29th April 2005 - hong kong
rather then spending £90 on a 27 hour train journey, we opted for £150 for an hour flight, then an hour ferry straight into the harbour. as expected it's nuts, but nuts in a way that didn't surprise me. after china, hong kong, though twice as bright and twice as busy as shanghai, everything is in english, everyone speaks english, they drive on the left, they have manners, everything is logical - it's about as chinese as china town.
so as you may have expected stretch and i inspected the night life for 4 days straight... in short: why on earth would i want to move back to london?
4th May 2005 - yangshou backpacker mecca
on our first day here we met some travelers who said they'd come to yangshou for a few days and hadn't managed to leave (2 years later). what's so great about it? a few hours later i was offered a job, somewhere to live and carried on drinking in a funky western run bar into the wee hours. more like thailand than china, i started to understand.
on our second day we found our selves a few hundred meters into a mountain side, in a mineral mud bath of all places. it was a beautiful relief from the permanent humidity.
tomorrow we're on a 20 hour bus journey to somewhere. why the fuck i agreed to get on a bus for 20 hours when i could fly for only £30 extra, i have no idea...
2005 - buses, horns and stage fright
yesterday we took our luxury 20 hour bus from yangshou to chengdu, firstly a 20 hours bus is never 20 hours, it took 25, and luxury really only meant that i had somewhere to sit. we left at 4 pm and we reached the mountains by midnight, it was a shame i only saw the last of them as we were coming down in the morning. the mountain roads are made of novelty concrete, the ride was loud, bouncy and uncomfortable there really was no chance of sleep. of course stretch slept. he can sleep anywhere. never more have i wanted to wake someone up purely out of spite.
the journey gave me enough time to make some observations;
at night in the mountains drivers flash their lights before over taking, this makes sense, they also flash their lights while over taking, before corners, while going round corners, while over taking going round corners and at on coming traffic - i'm not joking, i was sat at the front and being constantly blinded. from 6am the 6 reasons lights were used we're replaced by the horn. the horn, as i could tell was located inside the bus and the only good thing was that it momentarily blocked out the monotonous telephone hold music that the driver and his buddy seemed to be getting down to.
i don't think i've ever been pleasantly surprised by a petrol station toilet, and i don't think it's going to happen in china. on our journey i found myself in a small brick hut big enough for about three people. there were six of us in there looking into a ditch around the edge, this ditch was full to the top with human feces of varying ages. even in england i'm not the biggest fan of men packed shoulder to shoulder, pissing into a stainless steel trough, all that splash back on your shoes and jeans. but this is china, not even a stainless steel trough! to my surprise the guy next to me, turns around drops his pants and squats. i presume it wasn't to listen to the back of my hand, but it may have well been. i consider how much splashing there will be and what it will be splashing from, and fortunately for my new white shirted friend, i got stage fright and had to retire to the bus pretending i couldn't handle the smell. fortunately for me i had a cold and couldn't smell a thing. stretch could smell perfectly, i guess there is some justice!
as quoted by phyllis on her blog! chinese / english (translated by babel fish)
7th May 2005
went to see the pandas. i really enjoyed it!
(large picture is different)
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