A Travellerspoint blog

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Day 30 China - Beijing (+8 GMT)

sunny 6 °C

We docked early this morning in Xingang, but it took a very long time to get through customs - our trip to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City was over an hour late leaving the dockside.

During the 2.5/3hr drive to Beijing, our guide Phyllis told us a lot about China - topics ranged from prices of apartments in Xingang and Beijing, only being allowed to use their car 6 days out of 7 (sounds familiar!) and family planning (numbers of children allowed, fines they have to pay and the 'no identity card' status for the illegal children), and the Chinese flag (the red symbolises blood).

We stopped for lunch at a hotel in Beijing - we had banana fritters and soup as a starter! and then more traditional dishes for the main course.

Our first sightseeing stop was Tienanmen Square. This is the largest public square in the world capable of accommodating over a million people.
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From the Square, we used the subway to cross the road and went into The Forbidden City. The city covers 250 acres and is full of winged-roof pavilions and palaces guarded by carved lions, marble bridges and open-air courtyards.

The city originally took 14 years to build and is nearly 600 years old. The building are currently undergoing a 14 year renovation programme timed to finish for the 600th anniversary. The gold in the patterns is actually gold leaf, so the renovations are costing China a lot of money.
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The figures on the corner of a building tell you how important that building is - not counting the fairy on a dragon at the edge and the fairy at the other end, you can see 9 figures here. Nine is a lucky number in China and that indicates this is the most important building
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We visited the courtyard of the Palace of Gathering Excellence where the Empress and Imperial concubines lived.
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The Imperial Palace gardens are full of limestone, the rocks are thrown in to water for a few years to create the holes and then used as decorations.
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Posted by RobBuckley 00:27 Archived in China Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Day 31 China - Dalian (+8 GMT)

sunny 3 °C

Dalian is situated at the very southern tip of the Liaodong Peninsula and is mainly a beach resort. There isn't a great deal to do or see in the winter. The 'Friendship Store' provided a free shuttle bus to their store (which was very expensive!) but at least it got you into town easily.

We walked around the town, visiting Zhongshan square (mostly under some some of renovation and Friendship square.
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We had an interesting pantomine session in a Chinese pharmacy to get something for my ezcema. Still we got anti-histamine tablets, anti-ich powders and cream all for about £5.

We decided to rest our feet for a bit at stop at Starbucks for Tea and a quick go on the internet. Unfortunately Facebook and Bluyonder emails were blocked, so we were a little limited. As we were sitting there, 2 guys dressed in camouflage and aiming shotguns just walked in, they seem to some sort of security although maybe they didn't like the coffee!

Posted by RobBuckley 00:27 Archived in China Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Day 32 - At Sea

semi-overcast 5 °C

We had a fairly relaxed quiet day at sea but it was party night in the evening. All the chefs paraded through the dining room this evening and there was a champagne fountain in the Tahitian lounge.

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Posted by RobBuckley 00:42 Archived in China Tagged round_the_world Comments (2)

Day 33 China - Shanghai (+8 GMT)

sunny 14 °C

When we docked in Shanghai this morning, the ship had sailed 3323.3 nautical miles.

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We disembarked at 10am, and got a taxi to the Central Hotel - it was £1.20 for about a 10 min drive. The view from the 27th floor was pretty good, but it made Rob change his rule about using the stairs rather than the lift!

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We finally managed to get a proxy server to access Facebook Lite, which allowed us to see and post comments but no access to any applications. Access to the BBC News web site was very intermittent too.

We walked along Nanjing road down towards the Bund and then walked back past the hotel to Peoples Square and Remin Park. You get pestered fairly frequently by people selling watches, handbags and DVDs.

Remin Park had a few funfair type rides and beautiful gardens with ponds and bridges. The Magnolia trees were in full bloom but sadly it was a little early for most other flowers.

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We ate in a local noodle bar, but I'm not convinced my chicken really was chicken!

As you can see Nanjing road is fairly colourful at night.

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Posted by RobBuckley 09:25 Archived in China Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Day 34 China - Shanghai to Hangzhou (+8 GMT)

semi-overcast 14 °C

This morning we visited the Jade Buddha temple.

The temple was full of people burning incense and praying to the numerous gold statues.

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The two white jade buddha statues came from Burma in 1882 and a temple was built to enshrine them. The sitting Jade Buddha is unusual as it is 1.95 metres tall, weighs 3 tonnes and is carved out of one piece of jade. The reclining buddha is much smaller. The photo here is of a much larger reclining Buddha made of marble, donated from Singapore, as you can not photograph the original, smaller piece.

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We wandered slowly back to the hotel via the Sculpture Park and caught a Taxi to train station (under £5 for at least a 40 minute drive) ready for our train to Hangzhou. The station was run very much like an airport, you wait in the lounge until your train is ready and only then can you get onto the platform. The 1hr 20 minute journey cost under £6 and we reached speeds of 170km.

Posted by RobBuckley 10:52 Archived in China Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

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