Monday, August 14, 2017

Nanjing Travel Day

Train travel in China is the only way to go. It is inexpensive, reliable, safe and if you take the Bullet train it is a smooth 307km/h. I buy my tickets online and from my China "go to site" China Travel Guide. After your purchase you are emailed your ticket details in Chinese and English which you take to the train station, find the ticket window and hand over the printed document and your passport. No muss no fuss and off you go. I picked up my ticket a few days before as this was my first "solo" train trip in China I wanted on less thing to think about.

I was running a bit late from work but I still managed to get to the East train station with about an hour to spare. In any other persons life that would be plenty of time but we are talking about my world of wonder where the forces guiding it amuse themselves by constantly giving me little tests to keep me on my toes. There were 4 large tote boards displaying train information including gates and it was working overtime as this is a busy station, however  Z88 was not showing up. Stupid Z88. I was getting a bit frustrated to add to the kink that was starting to make itself comfortable in my neck. Through it I kept hearing a repeating message over the loudspeaker but it was white noise to me because it is always noisy in China. It was only after I took a break from my trance that I took the time to listen to "zi, ba shi ba.....zi, ba shi ba" . Shit, that's me! Time was now a priority so I went to security, which I should have done in the first place, they pointed me upstairs  where I found my departure gate, void of humans. The girl smiled and in broken English told me to run to track 5, so I did. I swooped down the stairs to track level, found coach 13, compartment 31 and bed 4. A long drink of water, bag stowed and a deep breath and the train was on its way giving me about 4 minutes to spare. If you travel for an extended period of time you understand that exhilarating feeling you experience which is born from frustration with a slow burn to anger. Well I had that.

Into the Subway
Ticket to Nanjing
Where is Z88 dammit!
That elated feeling of success
The train ride was uneventful. I shared a cabin with 3 young Chinese teenagers who were quiet and polite. There was a large group of Italian travelers in the train car who were not. They were kind and polite but wow could the group talk. I went to sleep around 11 and they were talking. I woke up at 6 and they were awake and talking. Who has that much to talk about? They were having a great time.
I arrived in Nanjing at 7:30, managed the subway to the Fuzimiao International Youth Hostel in the tourist district which I chose because it was a 10 minute walk from the subway. It was not my ideal situation sleeping in a 10 bed dorm but it was $9 a night and that included a hearty western breakfast. Nobody snored and there was air conditioning so content.

A note about managing the subway in Nanjing or any city in China. The automatic ticket dispenser has an English option. It is touch screen and intuitive. English signage is everywhere and it is no harder than the TTC in Toronto. I printed off a Nanjing Metro map and kept it with me at all times but disintegrated after 3 days in my sweaty pocket.

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