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1. Haven't left yet | 2. Fiji, New Zealand | 3. Australia | 4. Australia, Indonesia | 5. Indonesia, Malaysia | 6. Thailand | 7. Cambodia, Vietnam | 8. China, Hong Kong | 9. Macau, China | 10. Tibet, Pakistan | 11. India, Nepal | 12. Nepal | 13. India | 14. Sri Lanka, India | 15. Pakistan, Iran, Turkey | 16. Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Egypt | 17. Grand Finale

First stop in China was Nanning, capital of Guangxi province and quite a booming city, certainly more advanced than any city in Vietnam, the traffic lights even had large two-digit display counters beside them telling motorists how many seconds to go before the lights changed! Never seen that before. I stayed the next week in Yangshuo which had even better karst scenery than that in Vietnam, in fact it's probably the most famous scenic area among Chinese people. Yangshuo was nice in that it's a backpacker's haven, lots of English spoken, plenty of western cafes, good cheap food and beer (even cheaper than Vietnam, a 640ml local beer goes for 35 cents - 20p), free western videos to see at night and loads of decent, cheap souvenirs to be had. Great place for a rest.

The toilets in China are worth a mention for being the worst I've come across so far, privacy and running water seem to be a rare commodity in them. Yum yum! And to think it was the Chinese who invented toilet paper!

From Yangshuo I took a sleeper bus to Canton and a train from there to Hong Kong. Sleeper buses in China are pretty cool, they're low double decker affairs and your "seat" is more like a chaise longue where you can stretch out on and try to grab a decent sleep on the long journeys from place to place, though I don't recommend having longer legs than mine! I've been sort of glad I'm short when travelling in Asia, it's a lot easier to fit in the buses here.

Well, for anyone who thought Bladerunner was science fiction, think again. Hong Kong is the city featured in that movie and I've no doubt there are tons of replicants roaming the city as I write, the only thing I'm certain of is that I'm not one of them. Yes, the similarities are there, if only it rained here continuously then I'd really be freaked out. The motorbike cops are pretty funny, they're like mini Judge Dredd's as they have little microphones in front of their mouths and if there is a traffic problem you'll hear their disembodied voice booming from a speaker somewhere on the bike, probably they're muttering "I am the law" in Cantonese!

I landed on my feet arriving here. On the way to the border I met a Chinese guy from Hong Kong who, despite my protests, ended up giving me US$20 in Hong Kong money and subway tokens to get me into town and I was only a minute out of the subway looking for a place to stay when I bumped into Andy, a guy I'd travelled with for a while in Thailand. He ended up taking me on a couple of great walks in the area. Hong Kong is good for walks as it's filled with steep hills that overlook the city and one walk, the Wilson trail, brought us from north to south across Hong Kong island with great views all the way of bays and parts of the city. While the skyscrapers here are not as high as some in New York there seems to be loads more of them and plenty currently under construction. What's bizarre is that all the skyscrapers are built using bamboo scaffolding strapped together with plastic ties including the building which will soon be the world's tallest office building (for a short while)!

Another highlight (maybe it's greatest?) is the free Internet access here, yeahhh! For those who are interested, the Guinness here runs at 7.5% alcohol!

Well, I think I'll leave it at that, I should be leaving for Macau in a few days and then it's back to China for a couple of months and on into Tibet, Nepal (around end of May) and India. I won't spend long in Nepal as the weather isn't so good around then so I'll be coming back there in October after the Indian sojourn and will hopefully meet up with a couple of friends (Dom, Niall ...??) for some extended trekking.

1. Haven't left yet | 2. Fiji, New Zealand | 3. Australia | 4. Australia, Indonesia | 5. Indonesia, Malaysia | 6. Thailand | 7. Cambodia, Vietnam | 8. China, Hong Kong | 9. Macau, China | 10. Tibet, Pakistan | 11. India, Nepal | 12. Nepal | 13. India | 14. Sri Lanka, India | 15. Pakistan, Iran, Turkey | 16. Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Egypt | 17. Grand Finale

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