Time to get my blog on again!
This year has certainly gone fast!! It’s now less than 3 months until I say goodbye to China and only about 5 weeks until I say hello to being a lady of leisure.
It’s safe to say that I’m pretty excited, although leaving China will also be quite sad; it’s managed to push and shove its way in and take a special place in my heart. I’ve found it such a liberating and inspiring place, but enough of the cheesy reminiscing before I’ve even left…
However, with that all said… It’s only natural that I have started kicking my butt to get out and about again.
If I didn’t blog about it, did it really happen? I better start blogging again just in case! But I’m giving up any hope of impressing you with my fine grammar and spelling.
After the winter weather finally left (and thankfully my bad mood and thick fleece onesie) I got a second wind and have thus far enjoyed a somewhat free and easy Spring / Summer in Shanghai.
A Summer of dabbling is perhaps an appropriate description….spending my time eating out, doing yoga, riding my bicycle around the French concession, meeting new friends, learning Reiki, dating boys, painting, eating ice cream, dancing and enjoying as much as I can fit into my days…
So here I am now. I have a month of summer left, I’m a few Kg’s heavier (trying really hard not to care about it, but my Chinese Physio said I must lose 10kg by the time I come and see her again in 4 weeks!! WTF) and feeling ready to pull back a little on the whole social butterfly thing in order explore!! I have a keen urge to start playing the piano again, but I’m temporarily putting that part of my (earlyish) midlife crisis to the side. Focus Sarah Focus.
Here are a couple of cool trips worth a mention…
European Weekend Away in Monganshan
I met a diverse bunch of awesome people camping on the Great Wall (post to follow soon) and re-connected with some old hiking buddies. After the trip we decided to do a weekend away together and the French, Spanish and Italians would all have a chance to cook for us… we ate a lot and I contributed nothing (which was quite nice I have to say).
FYI – Moganshan is a mountain top tourist region near Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China.
Here are a couple of pics from the weekend (not all mine) with a great bunch of people and good old China doing its best to impress in the nature stakes yet again!
Eating, a central theme
The Guesthouse we rented
We stopped eating long enough to get our hike on
Great new friends
The local tea
Even the bus ride was fun
Luxi River Hike, Zhejiang Provence.
This place is about 7 hours’ drive from Shanghai, so quite the effort for a weekend but thankfully I have a strong ability to sleep so it wasn’t so bad.
The plan for Saturday was to hike/walk/fall/swim along the river all day long, end up a very basic camp site on the river bank, have a little bonfire party and then trek again for 1/2 the day Sunday.
All went as planned; although as part and parcel of most good adventures we faced a few challenges.
We left Shanghai a bit late on Friday and due to some road rules, it meant we couldn’t reach the guest house. This meant we pitched out tents at a gas station / truck stop. Not the most fun I’ve had, but so be it… we had to wake up after not enough sleep and continue to the river.
The day was hot (almost 40 degrees) and with a terrible night’s sleep and early start it was a tough day. Walking along a river seems easy, but actually it’s killer on your feet and ankles, to the point where you feel they are going to snap. At times it feels like utter punishment, but the river is so refreshing and the colour of the water is incredible so you can’t help but enjoy yourself.
At one point in the river there were a whole lot of dead fish everywhere…. We were a little concerned, but it was so hot that we still swum… hoping for the best and deciding that it wasn’t due to some river pollution issue. We found out later it wasn’t… phew.
We got to the river camping spot and our guide promptly stripped off his attire (weirdly he wore long pants and short shirt all day…. He barely perspired) right down to just his underpants. The hilarious thing was he became our waiter; bring us home cooked Chinese food in nothing but a little pair of jocks.
We ended up later on joining a group of Chinese locals who were listening very loudly to Maria Carey… it was too tempting to ignore.
So off 3 of us went, barely anyone out of the 3 of us speaking enough Chinese but we hung out.
At one point our friend had a dance off to Thriller with a 50 year old Chinese guy. I impressed the group by eating a whole Chilli (which in seconds I regretted) and then we sang some Mariah whilst they filmed us.
They wanted so bad for us to be good singers, but we were terrible… they persisted told us we were good and should sing louder in broken English/ miming. In the end I just had to communicate in the only way I knew how… belting out ‘Hero’ as loud as I could… let my scratchy off key voice explain… bedtime happened soon after.
Safe to say the first night lacked ambiance
The struggle was real
Anyway that’s that for the trip and this post for that matter. Until next time.