Posted by: Megan | August 23, 2007

“How much money do you need to imitate the value”!

I’m in Xian, and I am getting the hang of finding these internet cafes now –
just need to head in the direction of where smoke permeates out from within
a dark seedy building where the youth of Xian frequent the establishment,
and those loud computer games they play can be heard out on the pavement!
While no passport is required here, there is however a posing question at
the front desk; “How much money do you need to imitate the value”! God, are
they on the me already? How do they know I can ONLY communicate via
charades? “Imitate” – um … how does one “imitate” low value? Where is the
closest tailor? Can I have custom-made an outfit with big bold 1yuan notes
all over it (shame about the cool cottonPJs but …)? Does rolling into a
ball in front of the desk constitute as a coin?

So anyhow, how did you wake up this morning by the way – huh? Not sure
about yourself (and do feel welcome to share) but allow me to tell you about
my morning! No alarms needed to wake us (myself and the group) all up on
the train this morning. Instead – slurping noodles, Chinese (love ?) songs
(better than Kenny G anyhow – must have been banned on the T138 route since
I was last here), and the loud chatter amongst the locals around us did a
fairly good job (bloody brilliant one if truth be known) … at
approximately 6am! My group were in the two open compartments (in same
carriage) next to me and I shared one with the locals. Sorry, but listening
to those noodles being sucked up at a fairly good rate was not conducive to
further sleep! Ni Hao – Hello to a whole new day ahead …

I love the overnight train journeys (especially when we actually make it to
the right station ;)) – in countries like China! Our journey was in the
hard sleeper carriage (which in fact is really quite comfortable) and great
for local interaction as other than ourselves – the rest were locals!
Before even getting onto the train, waiting in the station is amusing
enough. One of the girls (Laura) spent her time waiting using her
blackberry. Digital cameras are old hat methods in amusing the locals these
days – well – it seemed that way as Laura sure received some close looks
right over her shoulder (actually – I think the kids were actually leaning
ON her shoulder) at what she was using! We particularly made friends on the
train with one of the little girls – maybe she was about 5 years old – hard
to say! After mastering “hello” it was time to teach her some new words,
however, the right cute little missy that she was I don’t think that English
will take her as far as her potential modelling career – yes – she was
strutting the spat on, peanut shell encrusted rug that aligned the
thoroughfare of the carriage like it was the red carpet – and us … the
paparazzi! Then she was swinging off the ladder attached to the bunk beds
for more photos – with that cheeky smile of hers and of course that newly
founded word; “hello”! Meanwhile outside it was seen at one point 14 work
men in uniforms sitting on the opposite train tracks with 2 only actually
working on them!

A lot of fun was had on the journey. Bar T138 (train number) opened (from
memory) at about 5 minutes before the train pulled out of Shanghai Station.
We have a new drink. It is called:-

“Shanghai Summer”:-

*Bottle of Gin (a rare find in Shanghai at a little corner store near the
Yinbo Hotel)
*Hot to warm 7-Up (can buy from train vendors)
*Several green mandarins (because apparantly Felicilty (Felicity, who by the
way eats and trys so many glutinous Chinese sweets that it is now believed
that no foreign bug could possibly make its’ way into her intestine system)
thought that in the markets they were limes … :))

Add proportionate amounts to a plastic cup (can find in backstreet
supermarkets) and stir with chopsticks (from the Intrepid Travel responsible
bag kit!)

Serve warm and enjoy!

If “Shanghai Summers” were not the drink of the group then the beers slipped
down nicely for the others! The lights were out at 10pm and it was made
sure that last toilet calls were made by then as it was hard to imagine what
would happen if one slipped in the dark beyond that time …

The group are now off wandering the fascinating streets of Xian. Should I
buy a fake Terracotta Warrior and take it back to Nth Melbourne like a
garden gnome? Housemate – are you reading? So it is time to go and wander
myself … I am sorry I can’t get any images up on to the blog now but when
I get out of “block-blog-country” (China) I can add some!

Until soon …. Megan 🙂

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