Monday, December 15
Today wasn’t a very exciting day, so I apologize in advance!
We traveled from Hong Kong to China--Jiujiang to be exact. We spent the morning packing two and a half suitcases into one suitcase for the trip and left the rest with the concierge. Danny was frantically eating some of the fresh fruit we hadn’t finished, and the girls were playing with their stuffed Pluto dogs, knowing full well that they were being left behind in Hong Kong.
Danny had to make two trips to the bakery. I’d sent him in the morning to get some hotdog buns for the trip. He got them, and as soon as he was back at the room, the girls ate them all, leaving us with nothing for the bus ride. So, back to the bakery he went for more hotdog and coconut buns. The girls in the bakery must have thought he had a heck of an appetite.
The bus was to depart at 2:30 in the afternoon. We took a taxi to the subway, then the subway to where the cross-border bus would start out. Yes, all of this lugging a huge, heavy suitcase, and dragging both kids.
We got to the bus station in plenty of time. The kids and Danny had eaten buns before we left the hotel but I hadn’t eaten. Found this strange Taiwanese rice wrap place in the subway and figured I’d live dangerously. As you can see, I had a rice wrap (with purple rice, corn kernels, and some kind of pork thing a bit like jerky). Believe it or not, it wasn’t too bad. They take the sticky purple rice, spread it on a bit of saran wrap, pile the other stuff on it, then roll it a bit like sushi. And because we were feeling a bit silly we bought a bottle of “apple vinegar,” which we hoped was apple juice or apple cider. Sadly, however, the translation was correct, and the crazy buggars expected me to drink apple vinegar. NOT.
Anyway, onto the bus we got. It left right on time so that was a bonus. The trip is about four hours long and of course involves the border crossing into mainland China. The border crossing itself was uneventful and actually pretty quick this time. Unlike our prior trips, we went to a smaller, older crossing, so that it wouldn’t be crowded. The washroom was squat toilets, and the water wasn’t working, so I’ll leave you to figure out how pleasant an experience that was!
After we crossed the border, and both girls ate a couple of buns, they both (mercifully) fell asleep and had good long naps. This was an unexpected pleasure, so it made the trip pass much easier.
The trip to Jiujiang is long and boring, but I actually like watching the scenery. It’s such a far cry from the hustle and bustle and high tech life in Hong Kong. We pass plenty of very old, very basic farms and homes, and I really like seeing this part of China. We see many banana farms, sugar farms, and fish farms. Unfortunately, China’s economy is suffering, along with most other nations, and we could see several closed plants/factories.
We got to Jiujiang at 6:20pm, so the trip was right on time. Of course it was dark outside by then, and those of you who’ve followed our site before know that there are basically no rules of the road here in Jiujiang and surrounding area, so the ride got more and more harrowing as the hours passed. We did see a motorcyclist get his leg run over by a truck, which was a little more excitement than we needed.
Not much has changed since we were here two years ago, although one major difference caught our eyes: a new McDonalds, complete with a drive-thru. That was a funny change to see, and the girls were surprised and happy to see it!
We checked into the hotel. Yes, that same, not-remotely-clean-oh-my-god-are-we-really-staying-here-for-two-nights hotel. Not good. Not cleaner than our last visit. In the thank goodness for small mercies department, it was dark, so it wasn’t as obvious how nasty it is!
We went out for a quick dinner with Lai Yin, Danny’s nephew, and had some great food. On the way out of the restaurant, we saw the cages of live chickens (bird flu WHAT?), some kind of animal that looked like a deer (but Danny swears it wasn’t), and cats. They also had alligator for sale for eating.
After dinner, we all came up for the night. We had some trouble getting the girls to settle down for the night and the beds are hard as sleeping on the floor, but we made it through the tough travel day.