Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep: getting from there to there 

With 40 days and 40 nights to go before I step on the ferry from Victoria to Vancouver for my flight to Shanghai it was time to work on how I will post my blog. Everyday is time consuming for me, boring for readers if I am just adding padding. Reading the travel blogs of others, usuaally about 3 decades younger than me, I think I have come up with a plan to make the process more enjoyable for me and interesting for readers. 

Post on the same days each week; keep it consistent. It is easier to follow a writing schedule this way. 

Seriously consider at least one day of less writing and more photos.

Work on the money/places/information – perhaps do not imbed it in the text. (I also add bits of nonsense at the end not really thinking if anyone actually reads it).

After about a week or so of several hours nearly daily I finally hashed out my itinerary for roughly the first 25 days of my trip to China and Vietnam. I struggled with how to fit in what I want to see and do within the time constraints of avoiding the National Day holiday. My first itinerary was just too difficult to really enjoy anything, it had me rushing off for the far reaches of Gansu and Northern Shanxi provinces, in Northwest China, before flying to Saigon. Just not practical, even if taking in only one of the provinces. The cost of airfare alone to Saigon was prohibitive.

I finally decided to break my trip into four sections. I will do a much smaller loop for the first ten days, Shanghai, Suzhou, Nanjing, Huangshan, Shanghai. Although I have been to Suzhou and Nanjing there are still places I want to visit. In Suzhou my main goal will be the New Suzhou Museum, known for its simplicity of design. I saw a documentary about the architect, I.M. Pei, and how much this particular project meant to him.

In Nanjing I hope to visit the city wall there, maybe rent a bike and ride on it, we only drove past it when there years ago. One can do so much solo, with children, or even other adults, so much has to be considered. There are so many layers of history in that city to be studied and one visit found me wanting to know more.

Huangshan, Anhui will be a stepping stone to the Huangshan (Yellow Mountains) National Park, where I will spend one night somewhere in the the park – not sure if at the base or partially up a mountain, and, I hope, the ancient villages of Xidi and Hongcun. I am fully aware these might be more along the line of rebuilt villages to bring in the tourists, domestic and foreign, so I can only hope there may be some authenticity.

To ensure I make it to the airport in Shanghai to leave on Sep 28th for Saigon I was meticulous when choosing trains for each stretch of this leg of my trip. The only piece of information I have been waiting for is will I make it to the train station from Hongcun to Huangshan. Lots of time still. What I had not considered was that cancelling my first tentative itinerary, to Gansu, would mean my new itinerary would also be wiped out! I am hoping all my effort can be easily rectified and I will once again have my requested trains put in the queue again. I immediately fired off an email to have this done. A similar situation occurred last year – I do wish people would read things! So, waiting with my fingers ready to send my payment for seats and berths.
Thank goodness I do not have to plan my time Vietnam beyond the first three nights in Saigon. I will ask my daughter what I can do there other than have my phone stolen. (That is her story – not mine)

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Tote that barge, lift that bale

Six hours before I take my packs to the car, head to town, head to the ferry, pass over the car keys. Getting off the island is no easy feat.

Goodbye home, hello adventure!
Goodbye home, hello adventure!

Sometimes travellers forget to talk about the process of getting to where they are going. Perhaps they do not want to recall or think about it. I consider approaching the ferry terminal the beginning of my trip!

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge motorcade stopping traffic.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge motorcade stopping traffic.

I have not practised carrying my pack up and down the stairs. I do know the Hongqiao railway station in Shanghai is all escalators. I am planning to work on my disco/belly dance hip moves if anyone tries to get by me. Like knocking down bowling pins. I get just a tad aggressive when in China, the only way to survive.

Last minute packing – craziness. Switched out a pair of warmer pants for a new skort and a sweatshirt type top a new blousy after checking the weather report of where I will be going for the next two weeks.

Much like the cookie I just finished eating things are crumbling. One flight cancelled. No reason nor alternate provided. 4 1/2 hours later still nothing. Missed my intended ferry as dealing with an Expedia agent for in Egypt of all places! He called back, my trip is being set as a priority, except so are all the trips of everyone else needing new flights. Called them again, call lost. On a later ferry, will have time still but no idea what to expect regarding first leg of trip. All I know is that it seems we will still land in Xiamen. Wifi spotty on the ocean, hoping to check trains.

Doing my best to get things sorted!
Doing my best to get things sorted!

Basically seems a matter of you can’t get there from here. I will lose my booking in Shanghai if delayed too long and probably have to pay for it. Hoping my travel insurance will cover this inconvenience. I will let everyone know the outcome. Meanwhile, treated myself to dinner in the Pacific Lounge, fabulous Gorgonzola and fig ravioli.

Updates: added to my itinerary, Yangshuo for three nights. My daughters will be so jealous.

Spent:

  • Sidney, Serious Coffee $ 4.50 perhaps this could be called an emergency expense?
  • BC Ferries 1 way 16.70
  • Pacific Buffet dinner 24.41

Tips:

  1. stay calm when flights are cancelled. And pop a ‘happy pill’
  2. If you have to travel any distance to actually get on your plane leave with plenty of time
  3. To avoid missed ferries, cancellations, Royal motorcades.
Last rays of Canadian sun.
Last rays of Canadian sun.