Friday, 26 August 2011

China Trip

At the beginning of the holiday, Nonsuch HP was lucky enough to be part of the 2011 trip to China. It was a fantastic adventure, covering a huge range of experiences from the historic Forbidden City in Beijing to the bustle and glamour of Shanghai's skyscrapers. Here's a brief outline of some of the things that we did:

Monday: Fly in from Heathrow via Dubai, check in to Hotel, street life in Beijing while en route to dinner and supermarket!

Tuesday: Great Wall of China (Badaling section), Jade workshop, Summer Palace, Olympic Stadium, Roast Duck Dinner

Wednesday: Queue for Chairman Mao's mausoleum, Tiananmnen Square, Forbidden City, Pearls Display (and supermarket!), Temple of Heaven, serious shopping in the market, railway station for Xian


Thursday: Overnight train to Xian, check in to 5 star hotel, cycling on city walls, lunch and art gallery, Big Goose Pagoda (Buddhist temple), Grand Mosque, Dumpling Dinner and Tang Dynasty show (traditional singing and dancing, etc)

Friday: Terracotta Warriors and museum, lunch, visit workshop to see reproduction of warriors in clay, Xian station for trip to Suzhou

Saturday: Overnight train, breakfast in Suzhou park (joining elderly residents with their Tai Chi!), Humble Administrator's garden, flower and animal market, lunch, check in to hotel, visit silk factory, canalside walk through traditional Pingjiang district and visit to Pingjiang lodge, dinner in teahouse and night time show in the Master of the Nets garden.

Sunday: Bus from Suzhou to Qiandeng canal district, visit temple and ride on canal boat. Arrive in Shanghai and lunch in Date Tree vegetarian restaurant. Visit Shanghai Urban Planning exhibition hall (including huge model of the city). Check in to Holiday Inn, dinner then river cruise to see Shanghai at night.

Monday: Bus tour of Pudong skyscrapers, walking tour along Bund. Dim Sum lunch, tea ceremony and shopping in Yuyuan Bazaar. Walk through French quarter then return to hotel. Farewell dinner then visit to Shanghai gallery of Modern Art and rooftop bar on Number 3, the Bund with spectacular views.

Tuesday: Early rise, drive to the airport and home to Heathrow with brief Starbucks stop in Dubai.

As you can see we were kept pretty busy! Many thanks to Ms Hartley for organising the trip and to Greg Stoneham and his team for guiding us so expertly. If trip members think something has been left out, please let us know.

England's Summer Riots

The riots in London and elsewhere across the country have clearly been a very significant political event this summer. Many thanks to our politics student VD for this contribution - please let us know your own opinions on what has been taking place.

Over four days earlier this month, riots spread across London and other parts of the country. They was triggered by the shooting of Mark Duggan, an alleged drug dealer who was shot in Tottenham on 4 August. This sparked the controversy if he was lawfully shot. What started as a peaceful protest has now turned into numerous accounts of looting, riots and arson attacks. Five people were killed in connection with the violence. It is obviously that the aim of the protest has been lost by recreational violence.

Many complained about David Cameron’s absence when the riots started, so he returned to London from his Italian holiday and visited the towns which were affected. Boris Johnson and Theresa May also returned. Not many are happy with the actions they have implemented (some say they have not done anything at all). It will be interesting to see if this will have major damage on the Conservative Party’s reputation. Moreover, Boris Johnson has launched his Back Boris campaign for the 2012 London Mayoral elections - this single event could have a detrimental effect. The aftermath of the riots will help us determine the answer to that.