Monday 18th October 2010
Today began with a less than great breakfast. It was cold and our first wet day since leaving home (apart from the one on the train). Donnie and Cath had decided to chill around the hotel. I wanted to get tshirts for the troops so we headed "into town". We went to the huge indoor market in the centre. I am sooooo chuffed with the glitsy D & G one for Danni that I haggled very hard for. I'm sure she'll love it. We then headed for the railway museum but it was closed for renovation. We wandered around and saw some really interesting sights
We had arranged to meet just inside the building at the taxi drop off point. I think not! The railway staion was bigger than Heathrow terminals 1 and 2 together. The taxi had to drop us off at the opposite side of the road and we got the footbridge over. I was just texting Cath when they appeared. We left 8 mins after them and arrived 4 mins before them. We had a maniac driver and they had a nice sedate one. Our train was listed to depart from platform 9. We arrived there to discover that it was a huge waiting area which had 3 times the number of folk than the co-op on a busy summer Saturday.
We were the only western faces around. People took great delight in staring at us quite openly and not just briefly either. One guy who gawped was asked by John if he had had a good look. The guy had the good grace to look decidedly sheepish. He actually looked a bit like an Oriental version of Ken Macdonald. We were being deafened by a cacophony of noise when it was tripled and 3 different voices tried to compete against each other for the loudest announcement simultaneously. We laughed, and laughed again and again. I did take some video so hope it gives a flavour of the assault on the ears. We were still laughing at that when 2 girls came up and asked if they could take our photo 'cos one of them really liked us! Of course, being the celebrities that we are we agreed. We posed for several photos in front of a gathering crowd! Next to us was a couple with 2 young children. The youngest was only a baby of about 14 months. Still in nappies you might think. Not a bit of it. This wee mite was warmly dressed but with trousers open at the rear = presumably their nappy free contribution to the environment! Donnie was not impressed! Our hour and a half in the "waiting area" passed in a flash!!
We're now aboard our first truly Chinese train. Definitely 3 star plus. Steamer trunks stowed, drinks poured, and blog now done. Happy days.