Home Contact 


Previous Page   Index Page   Next Page

Reaching HangZhou, then ... (6th Nov)
  Open my eyes and it's, holy smoke, 7am! I didn't wake up for my hard seat trip!!! That is bad. I don't know what is the next time I will ride the mainland train again.
My compartment-mate got off early and I own the whole compartment after 9am. Sitting all by myself, doing nothing but stare at passing by wheat fields, I don't seem to remember what busy Hong Kong is like. 
  The train goes through 5 provinces: GuangDong, HuNan, JiangXi, ZheJiang (where HangZhou is in), and JiangSu. Map by Province
Map by Province
Classic locomotive
The long and winding railroad ...
Coal is distributed along the railway to all parts of China.
A classic window view.
A classic station. These small stations haven't changed a bit since I saw them 16 years ago.
Inside and outside the train - a few feet in between but a world apart.
Winter food for livestock
This house is newer than Kam's apartment. Rural areas have their pace of development.
Keeping fish in there?
Well off farmers.
  Along the railway, I don't see much of what I expected to see, i.e., the simple and unpretentious village houses. I guess the railway has brought about development opportunities.

Personally, I don't like it very much as these funny looking new houses are not very photogenic. But on the other hand, the farmers would be happy because this is improvement in the quality of life.

As the Chinese saying goes, "no needle is sharp at both ends". You gain something, you lose something.

Drying rice in the front yard. The village houses at the back is going into extinction.
The old and the new racing along. There is no stopping for modernization.
See, there aren't much old houses left along the railway.
A town in the middle of nowhere.
  At 2pm, I get off at HangZhou east station feeling like a piece of overnight pizza. Yes, no matter how good the sleep was, I can only feel like overnight pizza after spending a night on a train.

This train ride is not quite the classic ride I wanted. I realize at the end of the ride that the train is running from Hong Kong to ShangHai. Passengers are relatively rich and the train is kind of luxurious. It's a train for spoiled kids. (Kam is not planning it but a classic ride is coming up. Read on ... )

U-pick lunch box before we reach HangZhou. We have, from lower left, clockwise, turnip, fried eggs, Chinese sausage, dry tofu, unknown, kidney beans.
Lined up loading facility just outside of HangZhou. I think it's for distributing coal along the river.
Pizza coming ...

Mandarin time: see the sign on top "Hang Zhou Dung Zhan"? You already know HangZhou. Dung=east, Zhan=station.

I can tell the east station is no major station but that is the only HangZhou stop this train makes.
img_2099.jpg  Out of the station, I find myself in a totally unfamiliar place all of a sudden. It rarely happens but I feel lost, a little scared too of going into a big city. Maybe I turn introvertive after the quite morning I spent in solitude, maybe I need to escape from cities on my vacation, I don't know.

As I ride on the bus into downtown HangZhou, the fear continues to build. It takes only half an hour for my city-phobia to explode. I decide to flee HangZhou.

  Around 3pm, I hop onto a bus to YiXing (a few hours' ride). I close my eyes and I see a teapot sitting quietly in front of me. I love this feeling. Then I fall asleep.
img_2108.jpg The only thing I remember afterwards is the dinner at a mosquito-size restaurant. I have no idea why a tiny restaurant can make food that beats 90% of the restaurants I go to in Hong Kong.

Four dishes in front of the starving me:
1) kidney beans
2) fry leeks and chicken breast
3) lion head
(tofu stuffed with meat, a ShangHainese dish),
4) sweet and sour pork
(too yummy. I finish it before I remember to take PICs).

Two catches why these dishes shine:
1) the ingredients are fresh. You can imagine small cities surrounded by farmers have their advantage,
2) unlike Hong Kong and GuangDong, they use no MSG, much less soya sauce and salt on the dishes. Thus the original flavor of the ingredients is not covered up.

  Not only that. There are two more things that surprise me:
1) they have a YiXing teapot serving red tea at the dinner table, not regular porcelain teapots. The owner tells me it's a slightly flawed (gee, I can't tell) piece by a master potter. He pulls this just for his first HK guest ,
2) they got THE best rice in China. The owner says this "fragrant pearl rice" from the JiangSu province is very famous. The rice is full, around, a little chewy and has a distinctive starchy sweetness. Picky HKers like to eat imported rice but why don't they take a look at their backyard?
  At the end of the day, I still insist that:
1) pleasant surprise comes from spontaneousness,
2) small places have better odds for pleasant surprise,
3) I am eating too much.

Previous Page   Index Page   Next Page

2000-2002 Copyright KamLeung.com