ahh..to be free of the p.r.c. !
kickin back in tokyo right now, so we can finish what we started in previous post. apologies for earlier entries descending into a an incoherent mess. you gotta be in the mood, and have at least a slight plan of action, before you start this blog nonsense, otherwise you lose the will to live pretty quickly. the pain we are putting ourselves through for you people..jeez! he he..
(just realised we cant upload any pix on pc we`re using right now..aarrrgghh! mmm, right i`ll type for a bit then next post will be a pic fest. hows that sound?)
so hong kong marked the end of the road for the epic rail journey. still cant quite believe we did it. st. petersberg to hong kong by rail, over the space of a month. we tried to kind of work it out and it must be around 10,000km (?) (between a third/halfway round the globe? tried to put route in a straight line across my pocket global map and it crossed 10 time zones..wtf?!). can anybody confirm this? if so, you can win the bootleg copy of lonely planet we bought in china, and we`ll throw in the 25 upside down pages too..lol!
hong kong itself was ace. very cosmopolitan (a hangover of its past obviously) and a very tangible difference to mainland china. was amazing just getting to eat a bacon sandwich again after a month (with fekkin white bread and heinz ketchup...get in my son!). shopping to die for too, prob the cheapest place on earth to pick up electronic/photo equipment. man if this wasn`t a backpacking trip...grr.. oh yeah, managed to get a good pint of guinness too here (in a salsa bar of all places..eh?!).
had the best street food experience there too, totally made up for the pain we suffered at the hands of the street chefs in xi`an! total juxtoposition between that (real hongkong), and the bar we ended up drinking in later the same night (big banking/business hongkong). lychee martinis and whisky sours outta this world, on at least the 25th floor, overlooking hongkong island skyline, trust us it doesn`t get much better (though at 7quid a drink you better have the reserve visa card ready..he he!). seems a lifetime ago now we were listening to traditional throat singing in mongolia! oh yeah, and another thing, you know you`ve been away from wee norn iron for a while when a city of 7 million feels small!
shanghai...whore of the orient...culture vaccuum...the p.r.c.`s financial capital...built by the british on the back of the drugs business...consumed with trying to surpass hong kong - believe us this place (and inparticular the nanjing road, off the bund) will suck you dry! on it`s supersonic way up over the last few years something just feels like it`s missing. something between the lines. we just let the place slip by and counted down the days to hong kong. the one thing that blew our minds however we cant really show y`all. it`s a 3 minute video we took of a journey under the haungpu river. little capsules that travel through an audio/visual experience thats straight outta total recall (with comedy pidgin english, and so bad theyre mind blowing effects & props). best 4quid each we spent in shanghai for sure! (felt a bit bad actually `cause a guy i kinda elbowed outta the way after (to get a good shot of the bund at night) was one of the czech special olympics team...ooops!) in fact just one other thing that was new to us, a karaoke-hooker bar. you get to sing with her before you pay...funny as fek!
xi`an...ancient capital...my my my. if it wasn`t for the terracotta warriors, the qin mausoleum (and the other quality cultural sights), etc etc around this city we would have gave it the slip. dirty, crowded, people coughin up a lung everywhere...in fact words can`t express the filth, or how happy we were to ditch the place. `nuff said!
...well you guys got the picture previously about beijing. we loved it. one other fact just picked up, the municipal area of the city is the size of belgium. belgium! (btw the biggest city in this country has a population of over 30million... getting used to the scale over here is hard work!). was concious of the fact that the government in the prc employ around 30,000 people (alledgedly) to monitor internet content. eg bbc site is blocked, wikipedia etc. so we feel we can more accurately describe the place now (man, that sounds paranoid, doesnt it?!). officially the most polluted place on earth (i started smoking again here to give my lungs a break...plus it was 32pence for a 20pack!), so god help the olympic athletes. the venues may be real cool, but there gonna be a lotta cardiac arrests around the place! but we had a real blast, walking tianenmen sq, the forbidden palace (forbidden? heres me whaa...theres only a fekkin starbucks in it ffs!) etc etc, and overall we would be back in shot! gonna miss the little hutong streets and bars...ahhh...memories! lmao.
so that was the p.r.c. ...if the black devil dont get ya the golden monkey will! (the 2 brands of cigarettes i was smoking there). the one thing that will stay with us though is everybody asleep on the job. receptionists, waiters everybody. even saw someone asleep on a bike! this country might be pulling itself up by the bootstraps at an almighty pace, but surely a few hours kip wouldn`t go amiss people..
so now we`re sat in the net cafe of our tokyo hotel. about to hit the streets. can`t wait. love the place already, used the can there and it had a control panel on it from the future! we need to get these toilets to norn iron pronto! and the guy in reception just said ok boss to me..he he!
so if you made it this far you deserve a jim`l fix it badge. give yerself a pat on the back! and we`l try and update the land of the rising sun leg (and put up some kinda pic overload post) before we leave for bangkok (2 weeks). so before we sign off here, just aone more thing:
...it`s 20 days to the wedding!
so bubba if your reading this, can you get those suit pix emailed over asap so i can get a dodgy copy knocked up in bangkok? ta mate.