Photos and stories about my expat experience in China, currently in Bejing.
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Food, last days in Nepal and back in China

Waiting in Kathmandu, with nothing to do... After ten or so days I finally received my Chinese visa and so could book a flight to Shanghai. The travel agent we booked with was a bit dodgy. He gave us one confirmed ticket and one stand-by ticket. Only 10 minutes before check in closed did we manage to get a seat on the flight back to China. We first flew from Kathmandu to Lhasa, flying over Mt. Everest, then in Lhasa I had to do my immigration things, taking one hour. After that another 2 hour flight to Chengdu, in Sichuan province, some more waiting, and the final flight of two hours to Shanghai. We left at 10:00 AM and arrived in Shanghai nearly at midnight.
Now I am in Qingdao. The city that was founded by Germans, hence beer everywhere. The famous Tsingtao beer is produced here, and sold from nearly every type of shop, restaurant or BBQ stand. A plastic bag (!) of 2L costs 0,80 Euro.

An old Catholic church in the old town.

Qingdao is located on a peninsula, and there are many beaches. Some people are selling illigal coral and shells on the beach. All the restaurants sell sea food and very cheap barbecue.

BBQ & Beer

In Shanghai we had two days to catch up with old friends, and also celebrate my belated birthday, as we spent the whole day on my birthday in the airplane.

A huge margarita which we shared with the eight of us
Good times
We spent one day in Suzhou, where we treated ourselves to a 100 RMB, all-you-can-eat food & drink feast in a Japanese restaurant. Their deal is that we could order whatever from the menu, but if we didn't finish eating the dishes, we should pay for it. I have never eaten so much raw fish in my life, as during those three hours that we stayed there! Really delicious. I decided to dedicate this post to Japanese food.
The above picture is of two glasses of plum wine, which was included too.
These are bai guo (white fruit). They are a kind of fruit, green on the inside and served hot and with salt.
One of the many dishes we ordered.
The trick is to eat slowly, as to let our stomachs deal with all the food. We couldn't waste anything of course.

This is not tea. It is fish soup. Inside the tea pot are all kinds of sea food.

Salmon, salmon, salmon; my favourite
More salmon and other fish and wasabi ; We ordered this dish three times.
Could not get enough of it!
After three hours we were so full that we couldn't walk anymore.
(Strangely enough, later that night, we had another huge meal of BBQ meat with friends.)

View from our hostel in Shanghai; quite different from Kathmandu...

OK, one more picture of fish
This is Lhasa. Really? no, it is Lhasa airport. I never saw the actual city, as the airport is located quite far from the city. Anyways, the views were still amazing.
The temperature was 13 degrees (we came from 28 in Kathmandu) and the altitude 5000 or more. The captain warned us against altitude sickness, and I felt all my movements became slower and cost more energy.
The airport is very small and there were no other people than the ones on our flight. The security was very strict. (They took our toothpaste!) and I had to fill out numerous forms and declarations. I didn't even enter Tibet, it was only a transfer.
Anyways, back in the air. We flew over the Himalayas, which produced some stunning views.
I actually saw Everest, but no photos
The flight took two hours
Some more pictures from Kathmandu. We went to a cinema which was good fun. They showed a very cheesy Bollywood-style movie. The hall was packed with people; old young, rich and poor. The most interesting thing was that the audience participated. Everytime something 'good' happened in the movie, everybody applauded, wissled and screamed. That movie took almost three hours and cost 0,60 Euro
Masks for sale on the street
Inside the 'Via Via' cafe. Cocktails 1 Euro each!
Colorful rugs for sale on a local market

When it was time to leave, we had to pay our hotel bill (13 days + eating and drinking on credit) and two flights. We needed thousands of Rupees in cash. 100 Rupees is 1 Euro.
1 Euro-cocktail
In October there is a 15 day festival in Nepal called Dashain. It is similar to the New Year. In the first weekend, many families eat goat meat, and so it was for sale everywhere.
Local marketplace
Not entirely sure what this stuff is meant for, but during the festival it was for sale everywhere.
Outisde the cinema a man was selling Cokes and water in these old fashioned bottles
My stomach was already killing me at that time, so I didn't dare to try it
Ancient game machines
Another gaming machine outside the cinema

Friday, October 03, 2008

Chitwan National Park

Back in Kathmandu from Chitwan National Park. I am now waiting for the Chinese festival week to end, so I can apply (again) for a Chinese visa. Wish me luck! ;)

Old fasioned scale somewhere along the road.

Man selling fruit
Sunset in Chitwan Nationial Park.
The bus ride back to the city shoudl have taken only five hours, but twelve hours later we finally arrived. All the way there was stop & go traffic, as hundreds (if not thousands) of busses and trucks were leaving the city for the weekend. Covered in dust and sweat we arrived back in Kathmandu, just half an hour before all the hotels close for the night.
We stopped for more than one hour somewhere along the way due to some accident. I saw three trucks laying upside down on the road, and many more acciodents with motorbikes along the way. The traffic in this country is truly crazy.

Our last night in the National Park. A group of students from a nearby town had come for a day out. They'd bought a goat in the village, which they beheaded and cooked over a fire. Later there was dancing and singing, and we all had a good time.
Ice cream seller by the road.
Black chili peppers; never seen that before ;) (really really spicy!)
Commercials for this (disgusting) Dutch beer everywhere around Nepal

Crazy insect in the jungle

Our daily meal: "Nepali set curry"
Elephants in the National park
More elephants
Petrol station along the way