Friday, May 16, 2008

Shanghai & Beijing Trips

Apologized for writing intermittently as I have to juggle in between chatting with the children and writing this journal which mean I have to totally miss my stitching work. That is the worst part of all!! Hope you can bear with me.

Since we have a few hours left before the departure time, we decided to go for a sight seeing in Shanghai. Both of us decided to bring the kids to see the Bund and took a stroll at Nanjing Road. We took the subway before making a stop at the People Square, walking around, took some picture then continue to Nanjing Lu.
In the subway station on the way to the Shanghai Railway Station

Riding on the subway

Clowning around at Nanjing Lu

The Bund, Shanghai

The children on a tramp at Nanjing Lu and posing at The Bund

At the Bund, Shanghai

We boarded the express train to Beijing at about 6pm via Shanghai Train Station. One thing about taking train in China is to make sure that you are at the right train station. We bought the ticket at South Station but boarded the train in a different station. Even tough none of us know how to read Chinese, but we managed to look for the correct gate without being lost. This is partly due to the correct way of displaying the signboard around the station. They are all user friendly. At the same time, I always make sure that I ask someone around me on the location and train number stated on my tickets. I make sure that we arrive at the waiting hall at least an hour before the departing time just to be safe in case we cannot find our way around . It is easy since each train number have a separate waiting hall indicated with the train number and time.

The children have been demonstrating good behavior for the past few hour of our journey. Najwa was so excited and had asked for our permission to explore by walking around the coach. She checked the toilet location and condition. She felt so strange as people around her were always staring at us ...I guess they are amazed for number of children that I am having as China is practicing one child in a family. Most of the passengers in the train thought that we are fellow Chinese from Xinjiang province, as we were dressing more less the same like them. Najwa, Nadhirah and Adam were very delighted to have their first chance of boarded the train in a long journey. They have been very active moving around exchanging seat between me, Rozi and Ayong. In order to keep Adam busy during the long journey, Ayong ensured that he carried with him the small toy. She also reiterated to Adam in several occasions to be responsible with his toys, organized it in his little bag pack soon after playing with them.

It was a 12 hours of smooth train ride. We slept throughout the journey and Rozi woke us up at 5:30am to get ready for washing up and prepare some instant breakfast. It is important that we rise up early to beat others, as the queue at the bathroom & washroom is getting longer as the train approaching Beijing. I prepared 2 cups of instant noodle with some milo while waiting for the children washing up. Most of the long journey train in China provide hot water and sell some food supply. But for us, we brought most of our food supply from Malaysia :) ......i love Malaysia!!!!

To be continue..........

Monday, May 5, 2008

The children in Hangzhou

Hello has been quite a while since my last entry...I have been busy with work....holidays and some daily chores ….it’s difficult to get organize without the maid around ....this is the price I have to pay after relying on the maid so much ....:( plus my limitation of doing some heavy household chores after my prolapsed disc incident……..but I consider myself as lucky since I can always call the Ah yee to come for cleaning the apartment with minimum fee if I want to but had not done so since I thought that I can burnt some fats while cleaning the apartment and getting things organize…LOL…..

Rozi came with the kids to spend the last school holiday with me. We went backpacking to Shanghai, Beijing and Suzhou.

They reached Hangzhou on Sat 08th March via Airasia (thank god for that! otherwise, I can't really afford to fly them to China). I went to Xiaoshan airport to pick them up at midnight as Rozi is not very familiar with Hangzhou. This will also be Rozi’s training ground on how to move around in Hangzhou so that I can leave him independently on his next trip to see me. Brought them out of gate no 5 at the airport and bought 6 bus tickets which cost RMB 15 each for adult to Hangzhou downtown (Wulinmen). Then, we came down at the 2nd bus stop before continuing our journey in a 10 minutes ride by cab to the Best Western Premier Hotel which cost about RMB 12. Since we were bringing 4 children and Nabihah a.k.a Ayong has been considered as adult since she is already 15, we booked two rooms so that she can share with her sisters and leave Adam with us (Adam has been very attached to Ayong since he was a baby …due to my temporary disability during my confinement…). ..but as usual Adam refused to sleep with us……

We woke up early and I prepared some instant noodles in the cup with 2 in 1 Milo they brought from Malaysia for breakfast. Then, we went out, took a cab and started our first visit to the West Lake. We walked around the lake for nearly 3 hours. Here are some of the photos I managed to capture while we were in Hangzhou:

One of the tree in full bloom during Spring at the West Lake

The kids having splendid time by the lake

Me and my wonderful children........

Adam & Nadhirah enjoying their cotton candy

Rozi with his adorable children (as he always brag to me.............)

My favorite spots in West Lake

The children at the Centre of the West Lake

At Wushan Market...........

Having lunch outside the Muslim coffeeshop located at the entrance of Hangzhou Silk Market

We enjoyed their curry beef rice andstir fried beef .....hhhmmmmm yummmmyyy.....

Then, we continue our 3 hours journey by bus to my apartment in the evening. They spend one night in my apartment before we took 4 hours bus ride to Shanghai on Monday morning. We reached Shanghai in the afternoon and straight ahead to the railway station to purchase the night train to Beijing. We did not managed to get the soft sleeper so have to be on soft seat for 16 hours journey.

Prior to the journey, I briefed the children and I assigned each of them with a duty. Ayong in charged for the luggage, Rozi looked after Adam while on the move and read the map, Ueya and Wawa check the room before check out to ensure that we did not left anything behind. I am in charge of the cash and communication since I am the only one in the group who can speak little Mandarin. I had also earlier set up the time frame for the children to get organize such as who goes to the bathroom first, how many minutes they were allowable to spend taking bath….I made the rule that Ayong should use the bathroom first, follow by Najwa and Nadhirah. Then Najwa & Nadhirah should immediately come to our room for breakfast right after they had dressed up, then, Ayong will bath Adam and get him dressed up. During my last trip back in February, I also remind the children to do some exercise for instance brisk walking in the evening, so that they will not feel tire while backpacking and enough stamina to move fast. I warn them this will not be an easy trip as we need to stick to our plan for 6 days travel covering Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou and back to Shanghai. They have also been informed that Mom & Dad do not want to listen to any complaint or grievances during the whole trip. Rozi left the children to choose whether they want to continue with the plan or just stay in door in my apartment. The children have been in the high spirit since they wanted to visit Great Wall of China more than anything else.

I had also giving them some tips on the different cultural values and warned they may see some funny behaviors along the journey..….whatever it is to make sure that they keep it by themselves first then only make a comment at the right time appropriately.

To be continue.......