We’re in Yangzhou

4 04 2010

I’ll skip the blog apology and move onto the blog.

We’re in Yangzhou. It’s about an hour from Nanjing and famous for its Slender West Lake, fried rice and nail clippers. We saw/ate/bought all today. We’re traveling on a Sunday and Monday because Monday is a holiday (something about your ancestors. Everyone burns paper money for their loved ones to use in the afterlife. Jeremiah’s note: It’s actually called Tomb Sweeping Day.) Weekend trips have been impossible since the new semester started because I’ve (Missy) started teaching 5 classes on Saturday. I actually teach more on Saturday than I do any other day of the week and am payed about 4 times as much! Private classes are the way to go, people.

Anyway, back to Yangzhou. We have to take a bus here, there’s no train station in this city of 4 million. (Jeremiah’s note: Actually, you can take the train here, but it’s infrequent and you have to take a bus for 15 minutes from the station in a suburb, so why not take the bus?) We arrived at our cute little hostel a little after noon. We think it caters to mostly Chinese travelers because there’s no English on anything and there wasn’t a review listed online. We’ll rectify that – it’s super cute and basic and CHEAP. $15 for a big, clean room for two. After dropping off our stuff we headed around the corner to the lake. It was really crowded and really beautiful. It cost 90 quai to get in, about $14 to you and I, but 90 quai is really expensive in China. Jeremiah and I commented that we couldn’t imagine a similar place ever being as crowded in the US. It was like Disneyland but the only attractions are beautifully landscaped areas and an occasional pavillion or temple. The lake is more of a series of canals and you can hire a cheap boat to drift along to the different sites. We loved it. Pictures soon.

PART 2

So after spending a spending a couple hours wandering around the park, which is actually quite large, we headed back to the hostel for a short nap. This is Jeremiah, by the way. Oh, I should mention that in viewing a pagoda and Tibetan buddhist temple at the lake, we found some interesting, cheap trinkets that were being sold, including a bell/wind chime and some of Nanjing’s special nail clippers. After our nap, we headed over for dinner at this one area. I don’t know the name, though judging from the Chinese characters, it’s probably something Xin Lao Zi or something, since most shopping areas in China have some variation on those three characters in their name. The shopping area is designed around an old part of the city. China has done a good job of refurbishing old areas of cities and turning them into vaguely trendy shopping areas. (See Harbin’s Zhong Yang Da Jie or Shanghai’s Xin Tian Di for similar examples) We had a pretty decent dinner of Huaiyang cuisine (Jiangsu food, more or less), and then wandered around the curio shops, finding some neat stuff. Missy also bought this cool sugar candy thing they make in the shape of whatever you want, essentially – in this case, a dragon – something she’s been pining for, for a while. We have video to show you of it. It’s cooler than it sounds by my description. Now we’re back at the hostel, where we’ll probably play cards and have a couple beers before heading to bed. Tomorrow we’re planning on viewing these old Han tombs on the north side of town, which should be pretty cool.

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