Summary of the trip so far

I’ve been wanting to blog more about the time spent with the choir on tour. I used the schedule provided by Chris Howlett (the tour organiser) to produce this summary. At the moment it is very difficult to upload photos and I’m hoping that when we get to East Croydon I can devote some time to writing more about our time in China with lots of photos.

The featured image shows what we did this morning. Stephen rested and I did two large loads of washing.

Monday 30th April, 2018

We left Perth on Sunday night, actually early Monday morning, arriving in Beijing in the afternoon. This part of our journey was arranged by China Odyssey. We stayed at the Howard Johnson Hotel and were able to pick up our tickets for the fast train to Qufu at the railway station very close by.

Tuesday 1st May, 2018

We travelled to Qufu by G train and made our way by private car rather than taxi to the hotel as we couldn’t find the taxi stand. We went for a walk late in the day.

Wednesday 2nd May, 2018

We went on a guided tour to Taishan. Guide’s name was Kevin. He knew of Kevin Rudd by his Chinese name only.

Thursday 3rd May, 2018

We explored Confucious sites, then travelled to Shanghai late in the afternoon via G train. We were given our tickets by our guide the previous day. We arrived at the hotel where the rest of the group were staying and we were greeted by Annie who was managing the tour for the first few days.

Friday 4th May, 2018

We went with the group to a tour of a Shanghai Museum. We had lunch near the hotel. The choir sang at a concert at the Shanghai Poly Theatre. We had a meal at a restaurant on the way back to the hotel.

Saturday 5th May, 2018

We went to the Urban Planning Museum in the morning, had lunch on the Bund with the choir and afternoon tea in the cafe at the Fairmont Peace Hotel. Had dinner at a restaurant near hotel.

Sunday 6th May, 2018

We went to an art museum by the underground/overground railway on our own. We organised our own lunch. The choir sang at the Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre. We had dinner near the hotel.

Monday 7th May, 2018

We travelled to Suzhou by bus and had the afternoon off to explore. A reality TV program was being filmed at the shopping centre next door and it was closed off.

Tuesday 8th May, 2018

We went to the Humble Administrator’s Garden. Some of the choir went to the Silk Market.

Wednesday 9th May, 2018

We went to the Suzhou Museum. Stephen and I caught the underground to a nearby beauty spot and went for a walk before catching a taxi home.

In Suzhou we ate at nearby restaurants where we could walk, rather than have to go by bus.

Thursday 10th May, 2018

We travelled to Nanjing by bus. We had a break at the resort in a lovely location. Good toilets and snacks.

In the afternoon we went to the Ming Xiaoling Tomb and Scenic Area.

Friday 11th May, 2018

In the morning we went to the Nanjing Art and History Museum. In the evening the choir sang at the Nanjing Grand Theatre.

Saturday 12th May, 2018

We travelled as a group by fast train to Beijing. In the evening the choir sang at the Remnin University Theatre. The support group found a nice cafe nearby.

Sunday 13th May, 2018

We went with the choir to Tianamen Square and the Forbidden City. We had the afternoon off. At the evening banquet we had Peking Duck.

Monday 14th May, 2018

The choir went off to see the Great Wall. We had a rest and a walk to the Bird’s Nest in the evening.

Tuesday 15th May, 2018

We went to the China Museum near Tiananmen Square. We met Felix for a meal in the evening. Stephen had a cold.

Wednesday 16th May, 2018

We flew to Chongqing and took a taxi to Jiefangbei. Booked in to our hotel. We had a meal with Della and Tony in the evening. Stephen still had a cold.

Thursday 17th May, 2018

We have had a restful day. I did two loads of washing and was able to hang much of it on the guard rails of our floor to ceiling window. Stephen has a cold and I have had a headache off and on. We went to an underground restaurant for lunch.

Dao da Chongqing

We arrived in Chongqing yesterday afternoon. It was 36 degrees and our taxi driver dropped us off about 700 metres from the hotel. That doesn’t sound a lot, but dragging all our stuff in the heat was pretty trying. When we arrived we were told that our water (2 bottles a day as standard in Chinese hotels) was in the fridge getting cold. It was very welcome, as you can imagine.

When we were planning the trip I had looked at apartment style hotels, but they seemed expensive after our normal $40 per night hotels when travelling in China. But, we have had had pretty good accommodation on the tour, and then paid 1500 rmb for a two night extension at our last hotel in Beijing, so 3000 rmb for five nights seemed quite a bargain. For the money we get breakfast, including Western items such as toast and cereal, and a studio apartment with a small kitchen and a washing machine tucked away in cupboard.

We met with Della and Tony for a lovely meal at a nearby restaurant. We had lots of catching up to do, as well as enjoying beautifully presented and delicious food. We had not been able to find the little supermarket we used to go to before meeting with them, so Della and Tony showed us where it is, tucked away downstairs. There is another one nearby that is more upmarket and has some Western foods. Not that I think we will need it.

On Tuesday we went to the China National Museum where I spent my time in the lovely cafe whilst Stephen went exploring. In the evening we had arranged to go out with Stephen’s former student, Felix (English name, not his real name). There was quite a lot of rain, some very heavy, in the afternoon and evening, so we were dodging showers. The rain didn’t seem to affect the smog very much. We enjoyed catching up and he did his best to understand us – he said he doesn’t get opportunities to speak English, and I felt he managed extremely well.

Our room in Chongqing decorated with our washing.