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Last year Mum and I went to China. We had a week on our own around Shanghai then we joined the Truly China Tour, Chinese Classical Architecture. Our tour leader was Daniel Huang, who was a very nice lady, happy and helpful.
China is big, really big. It has more than 65 times the population of Australia. One of its main cities has more than the population of Australia. Every time we went somewhere Mum always said we were going to a village but when we got there it had a larger population than Melbourne. When we went on the Yangtze River cruise you would think that it’s deserted but we always came across people on the river banks, it just goes to show that in China there are always people
One thing I liked about China was the food. All of it was really fresh. My favourite dish was dumplings, which we had everywhere. There were pork, chicken and beef dumplings. The best place we ate at was in Beijing at a restaurant called The Courtyard. I think what made it so good was the food which was absolutely wonderful. In most restaurants we went to there were live turtles, frogs and fish in tanks and you picked one of them to be cooked for you. I thought it was inhumane and repulsive in the extreme.
People always wanted my photo because it was unusual to see a white child. At one town there was literally a queue for my photo. My Mum said that probably every person in China now has a photo of me on their mantelpiece.
We went to lots of temples and looked at every statue in every temple we went to. At one, some Buddhist monks were blessing a car. Every temple we went to I burned incense and if I could hit a bell, I would.
When we were in China it was time for the Moon Festival. At this time they eat moon cakes that I thought were disgusting and my advice is don’t try one. In one city, Mum and I were being driven home and we saw the moon on that night. It was a full moon and was absolutely beautiful.
In Shanghai we went to the museum, it had the weirdest design and was amazing. We also saw the Shanghai acrobats. They were spectacular, beautiful and just out of this world.
In Xian we went to see the Terracotta Warriors. It was so breath-taking I can’t describe what it was like. The third building that we went to was the largest. It was as big as a football field. When we were on the city wall there was a traffic jam like none that I had ever seen before, buses and cars stretched out as far as the eye could see.
On the Yangtze river cruise we had learnt how to play mah-jong a favourite game for Chinese. We also had a mini river ride that was really fun. One night Mum did karaoke and made a complete fool of herself.
In a town called Yuxie we stayed at a hotel with the hardest beds in the world although the combs were pretty good. The place we went to was famous for its combs and Mum brought some.
In Beijing we went to the Forbidden City. It takes more than 27 years to see every room. Our guide said a man who visited the Forbidden City every day for a year only got to see about 100 rooms that are open for public inspection. We also went to Tienanmen Square, it was so crowded our guide said, “If you get lost in this crowd not even the whole police force will be able to find you”. A member of our tour got lost while taking photos, but was found. It turned out that he saw everyone going to the Forbidden City and followed them.
It was great to visit China. It’s big and takes a lot of time to see everything, but it’s very crowded so you have to be careful not to get lost. There really isn’t a way of sorting out the good from the bad because it was all good.
By Patrick Shaw, aged 12 from Mt Egerton in Victoria.
Patrick and his Mum Andrea traveled on Truly China's "Chinese Classical Architecture"





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