The intrepid Aimee Groom (aka DFH) is on holiday in the UK and France, but in her absence we'll MEET THE GROOMS! Think of it a China Travel Reality TV holiday special (without the TV).So, without further ado, please Meet John and Lesley Groom, the backpackers with a bus pass. In December 2008, this intrepid pair of Shanghai, Zhejiang, Anhui, Taiwan, Fujian, Guizhou and Jiangsu.In honor of the second anniversary of their trip, we're publishing the emails that kept friends and family back home entertained along the way, starting with Christmas Day. >>>
Sent: Thu, January 1, 2009 1:23:26 PM
Subject: Travels in China cont'd.
Shanghai was bloody cold. Government policy is—live north of the Yangtze River put on heating, live south of river put on a jumper. We've got all the clothes on that we brought with us.
Traveling south it gets warmer, then wet. Then warm and wet. Then wet and cold.
Got a nice Buick car. FCUK is good careful driver. DFH is quite good at changing the CDs (it’s that or listen to Chinese radio!!). However she seems to be going down with bird flu and probably won't be with us much longer. Will have to train up a replacement!
Seems to be some respect for old people. But illusions were shattered when the kids child-locked us in the car and then a pompous little Chinaman refused to accept our bus passes to get us into a temple half price.
The traffic is horrendous, especially at night when the millions of electric scooters drive without lights to save their batteries.
The Chinese are busy building motorways everywhere. This breeds heroes—the brave souls who sweep the motorways (all three lanes!) with nothing but a broom for protection. In any event there seems a shortage of cones and often those you do see are bandaged up with tape.
The accommodation is good and everywhere including the youth hostel has had automatic closing toilet seats that actually work!!
So we have done the temples on Putuoshan Island, Ningbo, and Shaoxing where the highlight was a bicycle padlocked to a sofa (or it might have been a sofa padlocked to a bicycle!) We also went through an area where they seem to compete to put the tallest model of the Eiffel Tower on the roof.
Now at nice hotel in the middle of nowhere on One Thousand Island Lake—which is just about what it says on the tin! We are the only guests they have and it’s pretty isolated. The nearest civilization is a crazy Chinaman living on a small boat with about a hundred dogs.
Tomorrow we are off to the holy mountain Huang Shan. Tell you about that in due course.