Friday, January 05, 2007

Shenyang (沈阳)

dragonsI traveled by bus from Dalian to Shenyang. I stopped at Shenyang for two reasons. One it was half way to Harbin and being a major transportation hub, a good place to stop-over. The second reason was that it had a palace that the Manchurian empire built before conquering China and moving their palace to Beijing.

When I arrived I was a little worried. Normally I am surrounded by women wanting to sell me hotel accommodation. This did not happen. So I stopped to purchase a map. Then out of the blue, a woman arrived and all was OK. She took me to a very hard to find hotel across the road from the train station. It was hard to find because I had to go through a restaurant, through a dark, water covered corridor and up the only working lift to the 8th floor. The room numbering was strange. There only seemed to be rooms with the digits 0, 4 and 8.

That afternoon I went for a wander around the area I was staying. I had another of those, if only I spoke more Chinese incidents. This woman said to me - bu shr er, which as far as I can tell means not is 2. But then maybe I do not understand. I also had the man with the GPS incident later in the day. I also went and purchased my bus ticket to Harbin. I was having difficulties with the day and the woman at the counter just froze up when she realised I do not speak much Chinese. So I said, jintian, mingtian and then looked hopeful. Luckily the man behind said hwotian. Which means the day after tomorrow. That was when I wanted to travel by bus.

The next day I wandered off down to the Imperial Palace. I spent many hours there, and I think it is much better than the forbidden palace in Beijing.

The next day I travelled by bus to Harbin. The bus was much older. They filled the under-bus storage and back half of the bus with cartons, so I had to have my bag with me on my seat. I was there early and was able to sit directly behind the driver. Halfway to Harbin we made an unscheduled stop to unload the boxes and then later made another stop to pick someone up. With all of this we were over an hour late arriving in Harbin and the sun set as I arrived.

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