Thursday, November 12, 2015

From Shaoguan to Changsha: A Brief Look at a Long Day

After reaching a boarding platform at the Shaoguan Railway Station last Wednesday morning, I headed in the wrong direction. To ensure the high-speed train didn't leave minus a confused passenger, staff asked me to board the nearest train car. The long train appeared to be two trains connected together, and there was no way to pass from the one I had boarded to the one with my reserved seat. Fortunately, finding a new seat wasn't a problem. During the 1 hour 44 minutes needed to reach my destination 480 km (298 miles) away, I was the only person sitting in the train car I had entered.

empty high-speed train car in China

After arriving at the Changsha South Railway Station, instead of taking a taxi with a bust of Mao Zedong as I had done two years ago, I took the subway which had opened more recently.

In my hotel room I discovered one of the lightbulbs needed replaced. I notified hotel staff and not long afterwards left my room. In the elevator lobby I saw a hotel employee walk towards my room with a light bulb. Minutes later my room had more light. The elevator lobby, where I had watched the employee remove the light bulb from the ceiling, now had less.

I hit the streets of Changsha with a number of goals in my mind, most related to seeing what had and had not changed since my previous time there. Since my stomach desired lunch, my first destination was a new favorite for Liuyang-style steamed dishes on Jixiang Lane (吉祥巷). My old favorite and an old new favorite on the same lane are both long gone.

Liuyang-style restaurant in Changsha, Hunan

As expected, a variety of options, many spicy, were available in the steamer.

Liuyang-style steamed dishes in Changsha, Hunan

As not expected, the fish I chose was far from spectacular. I may branch out to other lanes next time.

I then made my way to the Kaifu Wanda Plaza. Behind it a pair of men encouraged me to try their specialty of pig and chicken feet.

two men selling pig and chicken feet in Changsha

Being full, I passed on their offer. And I soon passed some non-foot meat for sale nearby.

hanging raw meat for sale in Changsha

While walking down Yongxing Street (永兴街), a man sitting outside a mahjong room requested I take his photo. I obliged, and he convinced a woman to join him.

woman and man posing outside for a photo in front of a room filled with mahjong players

Later, near an area with a number of mobile phone stores and markets, I met two boys sharing a chair . . .

two boys sitting on a chair in Changsha, Hunan

. . . a boy with a Chinese sanjiegun . . .

boy posing with a sanjiegun (three-sectional staff) in Changsha, Hunan

and a sanjiegun-less mutt.

a mutt with a bit of pug sitting on a table in Changsha

Upon reaching the mobile phone markets, I checked out their current selection.

variety of children's mobile phones for sale in Changsha

I then walked to a large shopping district around Huangxing Road and saw a Minions mascot . . .

Minion mascot holding a sign in Changsha

. . . a child with a dog . . .

small dog standing on its hind legs and looking at a child in a stroller in Changsha

. . . and a couple of other mascots, these for Dianping.

male Dianping mascot holding a sign at a Changsha mall

female Dianping mascot holding a sign at a Changsha mall

The mascots were part of a promotion at a mall which, similar to many other promotions I have seen in China, concluded with dancers.

dancers for a Dianping promotion in Changsha

The dancers conclude this set of photos as well.

I was in Changsha for less than 24 hours but still managed to cover much ground. The above photos capture just a small portion of what I saw. In the future, I will share more, including updates to some earlier Changsha-related posts. And perhaps someday I will return to the elevator lobby to see whether it has regained its earlier brightness.


  1. Seeing the street food stalls there reminds me of a question I have been meaning to ask... I have friends here in the US that absolutely refuse to eat at food stalls, insisting they will be very ill if they were to do so, even though I eat and enjoy eating them and very rarely, if ever, got ill from it.

    Over there, I assume the food stalls there are somewhat less inspected there than they are here. Have you ever seen people there who refuse to indulge in the food stalls for similar reasons, and have you ever noticed or had problems with one, sanitation-wise?

    Also, apologies for sending this a few days after you posted it. I just noticed this new post.

    1. Some avoid street food, though health concerns aren't the only cause. I think there's reason for concern, but the same could be said for restaurants. At least with food stalls you can watch them cook the food (but of course that's not the whole story).