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Blog - Category: Travel

By marksams, 04/17/2010 - 05:57

Sushi, Sushi, Sushi! So fresh it's nearly unbelievable; never seen anything like it in the UK. I say nearly unbelievable because we did visit the Tsukiji Fish Market and saw the scale of their fishing operation for ourselves. Unfortunately it's obvious why the Tuna fish are endangered.

Ramen - we should eat more of this! Noodles in a broth, normally topped with spring onion, tempura prawn or other meat

Yakatori...Japanese name for a chicken skewers; tasty all the same

By juliesams, 03/24/2010 - 12:00

In Beijing we stayed in a very friendly hostel in the heart of the city, within walking distance of Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City. We headed straight there on our first day in Beijing, and, once we got through the security check area, took in the vast (world's largest) square which although filled with tourists (mainly Chinese), still had plenty of space to walk around. It was quite cold, hazy, and windy, but we did not realise until the next day that the reddish haze had been the first signs of the sandstorm which hit large areas of northern China.

By marksams, 03/24/2010 - 11:59

It has to be said, Xian was a pleasant surprise. After a couple of weeks of travelling around China, I was becoming slightly jaded and had lowered my expectations accordingly. However, after another overnight train we reached the sunny, warm and almost accepting city of Xian. I say almost, there were still the usual stares and glares but not so many as we had experienced down South.

By marksams, 03/24/2010 - 11:54

After being persuaded to go to Xi'an via Wuhan, we decided en-route (and after reading the lonely planet guide on loan from another tourist) that it made sense to head for Shanghai. Xi'an could wait a few days whilst we escaped the tourist trail and enjoyed a city break.

By marksams, 03/10/2010 - 07:44

We spent 3 days on a river boat cruising down the Yangtze River. We travelled 1st class, but all that really meant was that Julie and I were the only people in our 2-berth. The trains seemed better, cleaner and warmer than the boat, but being on the water made a nice change to the tracks.

We departed from ChongQing, and as we headed towards Yichang the scenery got better and better as we entered the 'Three Gorges'.

By marksams, 03/09/2010 - 07:31

After a 26 hour train journey in a 'soft berth sleeper', we arrived at Chengdu station late afternoon. Again, we were met by crowds and crowds of people swarming around the station and overflowing onto the square and surrounding streets with all their luggage as if some sort of mass displacement of refugees were taking place. This has been the first impression now of all stations that we have passed through - Guangzhou, Guilin and Chengdu. At all three stations, police and soldiers have been present in force to contain the masses and control the crowds.

By marksams, 03/09/2010 - 07:29

Yangshuo was our first destination inside China. Since leaving Hong Kong we've managed to learn a few words of Chinese (thanks to Byki and Rosetta Stone on the netbook) and found the people to be very friendly. We really appreciate the ability of all train ticket office staff so far to speak English as the main stations are hectic.

By juliesams, 03/09/2010 - 07:26

Lesson 1, Safari
If you sit in the front seat of the jeep, remember to duck when you see a large cobweb spanning the road ahead. Huge spider on lap at 6am = wake up call.

Lesson 2, Hong Kong
Dumplings on the street stalls are served in baskets of 4. When asked if you would like one, answer yes please. Do not answer that you would like 4, else you will end up with 16 dumplings.

Lesson 3, China
Queuing politely, as only the British know how, means you will never get served.

By juliesams, 03/09/2010 - 07:24

It has to be said that the Chinese stare a lot. I don't mean a quick glance here and there when they think you are not looking, I mean stare as in glare. Now I appreciate that Mark and I may appear a little funny looking in our white skin, travelling clothes and carrying our rucksacks, but really, do you need to stare that much? I have 2 ways now to deal with this.

1) I stare back. This turns into a game of who can out stare each other.
2) I smile at them.