies that I had “western” food again; I expect I will have Chinese food tomorrow.

Finally, just to remind me how small the world is, on the way … read the rest...

Jingshan Park

Today I woke up quite a lot later than yesterday and had to have a slightly more rushed breakfast in order to get to Jingshan Park to meet LY.  We had a lovely long walk up the hill to see the great views over Beijing on the “North Axis”, with … read the rest...

First Private Restaurant

For lunch, LY took me to the first privately owned and run restaurant in Beijing, in a back-street not far from the park, where they served traditional Chinese/Beijing dishes.  It was good.

LY shared with me a new drink, which is also supposed to be a traditional Beijing drink.  It’s … read the rest...

Old Beijing University

We had passed by the old building of Beijing University on the way to lunch, and decided to go back afterwards for a look inside.

There was an interesting sign for the toilet. A security guard saw us paying so much attention to it, and came to explain to LY … read the rest...

Street Sellers

On my way back to the metro, there were a couple of young ladies selling craft work to pay for their travels around Beijing, SS and JX. One of them is from Xi’an and has said she will ask her university friends if there is anyone who could show me … read the rest...

Badaling

Well, quite a day today! Up a little late again, rushed breakfast and headed to Huoying to meet YX. It was her (Gregorian) birthday today, which is why I was particularly glad that she was able to take the day off to go to the Great Wall. Yes, we have … read the rest...

Taiyanggong

Arriving back down from visiting the Great Wall, we were again accosted by drivers wanting to take us back. Ironically, yet perhaps not surprisingly, the price was now double. But I really wanted to get back to town to meet M and Y, so somewhat uncertainly finally decided to take … read the rest...

Coffee Station

A much more relaxed day today, although I had a slightly rushed breakfast because I got up late and needed to freshen up, pack and check-out before going to meet Y.  Y met me at the metro and we popped into KFC to meet her parents and her baby girl.  … read the rest...

Toilets

I don’t remember if I commented before on this topic, and I am sure many others have done so, but I feel I cannot pass by this point without doing so myself.

As a Westerner who thinks the standard of public toilets in the UK is bad (I avoid using … read the rest...

Xi’an Sleeper

Boarding the train, the numbering system was a little confusing, as there are three numbers outside each door, a big one and two smaller ones. Eventually I worked out that the ticket number referred to the little numbers, which is the berth (bed) number as there are two. There were … read the rest...

Terracotta Army

Arriving at Xi’an station, a man (I’ll call him P) approached me to ask if I need a car to go somewhere. I said no, that I would walk. After pressing me to find out where I was going, he pointed to my hotel and then asked if I want … read the rest...

Walls

With no plans today, I had a lazy morning, trying to catch up with this blog. In the early afternoon I decided I really ought to go and see something of the city, so I decided to take R’s suggestion of going to walk – or cycle if possible – … read the rest...

Tip in Pizza Hut

For my evening meal, I went to Pizza Hut again, as the hotel Western restaurant is still out of use.  I decided to have steak and chips this time though.  The staff there were incredibly helpful.  I needed to stay in contact with people as we were organising the meal … read the rest...

First Day in Chengdu

The journey to Chengdu started of very pleasant. Although, I was hoping to catch up on this blog, but most of the time was spent chatting about the meal in Chengdu this evening, and with the lady next to me who showed me a new translation tool in WeChat.

There … read the rest...

Tianfu Science

This morning I wandered over to Tianfu Square to have a look around and visit the museums.  In the square near the science museum I saw another type of panda – a Flower Panda.  So there are 大熊猫,小熊猫 and 花熊猫!

 

The Science and Technology museum is quite large.  I … read the rest...

Ears

In the afternoon I met up with C and her friend J, and we went to “narrow-wide street”, and Jin Li.
We visited a a tea-room to watch a show.  Afterwards on our way around we had our ears cleaned!

 

GY said C is super cute, so she is … read the rest...

Science Museum

Got up later than planned and took my time getting ready, and left for Tianfu Square at about 10.30am. I was going to go to the Chengdu Museum, but the queue looked quite long, and I didn’t want to waste my short time in it, so I returned to the … read the rest...

Maglev

Despite having taken off late we arrived in Shanghai on time, and soon I had found MacDonalds and Starbucks, where I met LX.  We went to the Maglev train to head into to town at over 300kph.

It was a little disappointing as it didn’t feel all that much different … read the rest...

The Number of Death

In the hotel in Shanghai I had my first experience of the missing dreaded number 4.

My room number was 1706, and I could see that the left-hand side of the corridor was odd numbers, I found 1705 on the left, 1710 and 1708 on the right, as I went … read the rest...

The Bund

I had hoped to see W today, my only day available to do so, but she was so persuasive that her workplace is too far away for me to go that I got the impression she didn’t really want to see me.  I was reasoning this through with myself this … read the rest...

Shanghai Friends 1

YW cooked lunch for me and we had a lovely hour or so joking and eating, after which I walked with her back to her university and then came back to the hotel to rest and freshen up for this evening.

 

On her moments: “有朋自远方来,he has a small face,照相还躲在后面”read the rest...

Wei Xiao Wei

In the evening G and I arrived back in Pudong.

 

We met up with LC and a bit later Wei Xiao Wei (微小薇) joined us.  Wei Xiao Wei is known as a 网红人 in China (literally, a “Network Red Person” – an Internet Celebrity).  I had helped her with … read the rest...

Hangzhou Day 1

So today I left Shanghai and arrived in Hangzhou.  The journey from Shanghai is not long, so there’s not much to say about it.  I took a couple of photos in the station at Shanghai and a short video on the journey.

In Hangzhou I met up with CL and … read the rest...

Ebenezer

This morning I had the joy of joining in the church service at the church I was part of for three months last year, and saw a few friends. 

I was disappointed to find out that Tesco opposite has become Vanguard, but apart from the name, the inside was pretty … read the rest...

Lessons Day 1

My first lesson back in Shinyway School.  A private lesson with JL.  I am so happy to see her, YH and CY again, and finally met ST (briefly) too.  I think with the arrival in Hangzhou, the couple of disappointments yesterday, and the humidity, which I can’t remember being as … read the rest...

Lessons Day 2

My first group lesson of the week.  We are six students all at slightly different levels in different areas, I think.  Our teacher, FH, remembered me from YH’s wedding last year.  I took some photos of her during the class.  She thinks they are not very good.  She is probably … read the rest...

Lessons Day 3

Today has been a very full, emotional day.

Of course it started out with another fun group lesson with teacher FH.

After class I met up with Wei Xiao Wei (微小薇)  who came all the way from Shanghai just to visit me!  We had a really great time together, although … read the rest...

Impression

It’s my penultimate day in Hangzhou.  How time flies!  I had my last lesson with my wonderful teacher, JL.  The lady barista at the school coffee shop also remembered me from nearly a year ago.  She said (in Chinese) “you came back!”.  Then, “Hot Chocolate?”  I guess I leave some … read the rest...

Bitter-Sweet

I’m going to be leaving Hangzhou in the morning.
It’s been a bitter-sweet day:  tough but enjoyable last lesson and great time with friends, but sad to say goodbye.
I will be leaving a large part of my heart in Hangzhou and with friends met here.

Group lesson with my … read the rest...

Hangzhou East

Heading to Putian today.  I picked up my train ticket and got through security with an hour to spare.  While waiting in the very short 取票排队 (ticket collection queue) I heard a couple of 外国人 (foreigner) women in front of me say they only had seven minutes…  They went to … read the rest...

Hangzhou To Wuyi

On the train to Putian I am surrounded by a group of Chinese people speaking English, from a pharmaceutical company, going on a weekend trip to 武夷山 (Wǔ yí shān, Wuyi Mountain).  The lady next to me is a manager, reading a book in English.

It is lovely to get … read the rest...

Smell

Well, it has happened again!  That lovely group got off the train, and were replaced by some guys.  It is not so pleasant.  There is a smell as if someone has trodden in some dog poo.   For nearly an hour already, and still one more hour to go read the rest...

Putian

Arriving in Putian.

This is just a “flying visit” to Putian – only here for one night to see EX’s school and get a feel for the place.

Thanks to EX for the welcome, showing me her school, and for arranging a happy meal with her mum and a couple … read the rest...

University

This morning it really felt like being in the countryside, rather than a city of nearly 2 million people.  Birds and crickets chirping, chickens clucking, and cockerel crowing.

After breakfast, EX took me to her church, then we had lunch and a look around the university.

 

Finally, EX drove … read the rest...

Lianhuashan Park

So happy to see MM today!  I hadn’t seen her for four years.
我四年没见的好朋友。

After lunch we went to Lianhuashan Park.  It was interesting to see the notices of people looking for a partner, although I think most of them are posted by the parents.

At the top of the … read the rest...

Alpha

MM took me to the large book and DVD shop I had been to the last time I visited Shenzhen, so that I could buy some more music CDs and TV series DVDs, because they are so expensive to buy in England, but very cheap in China.

We went to … read the rest...

The Peak

This morning I had a look around the area local to my hotel to try to find a barber’s or hairdresser.  Surprised to find the prices are similar, and in some cases more than, UK prices.  Ten times most places in China.  I also popped into HSBC to get a … read the rest...

Island Tour

 

A late breakfast.

I had seen a tourist desk in the foyer of my hotel, so I signed up for an island tour. 

In the afternoon I found myself alone on a tour bus, which would visit some other hotels to pick up more guests.

The tour took us … read the rest...

Epilogue

It’s been twenty months since this holiday.  I had hoped to return to China at least once.  Now we are facing a global pandemic, in lock-down, and it is barely possible to leave home, let alone go to another to country.  So finally I found time to get around to … read the rest...