China was a huge shock because the level of English was zero! (This is not the case in Beijing or Shanghai). If it was not for a military police man we may have never got out of the airport!

You need a good phase book and any destination need to be written down in Chinese characters to show to the taxi driver, or the ticket office at the train or bus  station. Even the fact that you want a room in a hotel!

Food, well if it wasn't hanging up or someone else wasn't eating it so we could point, we didn't get it!


Boat unloading supplies Ceramic lamp posts

Xiamen is a wonderful place with enough of the old town still standing to appreciate how things must have once looked. Markets abound and old buildings are still being lived in. The island of Gulang Yui is a bonus.

Xiamen. The old & the new.

Narrow alley of Gulang Yu

Gulang Yu.The old Portuguese town on a little island off Xiamen is reachable by ferry. It has its old buildings, narrow streets and some laid back restaurants and bars. It's close proximity to Taiwan makes it busy with Taiwanese day trippers.

Shanghai. Didn’t like it! I think the LP is correct when it says it’s not a Chinese city! The famous Bung area is a bit like New York with 1920 style buildings in grey stone, very nice, but  disappointed that McDonalds and Starbucks abound.

With the size of the place and the number of discos and 'night clubs' it was hardly surprising that  I was offered women and drugs when walking along the street.

View from the Bund

The ferry from Xiamen to Gulang Yu. Lots of old buildings & stairs! Fish drying in the street

The famous Bund. Not a Chinese city, so they build one in the centre! The Chinese Garden

Nanjing. A great historical town that has its ancient city walls still largely in tact. It also has beautiful parks, a fun area near the university, and a lot of museums.We spent a day walking around the city walls and another walking through the wonderful park. We were too early to see the flowers in bloom, a feature of the park, but we did see the spring mists spreading around.

 The area around the university has a lot of western food and some cheap drinking places. It would be my choice to stay in this area if I went back. Of course it has it’s shopping street!

Main city walls Old buildings of jendezhen

Oh, by the by, Chinese wine is cheap and excellent!!!

Welcome to China! Great place & huge culture shock! No one spoke English & it was very difficult to get around or even order a meal! Not the cheap place for 'knock off' gear ( that's all exported!), the Chinese seem happy to pay for the real stuff and designer shops are everywhere!!You will need a good phase book!

Unbelievable as this sounds, it's true. We arrived at a hotel at 11 at night with our suitcases and could not get the receptionist to understand that we want a room! Gesticulations followed & she even wrote notes in Chinese thinking we could read it, even if we can't talk it! Fortunately, there was a sign, in Chinese, that looked like all hotels have stating their room rate, I only thought this because in the midst of all the Chinese we 2 numbers which seem reasonable amounts for a double & single room, so I pointed at it and then she understood!

Nanchang. No real reason to stay here except to visit the mountains, which we couldn’t do because of the weather. Just another big city with a large shopping center!

The main reason for coming here was to visit the mountain up in Luzon, but we not adequately prepared for the weather. Hookers abound! Had to send my girlfriend to answer the door to stop frequent calls of girls in tight fitting skits!!!

Jindezhen. It is the pottery centre of China and has been making ceramic since Ming times.

The town itself was just amazing. Streets of old buildings, still in use today, including the local dentist! The more modern part of town had enough ceramic shops for the world. Even the lamp posts are ceramic - amazing.

The wonderful Jindezhen. Old parts of the city still exist

The trip was very enjoyable and the people are very friendly, (beggars and anyone in a queue excepted!!) and the few that can talk English will stop and talk to you. In Nanchang, one man offered us his umbrella as it was raining. However, you do get stared at a lot, I mean a lot! People will shout ‘hello’ and when you reply they giggle and laugh. But it is all in good fun.

Veiw from train window

Chinese trains are really good. There is the choice of hard seat, soft seat, or sleeper. The sleepers are 6 bunks to a compartment. Scenery is amazing