Holidays Our little holiday diary

China Part One

We had a good flight from Manchester to Heathrow and then an excellent if rather long flight (eleven and a half hours) to Pudong Airport in Shanghai on Virgin, and then it went down hill. It started off when we arrived at Shanghai Airport, the queue to get through immigration was horrendous (and probably still is) it took forever (over 4 hours to be accurate). We believe the delays were due mainly down to their inability to speak much English. When we booked this holiday, the travel agent told us that a lot of English was spoken out there. (Nil points to the travel agent). When we eventually got through, it came over the tannoy that our luggage was on carousel 9 but by the time we got through everyone else had got theirs and the carousel was deserted. After wandering up and down the main hall of the airport and getting passed from pillar to post, we were getting nowhere trying to find our cases, purely by luck we spotted them next to a deserted kiosk. Then, we couldn't make anyone understand that we were lost. We were supposed to have been met by a courier but we couldn’t find one anywhere. We finally found someone to help us (a lady at the Hilton Hotel desk) who spoke a little English. Luckily I had torn a page out of the holiday brochure which gave us the name of the hotel where we were staying. (The Holiday Inn) She wrote a note in Chinese for a taxi to take us to our hotel. (This is the note on the right) Phew! So from the airport to the hotel it took over 4 hours. Very, very scary. When we got to the hotel, our courier was there and she said that she thought we had missed the flight so didn’t bother waiting.

It turned out there was only four of us on the Virgin Holiday flight from England so for the rest of the holiday we were with a very nice couple called David and Mary, they live in the Midlands (Burton on Trent). We all got on famously. Wouldn't it have been awful being landed with people who we didn't get on with? It was far better than just being the two of us and the guides. (What is it with us and the number 4?)

Day 1. As it happened it was the only afternoon we had free, (the rest of the trip was spent looking at sites and only being taken to shops where the guides got a bung and we had to pay top wack for pressies. We went for a little wander from the hotel looking for something to eat. We found a KFC shop

The Shopping Mall

very close by in a shopping mall. We chose that because we weren't confident enough to eat the "foreign muck" as Eric calls it.. No one spoke English and we managed to cock it up between us. Luckily we just pointed to the picture of chicken and chips. (We couldn’t even point properly in Chinese) We did sort it out eventually. In the evening, we were taken to a Chinese acrobat show, it was very good. We even bought the DVD which turned out to be very amateurish. (conned may be a better word) Eric could have done just as well with his video.

Day 2. Our guide Hattie took us to a museum, left us there for quite a time….during which we bought a few presents…. boring, then on to a river cruise for one and a half hours, it poured down. The Shanghai skyline was fantastic, took loads of pics. We then went to a silk making factory and got shown the process from worm to….. a very expensive shop. Next, was the Jade temple with the reclining Buddha (4 meters long) carved out of a single piece of Jade, it was amazing, as was the rest of the temple. However, wherever we looked, we were being harassed to buy. Stuff ‘em, no bung for Hattie. She recommended we go to the riverside for a grand firework display, we think it was something to do with a Chinese National Holiday, that didn’t stop it from really pouring down all day. Obviously, the whole population of Shanghai turned out. Somehow or other, there were no fireworks, we never did find out why. Nobody spoke English… as usual. After fighting the whole of Shanghai to get a taxi back to the hotel, it took nearly an hour to get one. So we wasted three and a half hours and got soaking wet. However, we did negotiate two umbrellas for a pittance. Maybe Hattie’s revenge!!

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