As my friends left for Shanghai I decided to stay a couple of nights more in Yangshuo. The place is nice and before emersing myself into huge cities (Shanghai, Tokyo, etc.) I figured it would be nice to spend so more time in a rather small and quiet place. Although the latter is debatable, specially during the Golden Week!
The hostel was as expected booked out, but the staff got me another room across the street. After hauling my stuff over there I went for Kayaking on Li River with a group of people from the US. There are quite some young Americans spending around a year in China as english teachers, since they get pretty good conditions and also in this way they can bridge the rather difficult economic and job environment at home.
The Kayaking was pretty cool and finally it actually was peaceful and serene! No annoying engines, just us happily paddling along…
In the evening I chilled at the roof top bar with some BBQ and playing pool. Also some guys from Iceland showed me how that dice game the Chinese play at bars works. Now I just have to learn to count, add and multiply in Chinese… I’m stuck at 10 for the moment.
Wednesday was relaxing and resting. Spent some time at Kelly’s Place, which is a nice little restaurant where we ended up around twice a day with my friends Ramsus and Jörg. She has tasty milk shakes and from the first day I was working on getting her make me a coffee and oreo milkshake. She has a nice banana and oreo milk shake and the coffee one is also good, thus I was pretty sure that my combination wouldn’t be too bad either. Thus after insisting one more time I finally got it on the fourth day, and it was good. She is considering taking it up in the menu. The day ended… you guessed it, at the roof top bar.
Next day after a breakfast – at Kelly’s of course – I took the bus back to Guilin. During the trip I read the last chapters of Das Ende ist mein Anfang by Tiziano Terzani, which has been a wonderful travel companion during these first days of exploring the Far East. I was very moved as I closed the book and can whole-heartedly recommend it. It certainly wasn’t the last book I’ve read from Terzani and I might come back to the subject in another post.
My flight to Shanghai the next day was in the evening, leaving me some time to walk around Guilin a last time and go see the Solitary Beauty Peak, which used to be a prince city. I have to admit that one of the highlights was an information sign. It lists the Chinese Citizen Domestic Travel Civilized Behaviour Convention. Catchy, isn’t it? The purpose states:
To construct civilized & harmonious tourist environment, affect every travaller’s benefits, we have obligation to obey this convention.
My favorite phrases are:
The idea of having a Cappucino before getting into the plane died, as I checked the prices. Somehow this beverage seems to be very exotic here, not actually surprising. But for some cryptical reason airports charge, as observed in Guilin and also in Guangzhou before that, an exorbitant 68 RMB (= 10 CHF !) for one cup! I think this easily challenges prices at Marcus Square in Venice…
OK, so this is Shanghai, where I have been the last 48 hours and will stay until the 19th of this month. This city is crazy! However, in many ways much facade and somehow a feeling to doubt there is much behind it. The city has a short history and culturally speaking it hasn’t too much to offer. Sometimes it just gives the impression of being one giant shopping and eating temple. There are already more skyscrapers here than in New York and there are many more to come, counting the construction sites around the place. Everything is short-lived and I think any travel guide on this city is out-dated before printing has even started. But of course it is also very interesting and the contrasts around the city are striking. I have not yet been to the World Expo, which I also expect to be fairly impressive. However, this has to wait a little. I will be visiting another event this week, which will be competing with the Expo for the allocation of my time here: the ATP Shanghai Masters 1000! Got myself a series ticket for this tournament featuring all Top 20 players. I’ll have a first look around tomorrow and follow the start of Stanislas Wawrinka into the competition facing Gilles Simon on the Centre Court!
Yesterday was Saturday, thus Rasmus had some serious plans for the evening. It all started at a Sichuan restaurant with other german interns and went on at the VUE bar at the Hyatt. The bar sits on top of the hotel on the 32 floor and boasts a wonderful view over the city (as you can see in the picture above). After that we went to a club at the Fuxing Park called Muse at Park where we danced the night away, almost. The club features an aquarium with some small sharks, but I’m told that they like that here. It’s not unique, other locations have larger ones (both the aquarium and the sharks). Of course!
Today (Sunday) we had a look around a location called 1933 Shanghai, excellent place! Originally used as abattoir, this building with a very particular architecture now hosts restaurants and shops, some with very creative and beautiful stuff. A good spot to stroll around a Sunday afternoon. Sometimes it is also used for events, such an occasion would certainly be worth a visit as well.
Ok then, the next post will most certainly be about Tennis and the Expo.
See you then