A Travellerspoint blog

We were on TV!

sunny 10 °C

Shanghai Live, on ICS, the International Channel in Shanghai.... epic footage here.

We are now in Busan, South Korea with PJ.

Posted by theelman 19:15 Archived in China Tagged shanghai Comments (0)

Shanghai Nights

After the general nothingness of Chongqing, Shanghai has been a revelation. The city is huge, but vibrant. It has a fantastic feel to it, combining the relatively rustic 30s Bund area of old Shanghai, and the French Concession with some of the tallest most modern buildings in the world in Pudong.

Shanghai feels modern and organised whilst still having a unique Chinese feel. We have been centred around Nanjing Road which is the biggest shopping street in China. Ness got some UGGs from a back alley for 200rmb down from the initial 1250rmb. She did well! Nanjing Road has some amazing shopping "sights". From a Louis Vuitton shop with a giant classic Louis Vuitton travel bag the size of a large house on the side, to the impressive Ferrari showroom, and even a showroom with a Pagani Zonda and a Gumbert Apollo. Rare cars.

However Shanghai is not all about shopping. We met Anyao who I lived with in Essex. Was really nice to see where he worked and he took us for some super Shanghainese cuisine. Shanghai food tends to be sweeter, a welcome break from the numbing pain of the Sichuan hot pot. Sticky sweet sauced pork ribs being a personal favourite. Before the meal whilst waiting in the enormas lobby at Anyao's building we had fun watching two floor cleaners frantically mopping up as any single person walked in or out. Footprints are clearly frowned upon at the Asia HQ for LOreal.

Anyao gave us some great tips, we headed to Qibao a old town area outside of the main area, and also the Zoo. We also experienced the Latern Festival which was an impressive display of Chinese culture of incredible public light displays, and amazing amounts of people pushing.
The Zoo was fantastic for the animals, but horrific for the people. Despite numerous signs, it was seriously disturbing to watch the visitors feed the animals, like bears and monkeys sweets, crisps, processed meat I wouldnt eat and even throwing coins on crocodiles. What is worse people of all ages were doing this. Parents would break off a bit of plastic looking food and give to their babies to hand down to the bears who were literally on 2 legs begging. Their was even much laughter when a bear got its tongue stuck in a plastic bottle. Every Western tourist we saw was rightfully horrified by what we saw. Such a shame as you can get so close to some animals like the Red Panda and get super pics.

Back to the great parts of Shanghai, we met up with Aiden and Jess again from Xian. Together we went up the Jinmao Tower, which is the second tallest building in Shanghai. It offered incredible views of Shanghai as well as the Finance Centre which looks like a bottle opener. We went up at the perfect time so we saw Shanghai in the day and night. The lighting was superb.

Shanghai is an incredible city which I would love to spend more time in. It is easily the best place we have visited, and offers so much variety.

Posted by theelman 22:36 Comments (1)

Chongqing

There is little to say about Chongqing. The only thing of note is that besides the fact you have probably never heard of it, it is one of the biggest cities in the world. Including the connected towns it now forms one large city of 23 million. Yet despite this it has no redeeming features or anything going for it. A few people go there to get river cruises for the Yangtze, but other than that it was dull grey hilly mass of skyscrapers.

However to make locals and tourists actually take pictures literally all the town is lit up at night. From trees on footpaths to massive skyscrapers. It does look good at night all lit up, but so does Hong Kong and Shanghai and they are actually cities with something going for them.

The best part about Chongqing was the random cable car which goes in between the skyscrapers and over the river. It gives you a unique view of things.

A personal highlight for us was getting a cheap flight to Shanghai and Korea. haha

Posted by theelman 22:36 Comments (0)

The Biggest Buddha in the world and actual countryside!

rain 9 °C

The past few days have allowed us to see something not seen before in China. Rain! Our trip to the Leshan Buddha, the tallest in the world was impressive. Built into the rock to calm the river it stands, well sits at 80m. A person is about the size of its toe. The whole area is very serene but painful on my unexercised calves! Being on the side of a cliff the area is littered with steps.

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After a rest day we are currently on a train arriving in Chongqing. If you include the surrounding towns it is home to 23 million people. The trip inbetween sees farming women looking up at the fast train from there paddy fields. A long way from the Prada and Hugo Boss suit shops of Chengdu! Due to weather we may not cruise the Yangtze. Depends on the visibility.
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Train is coming into Chongqing now...

Posted by theelman 22:31 Archived in China Tagged leshan Comments (0)

Chengdu - Hot! HOT!

sunny 10 °C

Chengdu greeted us with an army of taxi drivers who can't read so refused to take us to our hostel. Great start at five in the morning. So with little sleep and a lot of walking down unfamiliar empty Chinese roads we set out to walk to our hostel.

Chengdu is a huge city in terms of population, 5m and in the size of its buildings. The main downtown area was built up by ex criminals. When China declared making money is good, most people with government jobs stayed in them due to security and benefits. The only people without these jobs were ex convicts. Enterprising convicts opened shops and became very rich. So much so that many still own the land which now house giant shopping plazas.

After a disorientated first day we did a bike tour of the city with our hostel. So like Alastair Humphreys we set off in search of adventure on our bikes.
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We saw some really unique parts of the city, including a Chinese Catholic Church and a stunning park of bamboo. The bamboo park looks really unique thanks to the sprawling bamboo branches. Many of which are larger than your hand wide. Makes a refreshing change.

Later we went through the local fish market. It was grim. The smell was as you can imagine, however the sights, possibly not. On display were turtles openly trying to escape. As well as lots of shark fins. They even had a chopped up crocodile. What's wrong with roast beef?

Later in the evening we went out with a group for an infamous sichuen hotpot. As we walked into the exclusively Chinese restaurant we were all stared at. Always amusing. But it was us who were soon staring, at the sheer mountain of chillies and peppers. As you know I love chilies but this was something else. Sichuen cooking mixes spices with a numbing style spice. Within a few bites of the spicy cabbage and your lips are numb. All in all its a great experience but it lacks flavour. The numbing taste is too over powering.
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Finally today we went to see the Panda Breeding centre. It was fantastic. The pandas especially the babies were too cute. My pictures when I finally get decent internet will say more than I ever could.
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In a few days we head to Chonqing to see the river tours. Hopefully we will go to Leshan to see the world's largest Buddha.

Posted by theelman 04:46 Archived in China Tagged chengdu Comments (1)

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