Believe it or not, I started this blog a long time ago, but the internet was so being slow that it took me three hours to get onto the home page last week. Then I started typing and it appears I didn’t save it. Darn it.
So the last blog, two months ago, saw me without an e-bike. Eleanor and I took the metro to the end of the line, raced off it and up the escalator to bag the only taxi waiting by the exit for three times that week. By the end of the week, I had asked for help and a Chinese guy (a bit like an AA or RAC man) came from the local supermarket e-bike shop (Auchan) and took out the substantial piece of glass from my equally substantial tyre. The downside is that my tyre, being thick, is not a size that the e-bike tyre repair man carries on his bike, so he temporarily plugged the hole with what looked like chewing gum. He told me I needed to go back to where I got the e-bike and order a new tyre, but also told me I shouldn’t ride too far on the existing tyre. Bad news, given that the shop is in old town! I therefore played the card of “you don’t ask you don’t get”, and asked him to order it for me. He confirmed he would. That was on the Friday. By the Monday, the AA for E-Bikes was back at school taking my e-bike apart and putting on a new tyre. So…two call outs, one new tyre which had to be ordered specially, one temporary repair, total time in repairs about 90 minutes, total time in travel probably about 1 hour. Total cost approximately 25 GBP. Excellent value. Brilliant customer service.
After that week was over, suitcases were packed and off we went for some R&R in Thailand. However our journeys to and from Thailand were not at all restful, and indeed the time spent doing nothing by the pool was negated by our horrific journey back to Suzhou. To fly to Thailand we went with Cathy Pacific via Hong Kong, which made the flights very affordable. On arrival at Pudong we were told our flight was delayed, but they could put us on an earlier flight – no catch – it was free. So we took that one, only to find out that actually because of delays the flight was leaving at the time our original flight was supposed to leave – but for the fact that that flight didn’t leave until much much later. We arrived into Hong Kong with plenty of time to spare, only to find out the flight to Bangkok was delayed too. Time was spent in HK airport, playing UNO, eating and drinking in the lounge and window shopping. We finally got into Bangkok and straight through Immigration by 1am. Transfer to Hua Hin by driver took another couple of hours and at about 4am we rolled into a very soft luxurious bed.
We didn’t see much of Hua Hin that week, but we did do an elephant ride, Eleanor rode a horse on the beach and we played at an amazing waterpark, VANANAVA with waterslides like rollercoasters – this thrilled our adrenalin junkie 6 year old, I screamed and Martin giggled. We proved the world really is small when we saw our colleague, Phil and his family at the Elephant reserve. Sadly my holiday ended prematurely as I had to go to Bangkok for a conference for 2 days. Martin and Eleanor continued to relax and we met up at the airport early on Sunday morning. had had 2 hours sleep the previous evening as I had been out galavanting with a GOLDie (Guiding Overseas Linked with Development person) and had watched the Wales v England match. With that in mind, I caught up on some sleep from Bangkok to Hong Kong, but on arrival into HK we caught a bit of the typhoon which delayed our onward flight by quite a long time…We rolled into bed about 3am on Monday morning – Martin went to school for 7.30am and I made it in for lunchtime (but even that was a struggle). Eleanor’s school was still on holiday. 2 hours sleep in a 48 hour period is not to be recommended.
Coming up….Hangzhou, Nanjing and a mysterious mountain adventure…