I am on the way back as i write this from our weekend of island hopping around Zhu jia jian & Zhou shan islands. I took the train to Ningbo on Friday and spent the evening introducing ruby to pub games such as darts and pool. I quickly distracted her away from this to just watch the Olympics on the large screens as darts started to be strewn all over the bar!
On Saturday lunchtime we then travelled out to the islands with the hope of a little swim in the uncharacteristically clean seas which exist in this area, and to try the freshest of seafood. This is what i really wanted for my birthday weekend, and both were certainly worth the wait. We arrived late on Saturday so left the swim for Sunday morning before travelling back our separate ways. People here do seem happier to chat to me when i am alone, but without ruby i have no real way of communicating. I did however chat to one family from Ningbo on the ferry back and i think they have invited me for dinner next time i am there! In the UK such a friendly offer might would me a little suspicious but here, outside the main foreigner hotspots, people seem highly curious and excited by westerns.
As you will see from the photos below we managed to find a great family run barbecue next to the main beach which offered amazing food for little money. It was possibly the best food that i have had in china yet. They gave us 6 large marinated squid for about £1.50 and everything that they offered had been caught fresh that morning. The place where we sat down to eat was basic and a little dirty, but this did not matter because of their kind hospitality and tasty grub. Yum!
I have just received a nasty reminder of how i am not protected by the big city smog out here after getting a proper UK sunburn after just 2 hours in the sea.
My only bad moments from the trip were when i was turned away from some hotels on the island of x. As first i thought that it was just anti-western bias, but it later became clear that it was more to do with bureaucracy, which is a common problem in China. During the Olympics hotels are not allowed to accept foreigners unless they have a specific license, in order to keep control of security issues. According to one hotel, someone was locked up for a whole day after breaking this rule, crazy. So after hearing this i couldn’t be angry at them, and ended up finding a hotel close by. See photo of the hotel that we ended up in below. The exceptional security measures continued on my way home after my passport was checked three times. I am not the greatest fan of the police anywhere, but in China i know it is best to just keep my mouth shut and do as asked. Most here expect such things to relax after the Games have finished.
Ruby and I had a great time on this trip and felt that we would need much longer next time than just the 2 days we had. Perhaps in October we can go back to this set of islands, if our budget allows. Currently we’re saving for bigger trips next year to Thailand, among others.
See map below to show position of Zhu Jia Jian & Zhou shan in relation to Shanghai & Ningbo.