Tuesday, May 2, 2017

From Texas Burger in Hunan to a Scenic High-Speed Train Ride

Towards the end of last week I hailed a taxi and told the driver I needed to go to the Hengyang East Railway Station. He asked for 40 yuan (about U.S. $5.80). I felt confident 40 yuan was too high, but I wasn't sure what to target for bargaining. I just told him to use the meter. He clearly didn't like that idea, so I prepared to get out of the taxi.

He turned on the meter.

The fare turned out to be 27 yuan.

I hadn't had time to eat much that day, and I hoped to grab something at the station. I suspected the options were minimal and the McDonald's there would be my best bet despite my fondness for Hengyang's local dishes. But I worried I wouldn't be able to go down to the arrivals level, order food, and then return to the departures level to go through the ID check and security in time for boarding. So I went straight into ticketed-area of the station and hoped to find something there.

Once inside, I saw something I expected — a lack of a McDonald's — and I saw something I hadn't expected — Texas Burger. I hadn't recently seen any of the once common New Orleans roasted chicken vendors in Hengyang. I figured it was now time for some not-quite-Texas fare in Hengyang.

Texas Burger (德州汉堡) at the Hengyang East Railway Station

I quickly scanned the menu and didn't see anything named a Texas Burger, so I ordered a burger which looked like a Big Mac. I didn't go for the full meal.

item on Texas Burger menu which resembles a Big Mac

The burger I soon received looked far more compressed than the one displayed in the menu. And the taste . . . well, the patty made me think of an overcooked old high school cafeteria-style burger. It definitely didn't make me think of anything I had ever eaten in Texas. Without a doubt, I would take New Orleans roasted chicken over that any day.

But at least I wasn't hungry anymore. And soon I departed Hengyang on a train route I had never traveled before. This meant I could enjoy some new views and attempt to photograph them through a dirty window while moving at about 200 kilometers per hour.

view of mountains from high-speed train

In about 2 hours and 40 minutes I arrived at my destination 342 kilometers (213 miles) from the station in Hengyang. Not bad for 100 yuan (U.S. $14.50).

My first view of the city from high up included a McDonald's but no Texas Burgers.

view of a Chinese city with a McDonald's

The city is more well known than Hengyang and popular with tourists, though, no, the glass pyramid in the photo isn't the entrance to the Louvre. For those familiar with China, this is a relatively easy one to figure out. Guesses welcome. Let me know if you want some Texas Burger as a prize.

No comments:

Post a Comment