We went from a box hostel to a loft, although it was actually much better than it sounds. Despite having 32 beds, the air-con was good and the beds were comfortable, and far from feeling like sardines in a can, the loft was full of beams, nooks and crannies which made it feel much more separated than it was (you weren’t aware of the other 31 beds at the same time). The first night, George, Calum and I ran off to Pizza Hut because we couldn’t resist. It’s actually a relatively high-end restaurant in China – at least compared to the UK – which we found quite surreal.

Kieran and Jordanne persuaded me to visit them in Shanghai for one last night, and since it was Shanghai, and everyone else was ill or about to be ill (myself included in the latter category), I couldn’t resist and jumped on the next train. Fast trains are as lovely as I remembered from the Winter holiday; there is something awesome about speeding along virtually soundlessly and seeing the speedometer at 300 kilometres per hour. Nanjing-to-Shanghai in just over an hour, which is an impressive feat! Mum panicked slightly over text when I casually mentioned that I was back in Shanghai, but I think it was just a bit of a surprise…

The next day I was back in Nanjing early enough to see George off to his train (also back to Shanghai, but for a plane to London) and was warned that I’d missed the last nice day before the storms and lightning forecast for the rest of our stay. I used the rain and humid heat as an excuse to stay in the air-conditioned hostel lobby and work on various blogs, journal entries and newsletters, as well as finishing the first draft of a pantomime script I was writing for my village group.

The forecast storms didn’t materialise but we couldn’t really muster the effort to actually go out and see anything. We did make it to Xuanwu Lake Park, which was pleasant (lit up at night) as we walked along between the promenade (full of dance groups, rather like outdoor zumba) and ancient city walls. The next day was so hot outside (and wet, though no rain or storms) we really couldn’t be bothered either; the Purple Mountain sounded nice but the attractions sounded expensive, so we stayed in after checking out officially and watched films. We’ve reached the point of the year where it’s another Chinese city, too hot outside and with decent facilities inside… You can’t blame a little apathy.

Nanjing was a nice place; charming in its own way, but nothing on Shanghai (in my opinion). Our last significant journey now is to Beijing – on the last overnight sleeper train this year. In the hours before leaving we saw news reports of flooding in Beijing (gulp). Fortunately it wasn’t that bad, presumably, as our train wasn’t cancelled, and though the ground looked a little damp the next day in Beijing, it certainly wasn’t flooded.

Categories: Weekly

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