Maeve Fearon, Irish Dance Troupe, China Tour
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Wenzhou, city no.21 was a highly commercial city and as with many cities that we have been to, it is booming, with high rise buildings in abundance and shopping malls galore. We arrived to our hotel and decided to head out after a failed attempt at getting food in the hotel (Picture fish tanks with live fish primed for eating, various chefs tucked behind glass windows ready to cook you a range of weird pre-prepared dishes..eek, no thanks!) The following day, we luckily found a “European Centre” and had a nice lunch at a lovely Italian restaurant. On our last night, we decided to brave the local streets in search of food. Just a few short steps from our hotel, we happened upon what I can only describe as an area resembling an army camp with rows of little tents lit up. But boy, what a discovery. Locals cooking, watching TV, playing pool enamored of course by us..a few weird looking westerners propped up on stools, gorging on rice and noodles..happy campers!
Next was Lishui, and the “Pearl Boutique” hotel , one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed in. With simple, stylish and forward thinking design and rooms equipped with a huge sofa and flat screen TV, we spent the night chatting and chilling out here. We also found a little restaurant next door and with some perseverance, and plenty of gesturing and pointing, we finally tucked into some of the nicest rice and veg dishes for a measly £3 each!
Travel day beckoned and a short while after boarding the bus, we witnessed some incredible scenery, arriving late to the “Picturesque Hotel” in Wuxi. The hotel was far from picturesque however and with no food outlets near, we feasted on a late-night McDonalds close by. Wuxi is home to the biggest Buddha in China (sixth biggest in the world) so after a few visits to Starbucks at the local mall over our few days, we picked a day and headed off to the one thousand year old Lingshan Grand Buddha. Standing at over 80 meters high, the Buddha is made completely from bronze and is highly impressive. Not only did we visit the Buddha, but the site is filled with meaningful Buddhist structures and plenty more. With another show down in Wuxi’s “Grand Theatre” we finished off our stay here at a local Australian bar.
We were welcomed to Chengshu by a huge sign at the entrance to our hotel referring to us as “The Hoofers of Riverdance”. A girly afternoon followed as me, Nicola, Nicole and Fiona took a wander through the hutongs of Chengshu. Later that night after a long search for food, we were once again propped on little stools at an intriguing little family restaurant. We returned on the second night and although it is impossible to tip in China, we sneakily left double our bill amount (£6.60 for 6 people!!) and exited quickly.
Now, with nearly ten weeks gone we are preparing for our exciting trip to Beijing and Shanghai to finish what has been a most enjoyable “Moy” tour.