Monday, September 07, 2009

My Great China Tour

On Saturday morning I sent off my passport and form for a visa for China. I used an agency I often go past on the way to the British Library from Euston station. It was unnecessarily expensive because they demanded payment by postal order which seems an archaic way of paying anyone these days - and the post office demanded payment for that by cash. It was like stepping back a couple of decades. But anyway, it is now done.

Just the final bookings have to be made now. But at the moment my route through China is probably going to look like this:

Day 1: Manchester - Paris. Depart Paris.
Day 2: Arrive in Hong Kong. Hong Kong - Hangzhou
Day 3: Hangzhou
Day 4: Hangzhou
Day 5: Hangzhou
Day 5: Hangzhou - Shanghai.
Day 6: Shanghai
Day 7: Shanghai- Suzhou- Shanghai.
Day 8: Shanghai - Chongqing
Day 9: Chongqing
Day 10: Depart Chongqing (by soft-sleeper)
Day 11: Arrive Yizhou.
Day 12: Yizhou - Guilin
Day 13: Guilin- Guangzhou
Day 14: Guangzhou
Day 15: Guangzhou - HongKong
Day 16: Hong Kong
Day 17: HongKong-Paris-Manchester

I have shown it with black arrows on the map above (starting near the east coast). Yizhou is only an approximate position - in reality it is closer to Guilin than I have drawn it.

Looking at that I wish I were still going to Khotan in the northwest territories, but in order to get there I would have to fly into Urumqi - and there was yet more rioting there over the weekend. So maybe I have made the best decision...but I would have loved to have stepped out onto the Mongolia plains and into a yurt. Urumqi itself looks an amazing city. It is the most inland city in the world, and a photograph I saw of it showed gleaming skyscrapers against a background of glorious high icy mountains.

Instead I shall be heading south towards the South China seas. It is a fertile place, with sub-tropical forest covering the strange isolated peaks of limestone, and then, nearer the sea... more gleaming skyscrapers.


Blogger Kay Cooke said...

Clare! That looks astoundingly, amazingly wonderful. What anticipation and what adventure and beauty in store. I am thrilled for you and can't wait for the reports. :)

Mon Sept 07, 08:50:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Thanks Kay! Really getting excited about it now. I must resume my Mandarin course.

Mon Sept 07, 11:27:00 am  
Blogger Maxine Clarke said...

Sounds very intrepid, Clare! Michael Walters goes to Mongolia a lot - you could ask his advice about travelling there? He's very nice - I met him in person at CrimeFest in May. You can get to his email address via his blog I think: (there are also articles and bits about Mongolia on the blog).

Mon Sept 07, 01:38:00 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

Amazing. What a trip.

Mon Sept 07, 04:48:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Thanks, Maxine! I'm not actually going to Mongolia this time round - but shall definitely consult him when I do.

Jan: Heh - should be good...I hope.

Mon Sept 07, 05:58:00 pm  
Blogger aliholli said...

ditto Kay! astoundingly, amazingly wonderful! and worth "getting old" (!!!) for...he he... take thousands of photos xxx

Mon Sept 07, 09:29:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Ali: yes, definitely worth getting old for! :-)

Mon Sept 07, 10:19:00 pm  
Blogger Susanna said...

wow! have fun and be careful. My mom always says to remember never leave your drink unattended.

Tue Sept 08, 02:06:00 am  
Anonymous Mary said...

How exciting to have your itinerary planned! Have great fun!

Tue Sept 08, 03:00:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Wise advice, Susangalique. Yes, I have to be careful about drinks. Apparently it is best to drink just sparkling water, not still - that way you know it's 'safe' to the western stomach.

Thanks Mary - not going for a while yet, though - still lots to do.

Tue Sept 08, 06:21:00 am  
Anonymous marly said...

Great is certainly the right word. No doubt we'll see you in a yurt yet. (Y-heavy. Say ten times.) Yes, you in a yurt yet, maybe with a young yellow yeti, eating yogurt.

Or drinking mare's milk...

Tue Sept 08, 05:38:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Ha, can tell you're a poet, Marly! It took me some time to see what you meant by y-heavy!

Tue Sept 08, 07:14:00 pm  
Blogger jem said...

So exciting, and so glad it's all coming together for you. I feel a little of the excitment rubbing off on my just by reading. I'm not much of a traveller myself, but reading, talking to other people who go is a lot of fun.

Sun Sept 13, 12:30:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Thanks Jem. I'm really looking forward to it now - though with some trepidation!

Sun Sept 13, 05:59:00 pm  

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