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Day 4 – Yu Gardens and vomit
It is amazing that Arlie and I managed to get ourselves up after the craziness of our evening with the cover band from the Phillipines, but somehow we did. Awoke to our usual breakfast of nothingness and then went out into the cold and wet Shanghai afternoon. The agenda for today was to visit the Yu Gardens.

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arlie at the tea house

Yu Gardens, also known as Yuyuan, began as a private garden created by Pan Yunduan, who spent almost 20 years – and all of his savings – to build a garden in order to please his parents in their old age. That is why he called this garden “Yuyuan” – because “yu” in Chinese means “peace and health”.

During the past 400 years, Yuyuan, although restored and reopened several times, was most often in disarray. Due to the decline of Pan’s family after Pan Yuduan’s death, Yuyuan gradually fell into disuse.

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i live in a rock

Surrounding Yu Gardens is a shopping center for antiques. This is really a lie as we didn’t see any antiques and a lot of junk. There is also a famous teahouse where world leaders stop and have their cup o tea.

The gardens are quite amazing. We wandered around and took photos. It was raining so there weren’t too many tourists around which was nice.

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yu gardens

After all the excitement of the gardens, Arlie had worked up quite an appetite. But having a sensitive western stomach, she wasn’t really into eating a bunch of crap that she wasn’t sure what it was so we looked around for some menu with pictures or something that looked partially edible. Which was when we happened upon a giant Chinese buffet place in the antique market. Oh, the horrors that were on display there. Anything weird that you could possibly want was there. I am actually shocked that Arlie decided to eat there. She had a plate of dumplings, fried rice and fried chicken (no, Jeremy, she didn’t really eat it). About 30 minutes later she puked so I guess it wasn’t very good afterall…

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arlie pre-puke

At 7 PM our overnight train was leaving to go to Beijing so we trekked our way over to the train station. What fun this was! Not the trek there, but the trek through the train station. Thousands upon thousands of people all shoving Arlie aside. Then you go downstairs to the waiting room and it is utter chaos. People squatting everywhere with bags and bags of shit. All of them seemed to be eating peanuts and throwing the shells on the floor which made it virtually impossible for me to wheel my bag across them without getting stuck.

We somehow figured out where our train was departing from and got through the crowds of people and onto the platform where our train was waiting.

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deluxe sleeper

The actual train wasn’t too bad. A bit far from the 5 star accomodation that one weblog had described it as, but not horrible with chickens and goats or anything. We hopped onboard, ate our KFC takeaway meal and then started to watch one of my pirated DVDs. Then we ran into a problem. No more power on my laptop. I have the most pimping power adapter ever, but the sockets wouldn’t quite fit it due to their weird plastic cover. I went into super Macgyver mode and started taking cardboard and ripping stickers off of saline and basically trying my best to jimmy a solution that would let us get power. Finally I had it. But it required me sitting on the sink of the toilet holding the jimmy’d box into the socket while resting my feet on the toilet and watching the laptop out of the door (which wouldn’t allow me to hear the movie). Oh well.

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frustrated stephanie

12 hours and 2 hours of sleep later we arrived in Beijing.

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