All over red rover

Asia ~ China ~ Shanghai

Well, I’ve done it, it’s all over.  6 weeks of intensive study in Shanghai have finally been pulled off – not without the occasional hiccup – and I’m ready to move on…

Last week was the craziest it’s been in Shanghai, beginning with New Years eve.  We started off at an all-you-can-eat steakhouse, which had the best steak I’ve ever eaten, ANYWHERE.  And no, I’m not just saying that because I’m steak deprived, it really was that good.  76 kuai (about $12 AUD) for as much steak and vegies as you can fit – and the best part was, they bring the steak right to your table and carve it up for you.  Delish.  After dinner we roused ourselves from the table (not easy given the fact that we were delirious on meat) and went off to find a cab.  Given this city has more cabs than it does people, you’d think this would be easy enough – not so on New Years Eve.  Eventually we got one (involved our tall foreigners running up and down the main road, I think we scared the other Chinese into thinking we’d mug them if they didn’t let us have the taxi) and headed back to the hotel, to meet up with the other group.

And that’s where the troubles really began.  Jumped into another taxi with a different group of ppls and off we went.  Despite having a Mandarin speaker with us, we ended up at the wrong place.  As my clock struck 11.20pm, and we hadn’t managed to find another taxi, I realised I was going to spend New Years on the corner of a crazy street in Shanghai, with an even crazier group of people, AND I couldn’t see and vodka in sight…  That was enough to spur me into action and off I bounded to find another taxi.  We got one – a dodgy one mind you, but we got there.  Who cares if we pay a dodgy taxi driver $9 Australian instead of $5 – at least I got my vodka!

We walked into our venue for the night – a rave in a Chinese Art Gallery – at 11.50pm and I got my drink in time for the count down.  Small miracles.  The rest of our night was primarily spent at the rave, before heading off to another club and then a different bar.  Arrived in my bed at 9.30am New Years day, not a bad effort.

Class Photo

Class Photo

Other than that, my week was crazy, studying like mad for the final exams on Thursday and Friday.  Exams are now over, it’s kinda sad but I’m ready to move on.  Last night (Friday night) was spent celebrating and packing, ready to move on.  You wouldn’t believe how much rubbish I’ve accumulated over the past 7 weeks, it nearly all fits in my bag.  Kinda.  Other than the hour it took to pack my bag, I spent last night farewelling all and attempting not to drink – I have to catch a ferry to Japan in 3 hours.  Despite the determination not to drink, I managed to not get any sleep, which has the same effect, so I’m desperately hoping for good weather on the trip, do not want to be sea sick!

Next blog will be from Japan, woohoo!

xoxo Bobs

Preparations are underway for Shanghai!

Australasia ~ Australia ~ Victoria ~ Home

Well, I’m getting ready to go on the move again 🙂 Just thought I’d give everyone a heads up – I’ll be heading off to Shanghai on the 14th of November, and will be there till after Chrissy, after which I’ll be catching the boat over to Japan. From Japan it’ll be back to Beijing and then home via Bangkok. If anyone’s planning to be in the countries as me, let me know and I’ll divulge the travel dates… I’ve set up a new travel blog, www.shhdtm.com, so if you’re interested, keep an eye on the sites to see where I’m at. Take care all, this will be my contact email while I’m overseas, so feel free to drop me a line 🙂

xoxo bobs!

Chinese Flag Japanese Flag Thai Flag

Saying G’bye to Edinburgh

Europe ~ United Kingdom ~ Scotland ~ Edinburgh

Edinburgh is gearing up for festival season, its amazing. I’ve slowly got used to the idea that I’m living in a tourist town, but now we are in the middle of Edinburgh’s biggest festival – or rather a collection of big festivals. The Fringe Festival, the Military Tatto, the International Festival, the Film Festival, the Literary Festival and a few others are running concurrently, meaning that there are performers and big names all over town. The Royal Mile is a delight to see, clowns and ‘robot people’ everywhere. Of course, its also great watching other tourists getting lost and confused – knowing our way around the city now we’re now able to laugh and point them in the right direction. Bagpipes are everywhere and every now and again you wander past a Highland’s band. On Sunday there was a parade on the High Street to celebrate the beginning of the Fringe Festival, lots of marching bands (mainly military ones, from the Military Tattoo) and floats. So many people lined the streets to watch, I haven’t seen so many people in Edinburgh (except, perhaps, when the protests were happening, but then it was almost all riot police).

Highland Band

Highland Band

One of the boys in our room had a nasty shock last night. Poor guy had just moved into our room, drank too much and passed out on his bed. At 3am the fire alarm went off and the hostel had to be evacuated. Tash and I jumped up and threw on our shoes, then attempted to get Nuffy up. He wasn’t having any of it, we finally rolled him onto the floor (off the top bunk, OUCH), where he continued to snore away. Whilst we were trying to slap him awake, some of the boys came in and just dragged him down the stairs, he woke up about 3 flights down. Luckily it wasn’t a real fire – just someone smoking in the wrong place. It’s the third fire alarm since I’ve been here, they don’t have false alarms, if it goes off the whole building is evacuated, and the fire brigade is automatically called. Interestingly, there is a hostel on the floor below us, and they never evacuate (even though they can clearly hear the alarms). I guess they figure that its just an activity our hostel enjoys, not one for them to join in to. There’s gunna be problems the day it is a real fire…

Apart from dealing with the hoards of people, not much else is new. We went and saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the other day, very fun. Of course had to get the compulsory hoard of candy before the movie, needless to say the four of us finished the GIGANTIC popcorn before the movie even started. Many of the people at the hostel are starting to move on now, so alot of our original friends are gone. Consequently, the hostel is a lot quieter, people reflecting what they are going to do, and people planning their next leg of their trips. It’s sad to see everyone go, but great to hear their plans and see another persons opinions about the MUST-GO places.

Elysha, gathering her candy

Elysha, gathering her candy

I’m off to Ireland tomorrow, so incredibly excited. I plan on staying in a castle, visiting the various breweries, going to see Giants Causeway and a heap of other things… Thanks to all for the help with all the advice on places to see, sorry to those who requested leprechauns, not sure I’ll be able to fit them in my luggage, but I’ll keep an eye out!

Hugs and Kisses, Bobbi

Following the Beatles in Liverpool

Europe ~ United Kingdom ~ Scotland ~ Edinburgh & England ~ Liverpool

We’ve been on holidays these past few days – decided it was time to take some time off (… being a tourist in Edinburgh…) to be a tourist in Liverpool, home of the Beatles. Elysha is a huge fan, so off we jetted. Liverpool is an interesting town, used to be one of the bigger ports for England. Nowadays the port doesn’t get as much business, and you can tell. The town has a lot of deserted and run down buildings. On the other hand, Liverpool boasts a University with 70,000 students – pubs everywhere! Stayed in a fantastic hostel, after walking in, Tash pointed out the smell. ‘What smell’, I asked, immediently worried. Turns out she was happy about the lack of smell… Elysha was a bit disappointed over the lack of Beatles memorabilia (we brought all our souvenirs at the airport, better and cheaper!), but Tash and I thought it was tacky and great fun! Went on the Magical Mystery Tour – a tour bus that stops at all the houses where each of the Beatles were born, everyone troops out of the bus and takes photos of the houses and then troops back onto the bus. The poor people that now live in these houses – I feel sorry for the people who will eventually buy our house back in Toomuc Valley. Imagine all those people that will stop to look at the house because the famous Bobbi once lived there… hehe

Magical Mystery Tour Bus

Magical Mystery Tour Bus

Apart from that, we’ve just been doing the same old same old. Elysha and I ventured out the other night to find some-where new to eat, ended up at a quaint little Italian restaurant, very cute, although the waiter left us a little perplexed. An Italian accent is hard enough to decipher on its own – try throwing a bit of Scottish into the equation as well, absolutely impossible! After dinner I tried a fried mars bar – didn’t need any vodka that night – I was well and truly high after the layers of sugar and fat. Not bad though 🙂

Totally used to life at the hostel now. Spend most evenings with the crowd in at reception, listening to music and talking general rubbish. The other night, one of the girls commented that when we all get home, we are going to wake up in the middle of the night and want to have a conversation about nothing – and have no-one to talk to. At the hostel, there is ALWAYS some-one awake, always some-one to talk to. Have mildly been discussing setting up a phone-club, so once we’re home we always have some-one to call in the middle of the night, to talk about nothing at all. Dealing with everyday things can be tough, I constantly dream about being back home, in my own kitchen, when finding a bowl for cereal is not an ordeal. Was eating brekky the other day, when one of my friends came in, and sat down. Placed his pint glass of tea on the table (no mugs left), and proceeded to take a handful of cornflakes from the box, followed by a swig of milk from the carton. “No bowls” he grumbled as he grabbed the paper…

Elysha & I at the hostel

Elysha & I at the hostel

I’m nearly on the move again – I booked flights over to Ireland for the week after next, so excited. I’ll be flying over there, traveling for two weeks, then back to pick up the girls, then onto Paris. Woohoo!! Am madly planning out an itinerary for Ireland, will be flying into Dublin and out of Shannon. Must try and get to a good Irish pub and grab a pint of Guiness, yum yum. Wonder if there is a brewery tour for the Guiness brewery, or even the Kilkenny one? Must find out. If you know of anything I must do whilst in Ireland, let me know!

xo Bobs