Today we took the shuttle bus to the Aeon Mall where we found WIFI in Starbucks. Unfortunately all the Social Media sites are shut down as well as Google etc, the same as Shanghai. This meant we were unable to open my trip journal and send anything since our stop in Halong Bay. We were able to receive and send some email though. The next stop is in South Korea where we should be able to send no problem as it is one of the most wired and connected countries in the world.
The25 minute shuttle bus ride to the Aeon Mall travels through a vast reclaimed land area with great roads that will no doubt soon be full of people and businesses. The mall was fairly fancy but not really high priced. We walked around outside for a while by a canal and giant transformer sculptures. We’re not sure what this area was but it seems to have become a bit rundown with big empty buildings. We ran into our friends in Starbucks who told us about a local indoor market just on the other side of the subway station. The market was in a huge modern building and it was packed with all kinds of clothing etc. I managed to find yet another lovely pashmina for 20 yuan ($3.50) which left us with 19 to spend. We came across a stall with a young man selling soap by weight, showed him our money and he cut off a chunk of soap for us. It smelled like Turkish Delight!
We went back to the in time for afternoon tea as all aboard was at 4.pm. We were supposed to sail at 6pm but the Chinese officials didn’t clear us until nearly 10pm. This was after an earlier mandatory “health check” that we all had to go through – this when we are leaving the country. They stopped the check after about half an hour so we didn’t have to do it – go figure.
We are in the Yellow Sea now on our way to Jeju a island in South Korea.