The big winter holiday is over, all the good kids have returned to school.
Anyway, I shall write something about Xian and Shanghai (if I will be able to remember).
We took a train from Harbin to Shanghai which was 33 hours non-stop. And it was a normal (I mean with seats, not beds) train. It started to go in the morning so we had to withstand only one night (for me, a person who has trouble with falling asleep in a bed, it was torture) and two days. We got to Shanghai and after two hours or so we had the train to Xian. Most of you don’t know Chinese geography but Xian is closer to Harbin than Shanghai. We took the train to Shanghai first because there were no tickets straight to Xian… Anyway, the train to Xian was around 10 hours and again… sleeping on a train, torture. Also ‘fun’ were the two last hours (on every train, really) where people from cities not so far away from the destination got on and were just standing around so it was a bit hard to stand up to go to the bathroom or to make noodles. Also there are a lot of stalkers. The trains that we took are slow trains and foreigners probably don’t take those often so we get started at a lot. Especially on the train to Shanghai a couple of people started to talk to us and at the end there was a whole crowd of people just standing around and watching us talk. The funny thing was that almost everything we told were lies. For example, I’m from Canada, I’m 20 years old and I study in a university.
We had nothing planned for Xian. We just had some hostel’s address written down in pinyin (Chinese is latin letters (which is bad because Chinese sometimes don’t understand those so well and we couldn’t ask directions)) and that’s it. Since Xian is a famous tourist city there were a lot of tour guides at the train station and one started to talk with us and we decided that it’s ok to go with him. He drove us to one hotel where we could sleep all 5 people in one room with 3 beds. Also he offered us tours, of course, but we used him only for one day to go to a one boring museum, Li shan (mountains) and to see the Terracotta warriors. The others days we went by ourselves around the city where we went to a cool muslim street (we bought a lot of stuff there). The sellers there were so hilarious! Since there are a lot of tourists they learn a bit of every language and one seller was speaking Italian with Gabriele.
Also in Xian I got sick and it started a whole new story…
The last day Gabriele, Jake and Reetta went to climb another mountain (me and Ning stayed at the hotel) and when they returned the next day we went to the train station to take the train to Shanghai (and it was a night train, again, I haaaaate night trains!).
We arrived to Shanghai and Matteo (who was there all the time we were in Xian) met us and led us to our, very cool, hostel. It was very cheap and, as I mentioned before, cool!
Since Shanghai is not a historical city we didn’t really plan a lot and every day we just went to one place or so. But coming back to the story starting in Xian with me getting sick… everybody slowly started to get sick. 2 days before going back everyone was sick and we stayed at the hotel the whole day, except for Jake. One of the days we went to a city very near Shanghai (I can’t recall how it’s called thou, something like Zhu Jia Jiao) which is a water city, everybody calls it ‘China’s Venice’ but it wasn’t that great. I mean it was okay but the things that the city tour offered were so boring like art museums and stuff. The boat ride was fun but so short. I must say that we didn’t really see a lot of Shanghai and I regret that but I guess there’s nothing we could do, we got sick. The last day Jake made me and Gabriele to go with him to another city Suzhou. We went with him but it turned out to be boring. We went to one famous garden (which was beautiful, yes, but, I think, not worth the whole ride) and then we wanted to find a lake and if we could ride a boat around it or something but we went to the wrong lake (we only take buses by asking random people ‘how to get there’) and the weather was bad, it started to rain. So the only thing that we did in Suzhou was the garden. We returned to Shanghai around 7:30pm and went straight to the hotel. We had to wake up at 4am to take the plane (yesss, no more trains!) to Harbin at 8:15am. Actually we arrived at 1st March (the first day of school) because we told our teacher that we couldn’t find tickets for the day before.
The next day, which was Friday, me, Jake, Gabriele and Matteo went to Ning’s home for dinner with her family and in the end everybody stayed there for the night.