A Travellerspoint blog

Our first trip into Hangzhou

sunny 29 °C

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A group of 9 of us decided we would do a road trip/bus trip to the Ikea store. We caught a bus to Hangzhou , which is an hour and a half away and decided to have lunch there. It was a westernized restaurant that had rugby on, maybe we will visit this place for big games in the future. Rox and I had a pizza and quesadillas, was great. Others had the buffet which we will have next time for you get drinks and desert as well which lasts from 10:30 till 3:30. Can see us have big parties here in the future. We then took the subway to the area called Quising where the Ikea store is. We all shopped for about an hour and a half and bought lots of house items, was fun. We had a lot of stuff so we all decided to take 3 taxis home which would take us 1 hour and 15 mins instead of around 2 and a half hours. It cost us way more, 100 yuan each instead of 11 yuan each but was worth it. Rox and I we went back to the New Zealanders house to get help with the vpn and to see their place, there place is lovely like ours. They helped us sort out the Vpn, yay now we can use all apps. We went home and watched our first episode on Netflix. Yay, don’t have to only watch CGTN anymore, so happy

Posted by chinaflyrox 03:36 Archived in China Comments (0)

The first week

our apartment and starting to get things organized.

30 °C

It was amazing not waking up in a hotel. We could have whatever breakfast we wanted. We found the chinese version of coco pops, they like big balls not little rice crispy type. We could also cook and clean things just as we use to doing.
I got to go to see the school, It is about 30 mins drive from where we live in a bus, when we arrived at the school, it is huge, as big or maybe even bigger than our universities in South Africa, crazy. Some parts of it are still being built, so lots of buildings were incomplete but still looked very nice. Met some foreign and Chinese teachers we would be working with and training would begin this week. This week would be interesting as we would find out what and where we would be teaching. The programs where explained and how things would work, we had to put together supply lists of things we need for our classroom.
One of the days we went for a lunch with all the teachers and Rox came too, it was great for she got to meet everyone. We had Chinese for lunch where we all shared many dishes, was yummy. After lunch one of the directors walked with us and directed us towards the sort of dollar shop. It took us about half an hour to get there but it was a nice walk. We found the shop, it is huge, so we spent a while getting through it and bought a lot of things we could not originally get or that were so much cheaper, was fun. We walked home and tried to catch a random bus hoping we were lucky and it would get us close to home. Unlucky, the bus turned the wrong way. So we got off at the next stop but ended up walking the same distance back to the main road. The bus behind our bus was the right one, so unlucky. We ended up just walking home from there.

We finally got our internet up and running in our apartment after phone calls to Sharon and her help getting the people to understand what we wanted. This is going to be a big part of things to get use to over here. We don’t have very much choice of what we can watch here, our one and only english channel is CGTN, china global television network, it’s a great, interesting channel but getting over it now and its only been a few weeks… going to have to get a vpn and then we will be able to watch Netflix and use Goggle apps, stream sport etc, that’s our next mission.
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Posted by chinaflyrox 03:32 Archived in China Comments (0)

Our home in Fuyang

home sweet home...

sunny 32 °C

Yay, we are moving into our apartment today, we are so excited. Sharon told us we were going to sign the contract this morning, so that took about 2 hours, then we were told that we had to be out of the hotel by 2pm otherwise we would be charged for the night. So we rushed back and had half an hour to get out, luckily we were almost packed anyway. We caught 2 taxis, for we had so much stuff and we were off to our new home. When we got there we were kind of shocked, the landlord had the whole weekend to clean, now she was in the apartment trying to clean it. We just wanted to be alone and chill, so we told her that we would do it ourselves. We chilled a bit, then decided that we needed to go shopping at Walmart to buy cleaning things, a few things for the apartment and some food items. When we got back the cleaning would start, Rox hit the bathroom and I hit the kitchen, it was so dirty, what a mission. We also swept the office and then the day was done. Our first meal in our new place would have to be pasta, so we made beef strips penne pasta, it was yum and enjoyed our ice cold drinks. We were exhausted after a long but great day, so we slept like rocks, using our new cover for the mattress, as the beds here have wooden planks in them. So glad we got the cover or we would have died on those beds without it.

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Posted by chinaflyrox 23:13 Archived in China Comments (0)

Fuyang

Our new home town

sunny 32 °C

Ushin made us a lovely breakfast ,eggs and muffin things, she is so sweet. Now Woody would take us to Fuyang, shame he is so kind, would have been such a mission with all of our bags, took us about an hour, was a lovely drive and got to chat to Woody before he would leave us. We entered the city, looked beautiful with a lot of natural trees, mountains, rivers etc, yay we were finally there. Woody finally let us buy him lunch, so we had kfc, yum. Woody left us, thanks friend, you made us feel very welcome. We went to a mall across the road from our hotel, found a huge supermarket and bought some things for dinner etc. After that we went back to the hotel, watched movies, ate dinner and slept, was a busy day.
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Had a weird breakfast at the hotel, the Chinese really don't do breakfast the way we do. They seem to have what we would have for lunch for breakfast, like noodles, veg and wontons, very strange. They also do cold, hard boiled eggs, cakes and fruit, so that's what we had, and no coffee or tea here, so sad, so not our best breakfast. Sharon came to meet us, was good to meet here. She took us to get a phone contract with a Chinese number, yay for China mobile, we have cell phone numbers and data all the time. Then we went to get a bank account and after that Sharon took us for lunch at a little place close to the hotel, lunch was yummy. Really like this place, all the meals are in English and have pictures and the prices are good. Now for apartment hunting, the first one was weird, very big (4 rooms and 3 bathrooms), the place was very dirty as well and the landlord got lost at first, she never even knew where the apartment was, started off on a very strange note. The second one was also too big (5 rooms and 3 bathrooms), this place was much better and had lovely views, but again it was too big for us. We told them that we wanted a 2 or 3 bedroom place that had to have a balcony and a westernised toilet. Sharon would be very busy tomorrow, so hopefully she will show us more on friday and over the weekend. We thought our day was over but then Sharon told us that the principal of our school had invited us for dinner. We went to the same place as we had been for lunch, but it was very nice meeting the principal and 2 other teachers. We had a good chat with them all and had a good night. We slept like Rox, i mean rocks. It's very hot here, we are lucky to have aircon in the hotel room.
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The breakfast was the same as usual, so I went and filled 2 plates with watermelon, boiled eggs and cakes. We decided that we would make egg and mayo sarmies for brunch. We did that, then we were off to find Walmart. Rox thought she knew how to get there, how wrong she was. We went in the complete opposite direction, was funny. It ended up working out, for we ended up at the river and decided to walk along it. It was a hot day but a very relaxing walk. We eventually turned back into the city and after asking a few people for directions, we finally reached our goal, Walmart. We ate kfc, then we were off to shop. Walmart was much cheaper and had a whole foreign food section, had things like pasta, pasta sauce, tin food, hot chocolate and many types of biscuits. We ended up buying a few things, including a waffle maker that we would end up making toasted sandwiches with for dinner later that evening, 2 bowls for pasta, cereal etc, a grater and a combo bread board, scissors, 2 knives and a multi tool set. We caught a taxi home and chilled that evening, the cheese, tomato and onion toasted sandwiches were amazing, Rox is getting sick, so lots of sleep for us.

We woke up the next day and did the same for breakfast, it's way better having the breakfast our way. Rox's throat was now inflamed, she can't speak much and it hurts when she eats, we will find her medicine soon. Sharon messaged us saying that we could see 3 places today. She sent us photos of the one place, was a smaller 2 bedroom place, looked exactly like what we wanted, yay. We went and looked, the first one was on the 19th floor, the top floor of a very high building, was straight off the road, had small rooms and a small kitchen but had amazing views. We would consider this one but hopefully we would find better. While we were walking to the 2nd one, we got told it had been taken, dam, it was the one we saw photos of. Off to see the 3rd apartment, this one never entered straight off the road, had clean lifts and buildings, had 2 nice sized bedrooms, a large kitchen, 2 balconies, nice wooden floors, large L shaped couch, hard matrasses, a washing machine, no oven, a large tv, and nice landlords, yay, way more pros than cons, we'll take it. We were so happy we have found our home, we could finally move out of the hotel. We would move in on Monday. We went back to the hotel, Rox was not feeling well, so we just chilled, watched lots of movies and slept. The next day, Rox was feeling worse and was in a lot of pain. So we skipped the hotel breakfast and went to the shopping centre to find a chemist and to get some other food, lucky we had a fridge in the hotel. Once we had found a chemist, we had to phone Woody to help explain to the lady what was wrong with Rox. After a long chat, the lady finally gave us some tablets to help make Rox feel better, she had a bad cold, at least now we know what to ask for next time. We bumped into 2 more people who will be part of our school too, it's exciting to meet new people. More chill time at the hotel, we can't wait till we in our new home.

Posted by chinaflyrox 02:19 Archived in China Comments (0)

Hangzhou

A little weekend trip

sunny 32 °C

The next day we had breakfast at the hotel, then Woody fetched us and took us to the train station. We had two small backpacks and Woody would hold onto the rest for us. Whilst waiting for our train, we made another friend from Bangladesh, Rubioul, such a nice guy, so we exchanged we chat numbers. He told us that we could visit Bangladesh anytime and he would show us around. The train ride to Hangzhou was only 20 mins long and was on the super fast China train. We caught a taxi once there but we were lucky Woody told us what to do, for a guy tried to con us, trying to charge us five times the amount, thanks Woody. We went straight to the health centre to do our medical but were shocked to find out that it was only open from 7-11am, we arrived just after 11am, so we were too late. We decided to stay an extra night so we could do the medical on the Monday. So we walked to the hotel, 15 minutes away, settled in, then were off to explore the city. We also wanted to find a supermarket to compare prices to Fuyang and to buy a few things. We decided to walk to the right, surely there would be a supermarket close by in either direction, how wrong we were. We walked and walked and walked. It was so hot, so where ever we saw shade, that's where we would try walk. Window shopping was fun at first but eventually we were hot, thirsty and hungry. We started asking people where a supermarket was, some people understood our words from the dictionary but some had no clue. A few people said go straight, 2 blocks down, but after 2 blocks and another 2 blocks, we still could not find it. We kept seeing veg shops, were they understanding what we meant? Eventually we asked another guy and he pointed to it in the distance, yeeessss, and a KFC next to it, it was the best sight ever. We ate KFC, yum, and had a drink, we were rejuvenated and could explore the supermarket now, yay. What a supermarket, it was huge, sections for everything, even a huge section just for dogs' food etc, crazy. It is great to see that they have dogs as pets now. We walked down each isle, Rox comparing prices, it was fun and took us nearly the whole day, at least the rest of it. The seafood selection was crazy, you could catch your own live fish, prawns, eels, frogs, etc, was crazy. That was fine until we walked past a section for turtles, we looked at them, then suddenly realised that they were still alive, trying to get out of their net packaging, was so sad, poor things, but i guess it's their culture, turtle soup etc. We bought a few things for dinner, then caught a taxi back. We ate our noodles, and drank our Chinese beer and cider that we had bought, it was all pretty good. The hotel staff told us that we couldn't watch movies and that they only had 1 English channel. That wasn't going to stop us from trying, so i fiddled with the Chinese remote control, and yes, we found free movies which we watched every night that we were there, we were so happy.
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The next morning, we ate ham sandwiches for a sort of brunch, then caught a taxi to the national tea museum. It was like a wine vineyard, but only for tea instead, it was beautiful. We walked around, going to different museums and we learnt a lot about the history of tea and how important tea is in the Chinese culture, was eye opening. Then we got told that there was a teacher of tea who would present the tea to us in the traditional way and we would get free tastes. It was amazing, all different tea pots etc used, different temperatures of water used for different teas and different steps used serving the different teas. We also had to hold the little wooden board, with a tiny cup on it, in a special way, smell it and then have 3 sips to finish it.
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The best visual experience was with the jasmine tea flower, which opened up like a flower, releasing the tea, was beautiful. We bought some tea and a glass jug with a siv, so we can make our own tea. Now we were off to West lake , a famous, huge lake in the middle of the city. We decided to walk and do some sightseeing. It was tiring but beautiful, so we walked for ages, almost taking a taxi at times but we were lucky we didn't for we wouldn't have found it. It was this huge body of water with different temples, gardens, boats with lights on them, a massive dragon looking boat, and so much more, it was incredible. We found a food stall for we were hungry again, so we ate a sausage, we think it was pork? Rox liked it but I never, think she was just starving. After looking around while we walked, the walking seemed like it would never end as we crossed over the lake via a a through road. It got more lovely as it got dark and all the lights made it all come alive, but we were again hungry thirsty and tired, dejavu. We finally got across, it must have been at least 5kms long and at the end of it was a food court, we were so lucky. All the menus were in Chinese only, so we walked around, very confused, then suddenly, a Chinese boy of around 20 years old, came to help us, he could speak quite good English and helped us order food and drink. He chatted to us for a while, then asked to exchange wechat details , which we did. He said he could show us his home town one day, and that we would eat and drink beer together. Great, another friend made and such a nice guy. Our night ended with us catching a dodgy taxi. Firstly, it felt like he was excelerating all the time and breaking constantly, which was making us feel sick. Secondly, we think he might have taken a longer route back for it cost us way more than the trip there earlier, although there was a lot of traffic, so who knows if he charged us more or not. The money never mattered though, we were just happy getting our feet down back on land. It was a tiring day, our feet were finished, so we just watched movies and hit the bed.
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Today we decided to have a nice sleep in since it was Sunday after all. Hopefully by next Sunday we will be in our new home, for hotel life is getting to be a little over rated. We decided to go back to the West lake area, but today we wanted to go see some temples on the hills and do some hiking. We found the trail and encountered the most beautiful forest with lots of steps leading up to various temples. We met such helpful and lovely people along the way, and we got to stop and see many amazing views as we were very high up in the mountains above the lake. After many steps we found the Lin Temple. These temples are really beautiful and full of stories. From the temple we found a KFC and got ice creams as it was so hot and humid. We then went for a walk along the road, managing to find another garden, then ended up back at the lake very close to where we were yesterday. So we went left and walked along the broken bridge, which is very famous, as it has a story of love and adventure. Later, we found a Mc Donalds and decided that we would take some back for dinner at the hotel. Now to find a taxi, we got lucky and found a good driver, not like last night. Happy to be back at the hotel to chill before the big medical tomorrow morning.
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We woke up early and we were off to do our medical. There were quite a lot of people but everything was so organised and efficient, so it took us about an hour. Once done, we waved down a taxi and we were off to the train station. The ticket office was jam packed but luckily they cater for foreigners here, so the international line was so short, yay. It was a 20 minute train ride, then Woody picked us up. He took us to his office, which was nice to see, he exports clothing mainly to South Africa. He made us some of his best tea, was yum, then we went with him and his college to meet up with his wife, Urchin, for a hot pot lunch. This was such an awesome experience, for there was a pot indented in the middle of the table. They bring all types of uncooked meat and veg,then you throw it into the hot pot of bowling water that is flavoured, like a soup almost, and you cook your own stuff. Was really fun and yummy.
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Now it was our turn to cook dinner for them, so we went to a supermarket and bought all the ingredients, we did our best at least. That night we made them spaghetti bolognese. Woody and Urchin loved it but the kids never seemed to, for this food was strange to them and to add to that was that there was no tomato paste and cheese that could have made the difference. After dinner, Woody took us for a walk through a park to a lake near his house, it was lovely. A storm was brewing and it started raining on our way home, it was nice and fresh. We had a shower before bed that was so funny because they gave us 2 towels, more like hand towels, we had to manage, we laughed and laughed.

Posted by chinaflyrox 05:45 Archived in China Tagged adventures hangzhou Comments (0)

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