Monday, November 18, 2013

A Trip Northward from Zhuhai by High-Speed Rail

Previously, I wrote about my experience traveling by high-speed rail from Guangzhou South Station to Zhuhai when the main Zhuhai station did not exist and I had to take a long taxi ride from Zhuhai North Station to a more central area. I later shared what I saw at the under-construction Zhuhai Railway Station and provided an update when I read the station had opened.

Three days ago I went to the Zhuhai Railway Station.

Zhuhai Railway Station

I wasn't there just to visit, and after passing through some light security I stayed in the waiting area.

waiting area inside the Zhuhai Railway Station

After a quiet wait, I boarded a high-speed train.

passengers boarding a train at the Zhuhai Railway Station

And I enjoyed the scenery as I headed north.

a view of apartment complexes and fields through a train window

Guangzhou was not my final destination, so I had the opportunity to visit the waiting area of Guangzhou South Station again (scenes from an earlier trip here).

Guangzhou South Station waiting area

I would have preferred to eat some of Guangzhou's delicious food, but the station's offerings seemed more mundane. So I picked up a passable tuna sandwich from FamilyMart, a Japanese convenience store chain I became familiar with in Shanghai and Taipei.

Later, I boarded another high-speed train, but this was one of China's faster G line trains. Again, I enjoyed some of the views as I headed further north.

scenic view of mountains from train window while heading from Guangzhou to Changsha

Not all of the scenes were as clear as above, though.

Upon arriving at my destination, I could taste air pollution like I never tasted in Zhuhai. I also noticed a few changes at the train station such as a new area for boarding taxis that is far more orderly and efficient than before:

taxi line with rails

The taxi I rode provided several signs of my new destination, include the fair starting at 6 RMB instead of Zhuhai's 10 RMB and the bust of Mao Zedong proudly sitting on the dashboard.

a bust of Mao Zedong on top a Changsha taxi dashboard

During the taxi ride, a highway sign provided an unexpected reminder of where I had started the day far away.

sign in Changsha for G4 highway and the destinations of Beijing and Zhuhai

Finally, I arrived at my hotel. Upon stepping out of the taxi I saw a hotel security man probably in his 50s approaching me with a huge smile. Despite it having been a year since my last visit, I immediately recognized him. We created a bit of a scene high-fiving each other.

I've never seen a FamilyMart in this part of China, but I didn't need one. Later that night, I enjoyed a meal at one of my favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurants.

Liuyang style restaurant in Changsha

Unlike my arrival here last year, I will not do a "guess where I am" post. I'm back in Changsha, Hunan province. The train portion of my journey from Zhuhai to Changsha took less than 5 hours, including a one hour layover in Guangzhou. The new station in Zhuhai certainly made traveling to Changsha more convenient. Given Changsha's traffic, though, I am now looking forward to the opening of something else under construction: the Changsha subway.

I will not be in Changsha as long as my previous stay, but I should have ample time to make some comparisons between then and now. I have already seen much that has changed.

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