What’s On The Horizon?

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A selection of images of the horizon in some of the amazing places I’ve visited.

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Top Travel Tips-Being Organised!

  • Write down the address of where you’re staying on paper- saving it to your phone is not good enough if your battery runs out.
  • Keep the addresses, tickets, flight times and boarding passes, and your passport in a separate wallet in your hand luggage when you fly so you don’t lose anything.
  • Research how you are going to get from the airport to your accommodation or wherever you are heading. Taxis are usually easier but more expensive but you also need to find the taxi rank.  Use the airport website to find out if there is a shuttle bus or local bus and where to get it.
  • Even if you like to be spontaneous research somewhere to eat using tripadvisor or some such website.  You will get of the plane and be hungry, you will not want to wander around wasting your precious time in a foreign city scavenging for food.
  • Also note down a few things you want to do, and how you’ll get there.  If you’re not driving you’ll need to know where to get the bus or pay for taxis.
  • Find out when you can check in to your hotel, and whether you can leave your bags there if you arrive earlier.  If not, or you don’t want to go there and then back out again store your bags at the train station or a private luggage storage place.  NB you can not store stuff in UK train stations because they suck.
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China (Again)!

Some general views of Pudong, Shanghai:

fisheye china2That’s my sister bottom right in People’s Square.  In the centre is the ticket for the Jade Buddha Temple, and bottom left is the ticket for the Shanghai Art Gallery that we visited.

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Found some old fisheye photos of Shanghai, China from 2009.

This is the Jade Buddha Temple:fisheye chinaAnd the view of the Pudong skyline from across the water: fisheye china1

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Interactive Map

I have been working on a map of the places I’ve been to (shop, restaurants, attractions etc) in case people are planning a trip and want to see some recommendations for the area.  It’s still a work in progress, as you can see there’s much of the world I haven’t visited!

I hope this is useful to people!

Let me know if you have any suggestions to add!

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Visiting China- Nanjing Street

Just a short post about Nanjing Street in Shanghai, China.  It’s full of statues and it’s fun for a wander. There’s also a film cafe, and there was a man selling bracelets which me and my sister bought (I can’t guarantee he will still be there…).

Statue Street

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Visiting China- Fuxing Park and The Bund

When I visited Shanghai, China in 2009 we spent an afternoon at Fuxing Park in the former French Concession.  Created in 1909 as Gu’s Park it was the largest park in Shanghai, during French occupation it became a military encampment, then it was renamed Daxing Park by the occupying Japanese.  In the mid-20th century it was reclaimed by the Chinese and named Fuxing Park.

China Fuxing pARK We went into Fuxing Park and were greeted by the long list of Park Rules which included ‘visitors are expected not to urinate or shit’, and ‘no playing mahjong in the park’ because you know what mahjong players get like after a few cups of green tea… There was a nice lake where people were zorbing (those big ball things you can run around in), there was tea house, people running backwards (which is a Chinese thing, it works the muscles in the back of legs more, they even have rear view mirrors attached to their heads).

Fuxing pARK1

The Bund is on the Puxi side of Shanghai overlooking the river it has a good view of the Pearl tower and all the lit up skyscrapers. We went to the Captain Bar where we got this view of the Shanghai skyline.  On the Bund no new buildings are allowed in stark contrast to the rest of Shanghai which was rapidly developing.


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Visiting China- People’s Square

During my trip to Shanghai, China we went to Renmin Guangchang or People’s Square where, by all accounts, you can get tricked into a very expensive tea ceremony.  But we just went to the Shanghai Art Museum.  We had to queue around the building to get in and go through airport style security at which point my water bottle became an issue until I drank from it to show it was just water and not a water flavoured explosive.  There were some impressive escalators in the middle that made it feel like a shopping centre more than a museum.  There was also a collection of Chinese drawings, paintings, and furniture.

Peoples Square Shanghai We also went into the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Centre where there is a model of the whole of Shanghai which is really cool.  The city was gearing up for the Shanghai Expo which happened in 2010.

Peoples Square

HaiboHaibo was the Expo’s mascot and he was everywhere, he looked like a squish of toothpaste with arms and legs imo.

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Foreign Food

Here are some pics of things I’ve eaten abroad.  There’s nothing too crazy here, I am veggie so I have to be quite cautious in foreign lands with what I eat but I thought the pics offered a nice comparison of San Francisco, Belfast, Shanghai, and Barcelona.

San FranciscoBelfastShanghai Barcelona










So that’s a huge portion of nachos in Hard Rock Cafe San Francisco that I could not finish, a burger in Belfast near the botanical garden that came with a ludicrous amount of chips, rice, cheese, pak choi, strawberry tea, and some other stuff in Shanghai, and (I don’t recall the Spanish name) an omelette sandwich with tomato soaked bread.  There may be a reason, that may not be entirely genetic, that Asian people are slimmer than their European and American cousins…

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Visiting China- Chinese Toilets!

My trip to China was in May 2009.  My sister and her boyfriend lived over there for a year and I took the opportunity to visit her and a totally different country.  When sister met me the first thing she did is hand me some tissues and hand sanitizer in case I ever needed to use a public toilet.

Chinese public toilets are plentiful (unlike the UK) largely, I assume, because a lot of restaurants and cafes don’t have their own toilets.  The first Chinese style toilet I used was in a large fancy building, I don’t know what the building was but you could book tours to look around, as a result the toilets were immaculate and the cubicles very spacious.  But that doesn’t change the fact that Chinese ‘toilets’ aren’t actually toilets, they are holes in the ground over which you squat.

The actually squatting was not, for me, a problem. How elderly or disabled people successfully people used them was lost on me but, given the large amount of urine all over the floor of all the subsequent ones I used it seems like a lot of people do have trouble using them.

Chinese Toilets

The dirtiness was the problem, how do you pull down your trousers or skirt and hold you bag and squat without getting your stuff covered in the urine and dirt on the floor?  Also there was no toilet paper (the pipes are too narrow in China for tissue to be flushed down them) but the tissues people had used were placed into overflowing bins in the corner of the cubicle.  These were not the efficient sanitary bins provided over here but rather waste paper baskets.  And after you leave there is often no soap and occasionally no running water.  My sister said I was lucky the cubicles had doors.

In one public toilet I used I was charged 0.5Yuan to use the facilities (5p) and was given a square of newsprint to use as toilet paper.  For men the price was 0.1Yuan because they do not require toilet paper.  Nor do they have to disrobe and squat so I was being charged 5 times as much for a much less pleasant experience.

There are some Western style toilets, like the ones at my accommodation in China, and I think the Beijing Olympics had a strange effect on the country as the government tried to prepare the country for Western visitors despite the fact that they didn’t seem to actually sell any tickets to any…

Anyway, this is all I have on Chinese toilets but travelers to the country are advised to take tissues and hand sanitiser!


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