Chinglish Bonus 3

Posted by Albert on August 28, 2010 under Chinglish | Read the First Comment

One last batch of signs we’ve seen on our trip. We’ve circled the mathematically astounding part of the second sign.

(Click on them to see the full image. Click a second time to zoom in.)

Challenge 14: ACCOMPLISHED!

Posted by Adrian on August 27, 2010 under Challenges | Read the First Comment

Map updated!

Challenge 14: Appear on National TV.

Hunan province is famous for Chairman Mao’s hometown…and a TV show aired all over China where contestants tackle an obstacle course and almost always end up falling dramatically into the water (click here for the official website for the show, all in Chinese). We’d hitch-hiked for 2 days to get here and it wasn’t because of Mao.

After going to the TV centre and getting ourselves invited for an interview, we were immediately accepted onto the show to be filmed 2 days later. We’d seen it on TV many times and always thought how easy it looked, but a quick tour of the course revealed how much harder it is in real life. We should have known that any obstacle course involving a pole vault would be tricky! In fact it was hard just walking up the ramp to the start!

We were told to turn up for filming with our back-packs and a map so the presenters could interview us about our trip. With the cameras rolling, Albert did an amazing job fielding all their questions in Chinese before we both serenaded the female presenter. Once the formalities were out of the way, it was time to meet our fate on the obstacle course.

While we both ultimately failed and ended up in the water, we met with somewhat different endings. One of us drew gasps from the audience by falling at the very first hurdle and landing flat on his face, while the other went on to win a small consolation water heater! You’ll have to wait to find out who was who, but we’ll send out the link to the show as soon as it’s aired.

[UPDATE: The show has aired and you can watch it here.]

Photos (click on them to see the full image)

(To see captions for each picture, please visit the website)


(To see video, please visit the website)

Challenge 13: ACCOMPLISHED!

Posted by Adrian on August 24, 2010 under Challenges | 5 Comments to Read

Click here for a special zoomed-in map with each place we caught a new vehicle!

Challenge 13: Hitchhike between two cities for less than the cost of the bus fare.

Huangshan was not only one of the first places we’d been to without a train station, it was also off the main bus routes. This, coupled with the stunning rural setting, made it the perfect place to attempt our hitch-hiking challenge.

We’d both been looking forward to this challenge although to be honest we didn’t know if it was even possible. Neither of us had ever seen a hitchhiker in China, let alone a foreign one. One lady we spoke to told us, “You’ll never do it. You’re foreigners so no-one will stop because they’ll be afraid of you.”

Just to make things harder, our destination, Changsha, was over 500 miles away – that’s the same as Phoenix to Salt Lake City and more than the length of England!

We left armed with paper and marker pens for making signs for towns to aim for along the way. We also had a flattened cardboard box with the words “To Changsha” written on it by Mr. Xie, our calligraphy teacher. With no idea how long our journey would take us, we started out early from outside our hotel.

Amazingly, within 30 seconds, two newlyweds stopped their car. “We’ll take you to the next town for 80 yuan” they offered. It was an expensive start, despite bargaining them down a bit, but we were unsure if any other vehicles would stop so we hopped in. “Impossible! No way you’ll make it!” the young husband said when we told him our plan. But actually it was the start of an incredible 2-day adventure that took us all the way to Changsha.

In total we took 7 rides: 3 trucks, 2 cars, a minivan, and a 4×4. We met a fascinating and diverse bunch of people and from the second ride onwards no-one wanted any money at all. It was a very fun 2 days which gave us some great stories to tell, including one of the biggest surprises of our whole trip (and it wasn’t that we almost got struck by lightning!).

You’ll have to watch the videos on our website to find out what happened and also see the near miss with the lightning.

Challenge Progress

Photos (click on them to see the full image)

(To see captions for each picture, please visit the website)


(To see video, please visit the website)