At last, the final installment of the trip to China. (Click on 'China' under 'Labels' for all the previous posts). When I last left off we were in Guilin and had arrived there in a rainstorm. Arriving at the airport for our evening flight to Shanghai, it was again raining but this time the heavens opened, rain lashing against the roofs and windows of the airport with thunder and lightning for dramatic effect. Result - all flights cancelled. So we settled into the chairs (others were not so lucky) and waited. And waited. There were rumours we would be bused to a hotel for an overnight stay but eventually, at 2.30am after a seven hour wait, we were the last plane out.
Instead of a day in Shanghai and overnight in Tongli, we swapped the itinerary and (after a few hours nap at the hotel) drove straight to Tongli. It was overcast and raining, it didn't look promising!
In the morning though, it brightened up and the place was transformed.
We took a tour of the town in these canal boats - the group filled up all of these! Again, we passed fishermen with their performing cormorants.
In the a little square there was a stage with some opera singers giving a performance watched by the tourists and workers. The ladies with the towels on their heads sweep the streets.
At the end of this hectic trip, it was lovely to have time to wander around at our own pace and take everything in. There were lots of lovely run down old shops and stalls and it had a very relaxed atmosphere.
One of the little shops directly opposite our small hotel, goods for the tourist market.
I wonder how these taste?
Standing outside the hotel, it was interesting to watch the world go by!
One of the tour guide's detours, this time to a silk factory. I had expected something much more high tech but the machines used reminded me of something Wallace and Gromit might have invented. The strands of silk were so fine it was nearly impossible to see them, just the cocoons dancing around in the water, but they are just visible here.
A trip to an old traditional house that had belonged to a rich merchant (and I have forgotten the name of). This bonsai tree in the courtyard looked like a work of art.
The next day in Shanghai we were free to do whatever we wanted so we went to the Jin Mao Tower to check out the view from the observation deck. The sheer size of it from the ground looking up was incredible. I've never seen anything this tall!
And this is even taller - the Shanghai World Financial Center, almost next door! We watched some construction workers putting in plate glass windows, standing on the edge with nothing to stop them falling, reaching out to guide the huge windows in as the crane lowered them. It was quite surreal.
Wonderful views. After that we took the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel (a sort of psychedelic light show!) to the other side of the river and joined the millions of shoppers on what is called the 'No 1 commercial street in China', Nanjing Road. Funnily enough I found this much more pleasant than the visit to the shopping area of the 'old town', although this may have been because it was a Sunday and there were so many people there, there was barely room to move! At the end of the day, for our last meal I was hoping for some great Chinese food, but by that stage most of the group had had enough of the food so we all met up at...TGI Friday's!
I mentioned the journey back in a previous post - it took about 24 hours in total and the exhaustion was showing. Apparently, one of the stewards on the last leg from Paris to Geneva asked where we were travelling from as we looked so tired - but as one of them looked at me with surprise as we got on, that may have meant me, I looked and felt completely wrecked! It was quite some time before I recovered so I don't have any plans for any long trips in the future, not at least until my memory fails me!