Thursday, 15 May 2008

Planning Chinese style

So, I've crossed the border and am settling into Shenzen nicely. I can see HK across the river from D's apartment, but as the sign says, no u-turns! I've kicked Duncan into a planning frenzy and he's been highlighting part of his dad's perfectly handwritten diary (that Donald gave me) in chinese and has got his nurse acting as secretary (cause of much complaining too BTW). Effectively (Tim, Alison, Richard - you'll be especially interested in this!) we've been planning in detail the route from Nanao to Waichow and are now set to take a six seater 4x4 tomorrow on quite a detailed tour. I'll make sure we get it all transcribed and sent through (Tim, Alison - I think I've got some good maps for you too...) as soon as we return. So, stepping back a bit. Last night I went out with Shirley (Duncan's recently married great-grand niece) and her best friend Nancy. We never made it to the tall building as Duncan told them (I think they made this up) that I wanted to go shopping(!?). We hit their 'Oxford street' and headed straight for 'selfridges'. Same old shit, different city and all at London prices, so we swerved that one and went to the night market instead. Shopping is not the best sport for me as I've got to carry everything I own, so refrained and we headed off to the korean BBQ restaurant instead. Got the fright of my life on the way there when the girls burst into screams which made me jump and then a split second later a massive rat ran across my left foot, just as I jumped and catapulted it (mind racing thinking I've just flicked this thing further up my body/into the air to land in my mouth or on my head ) which made me jump even more - I think I screamed more than them!? Korean BBQ was great. We ate everything (Duck, lamb, beef, chicken, prawns, vegetable slices and pork) and then sides too. It was delicious and nice to get decent cuts of meat and know it's cooked properly (sent some mega snotty eggs back the other day). Shirley must have hollow legs. She's <5' and packed away more than me - amazing! We had lunch with a Mr Chow who's sorting out our transport (a 6 seater 4x4) for the Nanao - Huizhou part of the trip. I'm a bit frustrated as I didn't especially want to do this part in great detail, and spend so long here, but feel it's better to be safe than sorry (only a fool rushes in - see Chezza, I do listen!) and have decided to chill a little. I'm aiming to leave Shenzen on Sunday/Monday next week now. and have also planned a good itinerary. As luck would have it, Duncan's next door neighbour popped round this a.m (a divorcee who wanted some photos scanning in and putting on the net - attn all single chinese 40+ men out there) and it so happens that her son works for China Travel Services, so we accosted him this afternoon and he's set to work on the Huizhou to Burma part of the trip - no mean feat I can tell you! My spirits rose higher when Donald confirmed he's coming to join us on the trip and Shirley has managed to get a day off work on Friday too - a right little party! I'm hosting (read buying) dinner for 16(!) people at Donald's place (luckily, I'm not cooking) on Saturday night too - his place is about the same size as mine, so you (those of you that have been there) can imaging what that's going to be like! So, Donald's arrived and we're all off on our road trip tomorrow. It's great to see the brothers together - they remind me of Stevie and I, except they're twins, and I can imagine the banter between them... I bought dinner for them tonight (sushi restaurant again) - 12 quid for the three of us - ha! People were still in the pool on they way home at 9 and the line dance class was rocking again! We've got an early start tomorrow at 0800 for a 12hour day and quite a detailed route to follow. We can't follow it exactly (we'll be in a car confined to roads, and the original party was on foot in a straight line) but we've got a pretty good idea from the Barker, McEwan and Chak diaries! Expect some pictures in my next post. And on that note, here's a bit of a vid of Ap Lei Chau where it all started from. The built up apartments are now on reclaimed land and it was this spot that I believe the escape started from. Enjoy... (but now I'm not sure it's loaded...)

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