China 2008, Wedding, Wall and more travel blog


After our big day at the wall yesterday I didn't really want to plan for an early start but thought if I got up in time would go to Mao's mausoleum to see his body ( a bit creepy but a bit cool). Obviously I needed some sleep as I didn't wake until about 9 ish and Nikki knocked on the door.

We went back to the silk market today, there were still presents to be bought for Tonys family and who can resist a bit more shopping. Plus Nikki wasn't having any joy bargaining shop keepers down for hair ties and was getting desperate for some new ones so knew she may have to pay Beijijng prices instead of ningbo ones.

I've now discovered that I can have just as much fun in the markets as everyone else but with the jewelry rather than clothes and the added bonus is jewellry doesn't take up as much space. We were also looking to see if we could find some more thermal pants for me, but in the end decided just to battle it out with my two pairs, washing them overnight every few days.

After the markets, Nikki had a hankering for MacDonalds (so much for my healthy eating plan over here :P) and tony wanted KFC again so we got the taxid river to drop us at MacDonalds and Tony headed straight back towards the hotel where there was a KFC close by and we walked back after collecting our lunch. Mel also came by to pick up the jumpers we had bought her and Liam at the Great Wall before they headed off to Shanghai to night

After lunch we all went back to Wanfujing street which is the main shopping street in the city, Mel showed us a little back street market she had discovered and Nikki and I had been looking for. We also went to the English language bookstore and I grabbed some novels for my train trips (oops, already finished them been back for more - need to choose some bigger harder to read books I think), and Nikki and Mel poured over the teaching english sections looking for some tools they could use in class. They also checked out some funky translator tools but Tony ran away a bit afraid Nikki would ask for money to get one :P

We kept walking down the street, checked out the flagship olympic merchandise store (not much fidderent to the other 10 merchandise stores on the street... And went to another bookstore where Mel wanted to buy a learn Mandarin cd package. While her, Niki and Tony explored the store I amused my self watching episodes of friends that were on TVs in the store (can you imagine the people who learn their english by watching shows like Friends, Sex and the city, heroes, prisonbreak etc (there were multi dvd packs for that purpose we think)

When we had a look at the little market we again marvelled at the variety of things you can buy on sticks that are called food... There was everything from seahorses to silk worms and even these bugs that looked suspiciously like the cockroaches we've been killing fr the last few days. No one was game to try any and Mel and I decided to go to Starbucks for a slightly overpriced coffee while NIkki and Tony headed back to the hotel.

Mel and I had another catch up about who knew who at Ernest Henry and some discussion on the ups and downs of the mining industry. After coffee Mel had to head back to pack herstuff up at the hostel and would meet us for dinner. I headed back to the hotel to find Nikki and Tony had bought me a "present" - On their way home they had decided to brave the stick food and (tony) had some silk worms, and left a few for me to taste - I declined. Nikki had had some fruit covered in Toffee whcih I also haven't had a chance to try yet but one of the guys on out tour was saying yesterday his were rotten whcih makes it a bit riskier than at first glance.

About 5:30pm we had a call from Mel letting us know that Liam had lost his train ticket and was there anything we (tony) could do to help. There was a bit of deja v u here as I had been through this only a few weeks ago with my damn passport but it seemed like LIam may have left it on his bedside table ritght next to the bin which gets emptied every day so chances are it was well and truly gone. The train tickets here aren't like air tickets either, if you lose the ticket you don't have one... So tony started ringing around agencys and the bus station (they didn't answer) and found a soft sleeper to Shanghai tonight at 8pm wfor 500Y but he would need to almost leave immiediaetly to get there in time, and after some more calling and specifically asking for seats or hard sleeper (cheaper seats) he found a seat on the fast train leaving at 11 the next morning for much cheaper (even counting a nother nights accomodation). So once that was decided on poor old tony had to head out and buy the ticket, and Mel came over to us to pick up the stuff she still hadn't taken and for some dinner.

We decided not to go too far and found a nice little restaurant across the road. The ordering was left up to Tony (with some input from the girls) and as usual the food was great.

After all the excitement it was another quiet night with some packing as Tony and Nikki would be off in the afternoon and wanted to get a haircut before leaving and had to help me book in to the hostel where my tour would leave from. (If tony didn't get a haircut today he can't cut it for a month after spring festival or somethin happens to his uncle)



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