Nanjing Day 1

Continued from Huangshan Day 3.

We woke up this morning feeling sore all over. It’ll be painful walking around with our heavy packs today.

Our hotel was packed last night. We were the only people at breakfast two days ago, and today we couldn’t even find a table to eat our breakfast. No photos of the breakfast because it was just ok.

Back in our room to finish packing then heading out to the train station. I am surprised that this headline on CNN was not censored here in China. Sidenote, Wall Street Journal website is blocked here in China.

Well, it’s good to know that at least our breakfast was of relatively good health standards. Speaking of which, neither of us are feeling too hot after eating that Korean BBQ last night. Sigh.

Got our heavy packs on. Everything hurts. We walked a few blocks to hail down a cab.

Got a cab, now we are heading to the train station. Speaking of cabs, our cabbie yesterday who took us from the bus station back to our hotel went the wrong way. And when I asked him why he was taking such a long way to our hotel, he got mad at me. Then when he pointed to where our hotel was, I told him that it was the wrong hotel. I had even given him the business card of the hotel, so it was his fault to get the place wrong. But, he did apologize afterwards and took a discounted fare for the wrong way he took.

Reached the train station.

The moment we arrived at this dingy, dirty, and loud waiting area, we knew this was going to be a shitty train ride. Since Huangshan City is a smaller place, only the slower trains come through here. Slower trains means cheaper trains, cheaper trains mean more questionable seatmates.

Got a while before our train gets here.

It didn’t take long for the trouble to start. This man was smoking in the waiting area, despite the sign saying that he is not allowed to. The train station security guy came over and yelled at him to stop smoking. Even as he was getting yelled at, he casually took one last long drag before putting away his cigarette. Then afterwards, he would turn around and stare at RL. And by stare, I mean STARE and not look away. This got so bad that I finally told him to stop staring at my wife, at which point he mumbled something derisive under his breath. Asshole!

Ready to board.

Not sure what the high speed train has to do with a soldier in winter gear with a gun…

Reached our car, and there’s almost essentially no overhead luggage space left. Fortunately, we managed to stow RL’s big backpack under our seat.

Our seats were at the very end of the car, which turned out to be some of the worst seats ever. The area between the cars is the smoking area, so for the next 6 hours we’d be breathing second hand smoke. The poorer people would buy the cheapest tickets, the standing room tickets. Between the cars is where all the standers would congregate…which meant that all of them stared at RL nonstop. If you look at the photo above, on the right hand side is a guy standing, and you can see that he’s staring at RL, who is seated to my left. He would stare at RL constantly for the next 4 hours, until finally I had to tell him to stop. Twice in one day I had to tell guys to stop staring at my wife. Sigh. RL says that if everyone stared at her nonstop, it wouldn’t be as bad because it would just be normal. But the fact that only a select few rude men do it, it makes it not ok.

Not much to look at outside the window.

Zzzz….Our seats did not have any reclining capabilities. RL woke up this morning sleep deprived and grumpy.

Ahhh, smokers and starers.

Never seen watermelons so small. We finally broke down and decided to try one.

This being China, the train attendant selling the fruits gave me a pocket knife for me to cut open the watermelon. All she said to me was to “be careful” and walked away.

They are tiny, about the size of a big apple.

RL’s been craving watermelon for a while, so this hit the spot for her.

They sold bento boxes on the train. Even comes with a cup of soup!

The train attendants also sell the oddest things on this train. For instance, they are selling belts here…Seriously? Belts?

Everyone eats these cup noodles here in China. This girl with the cup noodle sat across from us the entire ride and she was very nice. She told us of some places to go visit in Nanjing. Despite the people between the train cars being terrible, at least our immediate seatmates are all very nice.

Speaking of food in China. Chinese food as been a little disappointing. Most of the Chinese food restaurants only serve food family style, which makes it very difficult for RL and I to order. For Chinese street food and whatnot, they all seem to just eat cup noodles.

With about an hour left until destination, we get a new seatmate. Like many others on this train, he brings on a giant bundle. He has the window seat, so he had no where to put his giant bundle but right in front of me…This has been a very miserable train ride. RL and I are both very eager to get off this train.

Finally in Nanjing.

Freedom!! RL is super relieved to be getting off that train. Both of our clothes smells like cigarettes. This was our second worst train ride, after the overnight train in Vietnam with “The Captain”.

Now, we connect to the subway.

Nanjing ticket machines were easy to use.

8 stops to our hotel. Kinda far.

Our worst fear, stairs. Ouch, ouch ouch ouch ouch. Every step was painful.

Our hotel should be somewhere around here…

Found!!! Our third Jinjiang Inn during our time in China. Hopefully this one doesn’t have a leaky shower area like our room in Beijing.

This is what $40 a night gets you in Nanjing.

Very happy to report that taking a shower does not flood the entire bathroom area.

Our remote for the AC. Since the AC is on the opposite wall of the remote, they put a small mirror right on top of the remote so that the infrared signal can go across the room. Pretty simple solution.

On the walk to our hotel, we noticed that very nearby is a small stand that sells drinks and fried chicken! After we checked in, we immediately came back out to order some drinks and food.

Pudding milk tea, green tea smoothie, and fried chicken. Strange but delicious combination. We were both so tired from the long hike yesterday and the crappy train ride today. A nap after eating our fried chicken was in order.

After our nap. OK, time to rally and head out check out Nanjing and get some dinner.

Got into a cab.

In a short time, we’ve reached the Confucius Temple area. This is a popular area here in Nanjing and has many shops and restaurants.

Some of the lights here were lit up at night, but many of the other ones were not lit up tonight since they are doing a lot of renovation to this whole area.

Construction zone.

All the trees here were like this. Odd.

Time for some dinner. This goose restaurant will do.

This is a very Chinese place, nothing is in English.

They do have a nice view of the street though.

Goose wings.

Plastic gloves, so you don’t get your hands messy.

Remember that glass?

Our goose hotpot cooking!!

Goose blood. RL was a huge fan of this meal and especially loved the broth. In keeping with tradition of Chinese meals, one of the bowls of rice that we ordered did not show up. It was also kind of expensive for us to eat, since there’s only two of us. This hot pot is really meant to feed 4 people. Many times during our meals in China, we kind of wish our families were here with us so we could order a giant family style dinner and eat all the different varieties of food.

Time to take a short stroll around the malls.

There’s a boombox, and there’s outdoor dancing. They were dancing some sort of combination of ballroom and almost east coast swing. We thought about jumping in for a song, but the music was a little bit on the slow side.

The mascara that RL got in Tibet kept on burning her eyes, so time for some better quality makeup.

We ran into another group of outdoor public dancers. This is the A team, they were all much better than that other group we saw earlier.

Time to head back home. Cool vines growing on the elevated roadways here.

Skype with my parents. I miss my mutt. He’s the cutest dumb mutt ever!

To be continued at Nanjing Day 2.

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