As you can see I haven't really been able to keep up with updating this on a daily basis, it'll probably be like this for the rest of the trip. So please don't be alarmed! I'm safe and having a great time! I also have to mention that the internet connection here isn't the best so that in itself will be a factor in my postings.
Sunday, May 3rd
Early morning flights have a tendency to suck, this morning's flight was no different. I had a bit of trouble figuring out where I had to go to check in my baggage since the clerks kept referring me to different counters. That got frustrating and fast but once I was able to check in my baggage everything went smoothly. My cab driver arrived a little early this morning so I didn't have to wait awkwardly in the lobby and the drive only took about 20 minutes instead of the usual 40 minutes. This was the first time I'd seen deserted streets in Beijing, it was rather odd. By deserted I mean under 50 cars in sight at once. I was also able to see the sun rise a little on the drive which was beautiful in an odd sense, the colors were being dulled out by some smog but it still had an odd mystic appearance to it which is what made it so gorgeous.
I've also managed to meet 3 new people, I doubt I'll see any of them again but it's still cool. There were my two roommates in my hostel, Helen and Ally, they're from England and are currently doing a trip around the world. They're 5 months into their 8 month trip. So far they've been down to South America, Australia, Fiji, parts of Asia and they still plan on going to some more parts in Asia. It's absolutely amazing. We exchanged a bunch of stories and travel tips until about 1 in the morning when I realized that I had to be up shortly for my flight. These to girls reminded me a lot of Robynne, Martha, and myself when we're hanging out together. It was really funny to watch.
I've also safely arrived in Hangzhou and made it to Martha's house in one piece using public transportation. That was rather fun. During the trip to Martha's apartment I discovered that I'd been mispronouncing thank-you half the time and instead I've been saying "orangutan". That would certainly explain the odd looks I kept getting. You'd think they'd some what understand what I was trying to say. Oh well, live and learn. I'm a silly white tourist, I believe I'm aloud to make mistakes like that once in a while. Martha's apartment is small. She lives in a one room apartment that's literally 1 room, plus a washroom. For those of who familiar with Futurama think of Bender's apartment. The bathroom is also used as the laundry room and kitchen sink. It's awesome. She has an air mattress for me to use at night which was really comfortable.
After dropping my stuff off we ventured towards the train station to see about possibly buying some tickets to get to Shanghai on Monday. It was really full and confusing so I opted to buy them the same day. It would be a whole lot easier to simply show them where I wanted to go on that specific date. We then caught a cab to do some sightseeing around the West Lake. We ran into another tourist and ended up spending the day with him. He's name's Richard, he's from Holland and he basically travels around the world because of his company. He works for a motorcycle company and he checks up on the factories. He had a few days to relax before he went home so he was wandered around the lake and since there aren't many people in Hangzhou that speak English spending the afternoon with another tourist that did seemed like fun. It was, he was pretty funny. Once dinner approached we said our goodbyes and went separate ways.
Monday, May 4th
I woke up early this morning to be able to go to the train station to purchase tickets to get to Shanghai. The process of purchasing the tickets is much like in Romania, it's a separate building to the side. I easily managed to get them and went off in search of where the train was, unfortunately, it was a 2 hour wait. Luckily they had specific waiting rooms so I found myself a nice spot and waited. The station also made the announcements in both Mandarin and English so that was another nice bonus. I've noticed that in Hangzhou it's not really a language barrier but more of a thick cement wall. I was a little worried that everything would be only in Mandarin so you can see my joy to discover that it was some English too.
I arrived in Shanghai an hour and a half later and jumped into a taxi to get to my hostel. This one seems very hostel-like despite the fact that I'm in a dorm room. It's located off a moderately busy street with tons of shops and cafes nearby so that's pretty cool. Plus there's a free shuttle bus going from the hostel to the major sites of the city for free. I'm hoping to be able to see the botanical gardens while I'm here.
I believe I shall go off in search of some food and quite possibly book a half day tour to one of the nearby villages.