There are 1.3 billion people in China and all of them were on the roads with us. We spent countless hours on the tour bus sitting in gridlocked traffic.
On April 1st we flew to Shanghai – a much prettier city than Beijing, and cleaner (but no less traffic).
The lovely Lily was our local guide. And of course we always had our wonderful Oscar. Every morning when we got on the bus Oscar (Li Bo is his Chinese name) would say, “Good morning smart people (we were with SmarTours).” So cute.
I know my travelogue isn’t going to be picked up by the bureau of tourism in China but just in case you want to go (in spite of what you’re reading), you should know that the public toilet situation throughout China was enough to keep me off liquids for days on end. Can you say dehydration (not to dissuade you further, which I probably am)?
Squat toilets are the norm (public, not the hotels) and I’m thankful I have strong thighs (I always knew running would come in handy), but how do those old Chinese ladies do it? And toilet paper is at a premium. Sometimes the public toilets had it, sometimes not. In dire circumstances our tour guides dispensed TP as we got off the bus. I wish I had a picture of us lining up for TP.
I think that sign (left) means no French horn playing here.
We checked into our lovely hotel, the beautiful Crowne Plaza, splashed water on our faces, went to the bar and sucked down a quick glass of wine, then climbed back on the bus to head off for dinner (another lazy susan affair) and then a Chinese acrobatics show which was like the Ed Sullivan Show on steroids. You know how he always had those amazing novelty acts? Well, that’s what this was like – jumping through hoops and spinning plates and walking on stilts…you get the idea. Oh, and the obligatory motorcycles in a giant steel ball of death.
Not quite Cirque du Soleil but entertaining and colorful.