July 25, 2009
July 24, 2009
We were pretty tired when we arrived, having left Shanghai early in the morning, and not getting much sleep. Perhaps sensing this, our guide walked us all the way to check-in. They certainly make sure you get where you’re going…
Last time I was in Hong Kong, the airport was in the middle of the city, and you could look into people’s apartments when you landed. With the aiport having been moved, it’s less nerve-wracking, but far less exciting. Still, we found the hotel easily enough. It was raining when we arrived, a steady drizzle that blurred out the passing skyline, but it didn’t last long. (More after the jump…)
July 22, 2009
Walked around on our own. No guide, thankfully.
Found the Propaganda Poster museum. Great stuff. Strange location.
Found American bar, watched A’s vs Yankees. Strange, as we were both wearing respective caps.
Walked around. Pizza again. Lots of offers for hookers.
Early night in, then hoped to get some sleep.
July 22, 2009
Arrived early. Stig in foul mood due to roomies shifting around through night.
Guide meets us. Took us to hotel. Asked if we want to relax, we said yes. OK, we’d get one hour.
After leaving the hotel, we hit traffic instantly. It was overcast, and you couldn’t even see where the sun was. An eclipse was about to occur as well, and all of a sudden, it was darker, the darker still, and then night fell on the city for a few minutes. It was very strange, the first total eclipse of the sun that I’ve ever experienced. The Danes we met on the train to Xian were Shanghai bound for that event specifically. They even showed us the custom glasses they were going to use.
Anyway, the heavens opened. We dropped walking around the Bund, and headed to the East side of the river instead, with the TV tower and fancy new buildings. The view was great and we managed to beat the worst of the queue. Shanghai looks like something out of a science fiction movie. (More after the jump…)
July 21, 2009
Just like whining before a party you don’t much want to go to, my last post seemed to dispel the worst of my fears for the looong night. Actually got some sleep, at least a few winks here and there, and arrived Shanghai reasonably sane. My back is shot again, and I smell like an outhouse, but I don’t feel overly homicidal. All I can add to that is: thank God for Iain M. Banks and Bill Hicks.
July 21, 2009
So I’m on the train from Xian to Shanghai, and my buddy and I found ourselves sharing a tiny room in a so-called “soft sleeper” – a misnomer, to be sure – with three generations of Chinese women. Mom, her mom, and the youngest. They seem nice enough, but it’s still pretty awkward. The ride is roughly 14 hours, and I doubt I’ll sleep more now than on the previous stretch. Not to mention the fact that it’s scorching hot, with the mercury steadily climbing upwards. All in all, this is the longest haul on the trip, and the one I dread the most. By the end of the last ride, we all had serious cabin fever. This is the sort of environment that always leads to massacres in b-movies. The ladies seem as weirded out as us, so it’ll certainly be an interesting 14 hours. See you on the flipside.
July 19, 2009
So. Yesterday was longer than thought. Woke up, and was very tired. We finished packing our bags, then headed down to the lobby where the guide was waiting for us.
To the Han tomb. Saw a satelite tomb that had been excavated. Impressive. Not quite the Terracotta Army, but still. The satelite tombs were not supposed to be walkable, so they were just filled in. The mausoleum itself was still unearthed and will be for a while yet. When you think about it, it’s a tad ridiculous when there are so many buried treasures that you can’t get around to excavating them all.
Back to Xian for lunch. Shu took us to to a dumpling den for a proper feast. And I mean feast. Dumplings. More dumplings. Duuuuumplings! We got something like 5 plates of the stuff. We ate and we ate. I felt myself growing ever-outwards, but now at higher velocity than ever before.Our guide asked how we liked it, and when we asked about the quantity, she said “it’s about ten plates” and my eyes started bugging. That I fucked up on the chil when I mixed the sauce didn’t help either. I felt as if I glowed, and I’m sure it looked that way also. It was a huge meal, but also one of the best we’d enjoyed on the trip, so it was worth it. The size made it a lifesaver before a long train journey too. (More after the jump…)
Xi’an. Station slightly less crazy than Beijing, but not much. Guide was cute girl whose command of English was less than Beijing guide.
The heat: wow.
Dropped us off at hotel. We finally got a room. Relaxed for a few hours after breakfast (Danish friends avoided us), then was picked up at 2. Headed to the Museum, but first lunch.
Lots of fascinating stuff. We kept lying and saying we’d seen all the jade factories and such, so as not to have to walk around the stores again. Museum was great, though. Strange to think that by the time the Chinese had an entire empire on its feet, my ancestors had barely figured out how to fling feces at one another.
After Museum, we went to the big goose pagoda.
After that, food again. We urned down offer of foot massage. Restaurant deserted, and we were still full. Damn. So: foot massage after all.
Pretty girl rubbed me down. My ticklishness made for a tense session, but it did feel good.
To finish evening, dance show. Very pretty. A flute tune about pigeons in flight threatened to pierce my ear drum, but I got through it.
No convenience store around in which to buy snacks. Boo. Twitter’s blocked. Facebook is shut off, too.