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Monday 20 August

Jo Although we both felt awful the next mornings (ref. last entry) we were very quickly and very easily cheered up when we arrived in Yanzhou to a crowd of touts trying to get us to go to Qufu (next destination and where Confucius [philosopher, big guy in China in general] was born. We dodged into a nearby hotel and very satisfyingly found out a) where the bus station was and 2) that tickets were a tenth of the price we had been offered by the dealers at the station.

This initial joy dissipated when we arrived in Qufu and found that all of the first three hotels that we went to were expensive and really grotty. We settled for the last, possibly the least grotty and most expensive of the three, mainly out of exhaustion and spent the rest of our stay (luckily only one night) complaining about the place - those interested may see photos upon our return. The bathroom really was quite something. A side-effect of our complaining was that the staff found us increasingly amusing and, I suspect, dim.

We were followed for this whole and laborious process by one particularly persistent pedalocab driver which was really quite funny. I think he was bored really as he ended up being most helpful and not asking us for a dime. Bonus. Saw him again as we were leaving and addressed each other as 'old friend' so if anyone's heading towards Qufu...

In an attempt to find somewhere quiet we went to Confucius' tomb, which is set in about 4 square kilometres of really quite wild forest. Ed and I neglected to follow the example set for us by the sensible Chinese tourists who all got on little golf carts and rode about the little trails at top speed. We took the number 11 bus (Beijing slang for Shank's pony) and after a while emerged hot, sweaty and bitten into the tourist centre. Did anyone else know that you could get wasps over an inch long? Trying to cool down we took a pedalocab ride back into town, with a driver who sounded like he was about to have an embolism and spent most of the ride pushing the fat foreigners into town and being given pitying looks by passersby.

Got back to downtown Qufu and nothing had changed as regards hotel room being grim, so we spent another hour looking round alternatives, eventually settling on the most expensive one, which was well worth it. This was after we had accidentally fallen asleep in the hot hell hole, which meant that having awoken at 1900, we were staggering around like slimy zombies. Uplifted however by the thought of real air-conditioning, and not being scared to enter the bathroom, we had a lovely nights sleep.

Tuesday 21 August

Ed Woken up in the grimy hole by the cleaning staff, we packed our bags to go straight to the nice new hotel, having made extra effort to abuse all the facilities we had dearly paid for (all except the air conditioning that is - guess why). It was sufficiently cool, and we enjoyed having a great shower (seperatly). Had a smashing breakfast also consisting of omelette shredded onto a plate and surrounded by cooked tomatoes. Almost western.

Had a gander at the kilometre long temple to Confucius, which was five star. Many interesting rooms and some enormous bits of architecture that really are the best in China (much better than the Forbidden City in Beijing, and they also had lots of trees and greenery growing around them - v. picture skew). For the first time, some businessmen took the piss out of us in chinese ("go give the Americans some dollars <snigger snigger>"). Jo pulled a neat put down out of the bag and they shuffled off in shame. Hah!

Tried to use the internet in the afternoon but the response time was five seconds (usually 300ms) so didn't bother. Supper was uneventful being a bowl of rice and some fried rat on the bone (Jo finds this amusing - I am the one with the yellow poo), but the weather was most satisfyingly nice-english-summer-y, so we got a bit pissed and went back to our new hotel room. We had outsmarted the chinese hotel's room electrics (which should only work when you put your key in the room slot) so that the aircon was on all day while we were out. It was like a fridge in there <smile>.

Shame about the hammer drill work in the room above us at 0730 the next morning. Was still nice and cold though.