A Travellerspoint blog

June 2014

Stuck in Nanjing

In the morning, we had another hearty breakfast and went our separate ways. I wanted to make my way home slowly, as I do, and Ranald took the same pre-booked train back home.

I headed to the slow train station and asked how to get to Changsha. The only thing they could offer was a seat on a train to Nanchang at 8 p.m. WHAT!? No thank you!

So, I crossed my fingers and walked over to the bus station. It was in the west end, so I thought I had a good chance. I was partly lucky, because they sold me a ticket home, but it wasn't until 5:30 p.m.

No problem, I hadn't seen the city walls yet, and I thought they could substitute for the Great Wall. See what I did there? I was not disappointed. The place was very serene and tranquil. I spent the better part of the day just strolling among the history.

When I got hungry, I walked into the city and bought food to eat and for the long journey home. My bag was crazy heavy and two university students helped me find the bus to the bus station.

I was two hours early. Sigh. Better than too late I guess.

I got my favourite bus with the beds in it! And I slept all the way home after chowing down on some pork steam buns.

Goodbye China! PS I ripped my favourite traveling shirt :( Yep, the plaid Old Navy one, I wear almost every single weekend. So, I guess you won't have to look at me in puffy sleeves again.

Nanjing city walls

Nanjing city walls


Nanjing city walls

Nanjing city walls


Nanjing city walls

Nanjing city walls


Nanjing city walls

Nanjing city walls


Nanjing city walls

Nanjing city walls


Nanjing city walls

Nanjing city walls


Nanjing city walls

Nanjing city walls


Nanjing city walls

Nanjing city walls


Nanjing city walls

Nanjing city walls


Xuanwu Lake Park

Xuanwu Lake Park


Xuanwu Lake Park

Xuanwu Lake Park


Xuanwu Lake Park

Xuanwu Lake Park


Xuanwu Lake Park

Xuanwu Lake Park


Xuanwu Lake Park

Xuanwu Lake Park


Xuanwu Lake Park

Xuanwu Lake Park


Nanjing city gate

Nanjing city gate


This guy was everywhere!

This guy was everywhere!

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

3D Painting and Sun Yat Sen

In the morning, we got a kickass breakfast and had a great Chinese pancake with black bean sauce among other delightful items. It made the rest of the day go a lot smoother for me. Usually I'd be cranky by lunchtime, but this time I was not and I give the amazing breakfast credit for that.

The first thing we did was head over to the University of Communications, which was very difficult to find. We asked people as we went and found the 3D painting in a far flung suburb. (YOU'RE WELCOME CHRIS!) It ate up half the day, but I think it was pretty cool anyway.

From one end of the mural, it looks really good, but when you walk to the other end, the rest is just smudges. The overall effect was 3D, so I guess that's why it's in the Guinness Book of World Records now. Not for actual talent, but for overall effect. I was disappointed it was done on a type of canvas, rather than on the actual street.

From there, we went all the way back across town to Sun Yat Sen's tomb. The tomb is only one part of a massive forested sanctuary that had an incredible abundance of fresh air to breathe. I was in heaven. It was almost like a religious experience. It sounds crazy but all I could feel was warm happiness and love from all the other people there. Everyone happily climbed at least 80 stairs and silently circled the Lincoln memorial-esque tomb. I had goosebumps. It was a lot like the joyous feeling that you get at the Washington Mall. *shrug* I dunno whatever, it was a really nice feeling, that's all.

We took a taxi to get there, so it took us a while to figure out how to get back out of it. When we did, we headed to food street to get some Nanjing style duck, and then to the Confucian Temple, where there are boats that reminded me of Amsterdam.

We decided to stay on the ground because we stumbled onto my first and only slurpee in China AND a really cool brew-pub on the canal. We ordered a large flight and agreed the bitter option was the best, even if they called it "brown".

It started raining, so we had to move under a big umbrella. Then, a shadow of laziness came over me. I couldn't even envision myself getting up from the deck chair I occupied underneath the sound of the raindrops overhead.

Ranald started calling hotels and finally I got up to follow him in looking for another place to stay. We wandered, finding the same problem again. We eventually settled on "Hentique" something hotel. Don't ask me what it meant.

We got a sort of clinical-feeling suite, but it wasn't a bad place. I thought it was a ripoff but what can you do when there's no room at the inns?

Girls in dresses on boats

Girls in dresses on boats


3D painting

3D painting


3D painting

3D painting


3D painting with people that helped us

3D painting with people that helped us


3D painting

3D painting


University of Communications Beijing in Nanjing

University of Communications Beijing in Nanjing


Sun Yat Sen's tomb

Sun Yat Sen's tomb


Sun Yat Sen's tomb

Sun Yat Sen's tomb


Sun Yat Sen's tomb

Sun Yat Sen's tomb


Me vs. Sun Yat Sen

Me vs. Sun Yat Sen


Sun Yat Sen's tomb

Sun Yat Sen's tomb


"I want to eat under the lion in the sky!"

"I want to eat under the lion in the sky!"


Ranald at the restaurant

Ranald at the restaurant


Me vs. Nanjing duck

Me vs. Nanjing duck


Our host

Our host


Food street

Food street


Mango and Pomegranate Slurpee!

Mango and Pomegranate Slurpee!


Confucian Temple

Confucian Temple


Confucian Temple

Confucian Temple


Ranald vs. beers

Ranald vs. beers


Nice colours

Nice colours


Nice colours

Nice colours

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

Last weekend in China

Well, my last adventure is over and so is my time in China. Now what? Is it so important to always have a plan?

Friday afternoon, Ranald and I went to the high speed train station for our fast train to Nanjing. I originally planned on going to Chongqing, but that didn't happen because we booked our tickets too late and there were no beds left on the train.

Anyway, Ranald had the idea to go to Nanjing, I guess because he went there before. He had some things to see there that he missed last time.

After I acquiesced, Chris from Welland posted a huge 3D painting on Facebook that was on display in Nanjing, so you know I had to find it. I can't resist crazy coincidences like that.

We arrived five hours later at 10:30 and couldn't find a room. Also, Ranald doesn't like to go with the guest house owners that attack you when you come out of the station.

We wandered around for a while, every hotel owner said they had no room, which was probably code for "no foreigners". I had never had this problem before, and I was starting to wonder if Ranald was a liability. Maybe these places would normally accept me when I travel alone because I am a single woman, roaming the streets and they felt sorry for me.

After I dragged Ranald around tryiing to find a cheaper place, we had to stay in the "international" hotel, the kind I normally stay far away from because of their crazy prices and also their blandness and predictability.

PS I included some photos of NUDT along with this entry that I took on my last day there. I have been working two hours a week (really!) for the past month. Even with that, no one shows up to my office hours, so this week, I walked around and took some photos. It's an impressive place, and one that not many people get to see. I am very appreciative of the staff here. They made my life so much easier than it was last year. I would recommend this place if you are considering teaching in China, absolutely. The only downside was staying in Changsha when I didn't have work. Other than that, good people, and even better students.

Wheat grass aloe juice, EXTRA health!

Wheat grass aloe juice, EXTRA health!


Q&A room

Q&A room


NUDT campus 3

NUDT campus 3


NUDT campus 3

NUDT campus 3


NUDT campus 3

NUDT campus 3


NUDT campus 3

NUDT campus 3


NUDT Library

NUDT Library


High speed train

High speed train

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

This was amazing.

Well. I did not expect to be as blown away as I was by this trip this weekend. In the guidebook, it says that for most people this was their most memorable experience of China, and for me, I think it was the second. Next to Zhangjiajie. But, no matter. It was very similar and almost as amazing.

So, I thought it would be a good idea to take the sleeper night train out to Guilin. I arrived at 4 a.m. and had lots of time to walk to the dock. It kind of reminded me of my trip to Heuksan Do, where I met that crazy Korean guy at the ferry dock early in the morning while we were both waiting for our boats.

This time though, I didn't meet anyone who wanted to practice their English, I fell asleep on a bench while eating FRESH lychees. Then, a man came up to me and asked if I wanted to go down the river. I said yes, I want to go to Yangshuo. He shook his head and then sent his friend to me. A woman showed me a map of some places I could go. One of them included down the river to Yangshuo.

It was a little expensive but cheaper than my ancient Lonely Planet so I agreed on the spot. She said she would come back at 7 a.m.

I went back to bed on the cement bench and this lovely little old lady promptly set up a freaking dance club with speakers right beside my head. Um... thanks.

But it was almost time to find my tour guide friend. I found her and she took me to buy the tickets. Then, she put me on a taxi to some random place, where they put me on a bus full of Chinese people. Then we drove down to the river and got on a little boat. There were only two other people on my boat, two cute Chinese girls, really really excited to be there and they always wanted to take my picture for me in front of things, so I let them.

You can see the awesomeness in the photos, I don't think I need to describe it really? They took a picture of me in front of the picture on a cigarette packet and then we saw the mountains that are on the back of the 20 yuan bill.

After that, I took a nap in the van and waited for everyone to finish shopping for crap. We went for lunch of noodles and then visited some famous Chinese places that I have no idea what they were.

The driver brought me to the train station on the way back and I was way too tired to do couchsurfing, so I just sent a text to my host I had lined up and told him I was too tired. It was true.

I bought my ticket but it wasn't leaving for a few hours, so I wandered around the street. Some weird touchy feely Chinese guy started following me and creeping me out, trying to hold my hand and touch my shoulder, so I started just yelling DONT YOU FUCKING CHINESE ASSHOLE at him and eventually he went away. I don't know if anyone noticed in the street or not. It was quite a strange scene.

Then, I caught a night train back home, which would arrive at 3 a.m. I would have to walk home but at least I could sleep. Turns out no, it's a bad idea to take the "hard" sleeper car, this is the cheaper ticket and all you get are a bunch of drunks, laughing and talking in a foreign language all night. Quite a few times, I was woken up by people literally falling on my head as they tried to walk through the train while they were drunk. Crazy.

I got home at 3 a.m. and then walked home. It only takes an hour so it's not a big deal. Then I had some sweet sleep in my bed.

The dock

The dock


Li River cruise

Li River cruise


Li River cruise

Li River cruise


Li River cruise

Li River cruise


Li River cruise

Li River cruise


Li River cruise

Li River cruise


Li River cruise

Li River cruise


Li River cruise

Li River cruise


Li River cruise

Li River cruise


Li River cruise

Li River cruise


Li River cruise

Li River cruise


Li River cruise

Li River cruise


Cigarette packet

Cigarette packet


Li River cruise

Li River cruise


Li River cruise

Li River cruise


Li River cruise

Li River cruise


Li River cruise

Li River cruise


Li River cruise

Li River cruise


20 yuan note

20 yuan note


20 yuan note

20 yuan note


20 yuan note

20 yuan note


Li River cruise

Li River cruise


Li River cruise

Li River cruise


Me vs. noodles again

Me vs. noodles again


Moon mountain

Moon mountain


It's flooded

It's flooded


The cows have to cross too

The cows have to cross too


Cave

Cave


Bamboo path

Bamboo path


Cave

Cave


Cave

Cave


Lotuses

Lotuses


Lotuses

Lotuses


Turtles

Turtles

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

Dragon Boat Races with Couchsurfers

In the morning, Lisa asked me to wait for the other couchsurfers while she took her daughter to English class. Eventually, the French couple arrived and Lisa didn't end up going anyway. Mary and Antoine were going to the Dragon Boat Races, so they brought me along. It was a really hot day, but it was definitely worth seeing. Lisa drove us in her car and she treated us to dim sum for lunch before the race. On the way back, we were all exhausted. I had a shower and felt a whole lot better and I giggled nonsense about yesterday's ridiculousness, but no one could really understand my stories. We went for dinner and started out in this very interesting gentrified village. Something like this could never happen in Canada. Lisa said some Hong Kong developers bought the whole area for a lot of money and now they rent it to upscale restaurateurs. If only this could happen naturally without the monopolistic undertones. But, it's because of the monopoly that it provides a genuine feeling of escape for the city-dweller in Foshan. We didn't stay here after all, it was too busy. We went to a great Cantonese restaurant instead, which I liked better than the faux-western food on order in the village anyway.

Me vs. dim sum

Me vs. dim sum


Me, Mary and Antoine

Me, Mary and Antoine


Entrance to the park

Entrance to the park


Dragon Boat Race

Dragon Boat Race


Lisa and her daughter

Lisa and her daughter


Gentrification

Gentrification


Gentrification

Gentrification


Gentrification

Gentrification


Me vs. Cantonese

Me vs. Cantonese


Lisa's husband, daughter and Antoine

Lisa's husband, daughter and Antoine


Everybody

Everybody


Chinese people on the sleeper car

Chinese people on the sleeper car

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)