Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 15. Travel to Nanjing

Another travel day, so not much to report. We took the bus around noon and by 5 pm we were entering Nanjing. I have noticed a bit of anxiety in Luke when we arrive to a new place, and he has to be reassured often that yes, I know exactly how to get there. This time was a bit harder to keep the deception because the bus station was in a seedy part of town. As is the normal pattern, I asked for the nearest metro station and got some vague waving of the hand. Luke picked up on the uncertainty, and started worrying right away. I managed to get him going for about five blocks until I finally found someone who knew a bit of English and she categorically informed us that there was no nearby metro station.

In triumph Luke said “OK, now we take a taxi, right?” Why is it that people that are lost always want to take a taxi? What is the fun in that? “No, we take the bus”. Not that I knew where the bus was going, but I was not going to give in so easily. So we jump on the bus and, oh delight, there is a map of the route posted behind the driver. Everything was in Chinese, of course, but a map is a map and I am good at reading maps. So after a few seconds inspection I was able to assure to my worry wart companion that in 10 more stops we would find a metro station (which we did, so the rest of the arrival process was a piece of cake).

Luke met a couple of gringos at the hostel, and was happy to be able to talk to them in English. They suggested we accompanied them to dinner, and we were gladly to accept. Whatever made me think that a couple of gringos would know their way through an unknown city? Mind you, on the way in I had spotted a row of very fine, simple restaurants around the corner from the hostel. But no, this kid claimed that he knew of a nice place to eat and dragged us for a couple of miles to the financial district of the city, where there were lots of banks but nowhere to eat. I had to take over and turn off the main street until we found an eatery that looked adequate.

Alas,there was no picture menu in this place, so at random we ordered some chicken dish (very good), a fish dish (good), and some vegetables (limp and tasteless). On the way back I guided the small troupe to the metro, and from there it was easy to return home.

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