Tuesday after work I took off for Jingshan. Because it was a festival everyone in Shanghai seemed to be travelling; the line for my bus was incredible, there were at least nine bus loads waiting before me in line (I counted) even though I cut in line quite ruthlessly. Still, it went pretty fast and after an hour standing in line, chain smoking my boredom away, I was finally on my way.
That evening me, Andy, Pete and Mark went out, first to a bar, entertaining ourself with drinking games while trying very hard to ignore the very loud karaoke, and later we went to a KTV club…. more karaoke, but this time it was fun (I’m almost ashamed to admit). We bargained for the entrance fee and sang along for an hour after which we went to the dance club. At about two o’clock Andy and I called it a night, tired from dancing and drinking.
The next day we, me and Andy, travelled to Fengjing, it was a two hour drive with the bus but it seemed very much worth it because Fengjing has a beautiful centre, so beautiful even that for centuries poets have been writing poems about the city’s bridges. The day was cold (maybe 24 degrees, which is cold when you have gotten used to 30) and the drizzle chilled my skin, we decided to go for lunch first before finding a hotel, as much to warm up as to fill our stomachs. We ended up in a restaurant were they had hotpot’s. A hotpot is the base of a soup which is heated at your table and you can order all sorts of things to put in your soup. It’s like making your own dinner at a restaurant, with the stove in the middle of your table.
The whole menu was in Chinese with hardly any pictures, so we guested our order.
The lunch, to which we were very much looking forward to, was a great disappointment. The base of the soup was lovely, but all the things we ordered to put in were on them self great I guess but put together the whole thing was very bland.
After watching Andy force most of the food down and I was sufficiently warmed up we went on the hunt for a hotel.
We knew that not every hotel is allowed to rent rooms to foreigners because a hotel needs special permits. With this in the back of our minds we paid extra attention to the hotels and what kind they were. We went from hotel to hotel, but they were either full or they didn’t have permits to rent to foreigners. We clearly had underestimated how many people travel during the Mid-Atunm Festival. We couldn’t find a hotel, so we decided to turn back to Jingshan before we got stranded (the bus stops going after six or seven).
We found our bus, or so we thought… After twenty minutes the bus driver pulled into a bus station and turned to us; “were was it that you were going?” Oops, we had the wrong bus! But the ticket man (there’s a ticket person in every bus) was very helpful in guiding us to the right bus. Relieved to have fount our way back to Jingshan we went for a drink and sang along with more karaoke.
On Thursday is was still very cold and it was still raining. Armed with an umbrella we went for lunch and it was great! Then we, or rather me, tried to find some clothes, since I wasn’t dressed for this sudden cold and I felt I was freezing. But my bargaining skills are still very lacking and to be honest I already panic at the thought alone!Eventually I ended stubbornly going on strike like a child pouting and still being cold.
We did buy stereo boxes for Andy’s laptop, snacks and wine, and we went back to the apartment to hang out on the balcony (me in one of Andy’s sweaters). We talked, we laughed.
After a bottle of wine I concluded that it would be best if I’d take a nap and I was in a coma when Andy woke me up to go for a cup of tea with him and Mark.
Friday was a lovely day, the sun showed it’s face and it was warm (= not cold and not hot), we hung out and cleaned the apartment. I went home and was happy to see my bed again for I had to get up early the next day for work (yes, work on Saturday and Sunday to make up for the lost days of the festival).
You might think that this really bothers me, but it doesn’t. At least nobody here complains about filling up the right amount of school hours like they do in Nederland. Nobody has to worry, nobody has to protest or fill in left over hours with lunches or independent study hours.
Edit: I just had the best F*ing noodles in my life, no; of the whole world! F*ck pasta, f*ck stampot, hell f*ck meatballs even, they were that good! I’m sweating like a pig and burned my taste buds for it was spicy, but I couldn’t stop…. Just thought you guys might like to know…
Edit: During the night it started raining again, cooling down the air and cleaning the streets.