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If you have followed our holidays to date, you'll notice that they always have, at some point, sand, sea and sun. You may wonder then what we were doing visiting China in January.

Really very simple, when our youngest daughter told us she had a teaching job in Rui'an China Jo said "oh that's ok, we'll pop over to see you for your birthday". Not exactly just down the road, is it? 

Arrived in Shanghai on a bright day, but very cold,  -5C at night and 0C during the day with strong gusting winds adding to the chill factor. 

Dropped our bags of bags the Astor House Hotel and then spent hours walking around Shanghai City Centre getting the lay of the land. Did notice that the non Chinese were few and far apart.

I suppose Shanghai is much like any other modern city, all glass and concrete but managed to visit most of the tourist attractions, although a lot were reconstructions as many were destroyed in the Opium Wars.

Tongli (an ancient water village)

I suppose the big events for us in Shanghai were our daughter's birthday, New Year's Eve on the Bund (we even met some Europeans) Yuyuan Gardens and our day trip to Tongli, an ancient water town. 

We decided to take the coach to Wenzhou during the day, as opposed to over night, so we could see some rural China, but no sooner had we left Shanghai and clouds rolled in and the skies opened. Finally, after a boring 6 hour coach, we reach Wenzhou and grab a taxi to our hotel in Rui'an, near our daughter's flat.


Rui'an

Wenzhou

Rui'an is, apparently, a small town of just 1.12 million people and it had been reported that there were less than a dozen foreigners living there. As we walked around the town, it become obvious that this was true. Parents would pick up their children and point at us. That felt really very, very, strange.   

Spent several days sight-seeing in Rui,an and Wenzhou before returning to Shanghai.

Odds 'n' Ends

To be honest we didn't really think much of China but tourism wasn't the purpose for our visit but it was certainly an experience.

One last note on how strange thing can happen. We had eaten in one particular restaurant several times and although the staff waited on us properly we were treated as foreigners. On our last visit as I rolled a post dinner cigarette, one waiter became very chatty and we tried each others rolling tobacco and as we chatted away in pigeon English he produced from his pocket his stash of dope. I still don't know if he was selling or just showing off or what.

Football and roll-ups are good ice breakers.



Chinese New Year on the Bund, Shanghai.

Old Shanghai.

Wenzhou and Rui’an

Rui'an is, apparently, a small town of just 1.12 million people and it had been reported that there were less than a dozen foreigners living there. As we walked around the town, it become obvious that this was true. Parents would pick up their children and point at us. That felt really very, very, strange.  

China 2009