Saturday, 28 August 2010

China - The first pig brain

Days 10 and 11

Hello everyone!

On a high from our awesome day, everyone from the hostel got on it in the night. We drank in-house before going to the bars. Quick side-note about these bars - they all have poles inside. For, you know, dancing. A lot of that happened.

I ended up being part of a strange game involving a large soft-play dice. You have a number. If your number is rolled, you yourself then roll the dice to get another number. Those two people then dance together on the pole. I ended the night eating fake pringles sat on the pavement.

That wasn't the only food we had. We were at a street vendor when walking between watering holes when I enquired about a long, thin, twirly thing. A girl who spoke Mandarin laughed and then said it was sheep's penis. Why not. I'm Welsh, I have a stereotype to fulfil. It was...tough.

Needless to say, the next day was hungover, slow and uneventful. My choice of food as a hangover cure was unorthodox - pig's brain soup. Do I feel more intelligent for eating it? Certainly. The texture was very strange, though.

The other event of note revolved around a mango, a gift given to us by a girl in the hostel that we had hung out with. I had this in my hand as we dawdled through a market. We were becoming increasingly irritated with the over-eager sellers, so I began to respond by offering the mango for their entire shop. 'Dohr shao chee-en', one says. This means 'How much?' in Mandarin. I stopped in surprise, and pointed at the mango. She nods. The roles had been reversed - I was now a seller - so I walked around the shop for something to trade.

My eyes rested on a large terracotta warrior figurine. My idea of a straight swap was rejected: she said she wanted 20元 as well. I thought we had agreed on 12元 and the mango, but I guess I misheard her - she still wanted 20元. So I took the mango away, mocking her first by mimicking how good it would taste, and we gorged on it in the hostel. It was lovely.

That night we were experimenting with a new mode of transport. We were going to Hong Kong on an overnight bus. Well, technically we were going to Shenzhen, but I'll explain that later. Not your standard bus, this. It didn't have seats. It had rows of sleds. I can't call them beds, they weren't long enough.

I pulled the short straw here. I had no pillow, and was on top in the middle row, meaning I had no side to rest against, and also had no seatbelt to strap me in. What was keeping me from rolling off - or being bumped off by the very uneven road we seemed to be travelling along - was two small pieces of metal by my armpits. Within 30 minutes of leaving, I'd almost been bumped onto the ceiling. This wasn't going to be fun.

We were told to get of at around 5.45am. Hong Kong! Erm, not quite. Because of the visa entry system, you cannot get a bus directly into Hong Kong. A guy told us to get a taxi to the train station. 30 minutes later a large crowd was sprinting over the border with us, in the knowledge that the foreigners line wasn't going to be particularly long, walking calmly behind.

And so now onto stop number five, and surely a big highlight of the trip - BRITAIN!!! Sorry, living in another era. Hong Kong!

Love you all


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