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Our world Travel On 10th May 2007 I fled the UK on a journey around the world with a long list of places to go. Got as far as the Philippines where I met my wife. We got married on 11th May 2010 and are now sharing the experiences of travelling the world together

Osaka to Shanghai....the slow boat to China!

CHINA | Sunday, 13 July 2008 | Views [2944]

Fri 11th Jul - Not too much of a rush this morning as don't check-in for ferry until 9:30. The International Ferry terminal is near to the Cosmosquare stop on the Chuo line. They provide a free shuttle bus to the terminal from bus stop no.4 that only takes a few minutes. You could walk it in 10 to 15 minutes if you follow the exit signs out of the station and keep going left. Can't miss the terminal building. Will be sailing on the Su Zhou Hao operated by Shanghai ferries. Check-in was simple enough. Cost 22,300 Yen which included the higher fuel charge since 1st July of 2,300 Yen (used to be 1,500 Yen). Into a waiting area until ready for embarkation at 10:30. Through japanese customs for the exit stamp and a nice greeting by staff at the entrance to the boat, and shown to my sleeping area. Have gone for the budget option and sharing a sleeping area with 12 of us in total with futon mattresses on the floor. Home for the next 48 hours.....

Got chatting to a few fellow travellers, so it should be a pleasant journey. Out on deck after exploring the boat, which didn't take long as it isn't a big ship.

Felt like there should have been a massive crowd at the dockside waving us off, but there wasn't. This isn't the Queen Mary!
Soon after we set off, the restaurant opened for lunch. Plenty of choice at reasonable prices, so don't need to bring any food on board. Had a set meal for 400 Yen. Tiny portions though, so expect I will be hungry again soon.

On with the iPod and a stroll around the deck as we sailed out of Osaka at our cruising speed of 21 knots according to the ships statistics plaque by the entrance, under the longest suspension bridge in the world, with a view behind of what they claim to be the largest ferris wheel in the world...the japanese must have this thing about size?
This will be the longest time I have ever spent on a boat, so a milestone in a way. Ideal time to relax and do some reading about China and work out a rough plan for what to do in the 30 days I have. There is a nice 'Foreward' lounge with good views that was ideal to sit in and concentrate. Hardly any noise from the engines in there.
The restaurant opened for dinner from 5pm, so a freshen up with a nice shower and shave then off to sample some chinese dishes...wasn't obvious, but they add 10% on the bill for service charge! Good food though. Washed down with Tsingtao, the national chinese beer. They inherited beer from the germans when they had the town of Qingdao (formerly spelt tsingtao) as a concession.

Watched a couple of movies on my iPod (great travel gadget), then off to the bar for karaoke. Great fun and got to sing half a dozen of my favourite songs with plenty of songs from the chinese and japanese passengers. The girl who was in charge had a wonderful voice and did some superb duets in chinese. A great fun evening finishing with a full-on duet of Mack-the-knife with a fellow passenger...we knocked 'em dead...killer finish! The night finishes early on-board at 10:30! Mostly to keep the noise down for other passengers I guess. What I hadn't realised was that a bunch had gone outside and partied on the helipad until the early hours. Sounded fun.

Sat 12th Jul - There is no way you can avoid the early morning wake-up call....at 7am the lights go on and a loud jingle over the tannoy, followed by an announcement that the restaurant is now open for breakfast in three languages. The included breakfast was a simple tray of a couple of bread buns, slice of tomato, a hard boiled egg, some jam and a cold cup of tea...and a bowl of cold 'porridge' as they call it - a revolting white soup. Didn't excite the tastebuds much!

A relaxing day of reading, some planning and listening to music. Not much else you can do really. Dinner was a nice chinese meal again and made that bit more interesting as one of the travellers on board had actually been following my blog and knew some of what I had been up to. What a coincidence we were on the same boat....A small world isn't It.... stunned!

Up on deck to watch the sun set in the warm sea breeze then back in the bar at 8pm for another night of karaoke. A blaster of a night with some great songs and a fun rendition of Wilson Pickett's 'Monster mash' near the end...a hoot with the rest of the group acting like monsters as backing crew!

Time to change to china time, so clocks and watches go back 1hr. Now 7hrs ahead of UK time. Finished off the evening with a nice gathering in one of the common areas. It has been a really nice group to travel with and got on really well.

Sun 13th Jul - Breakfast alarm off at 7am again. Felt really refreshed this morning after a good night's sleep. The colour of the sea has changed this morning from blue to a murky brown and a mass of ships has appeared as we are in busy chinese waters. A nice breakfast different to yesterday with some filled dumplings and fruit with proper coffee for a change. A good start to the day.

It's a hot one outside. Had checked the forecast before leaving Osaka and it was going to be around 34degC. The humidity is also stifling on deck as you go from the cool of the interior to outside, camera lenses steam up and everything feels clammy.

We seem to be sailing up the Huangpu river for ages, and the activity on both banks is relentless and the density of craft is surprising.
Arrived in port at 11:30am but didn't disembark until 12:15. Straight forward passage through immigration with baggage checks only standard scanners, and out the other side at 12:40. Taxis waiting outside of arrivals and on the road in a couple of minutes.

I'm staying at the UTELS City central Youth hostel at No. 300 Wuning road in Putuo district. Could have done th trip there by Metro for much less, but just wanted to get there. Cost me 44 Yuan (or Kwai is it is more commonly known). The taxi had 11 Yuan on its meter to start and you get a printout of the cost at your destination. Quick check-in and in my room in 5 minutes. All very speedy. Now to sort out the plan of attack for the rest of the day.....


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