The morning after Jellyfish
I started this morning with an easy 5km run down and around the canal at 7am. I was feeling surprisingly awake when my alarm went off and actually looked forward to running in the rain!
When I got back to the hostel ( a little wet from the rain) our dorm mates were awake. They were so nice! One was a Chinese girl from Hubei (where Wuhan is! She absolutely loved it when we said how much we enjoyed our time there!) who has been studying at a French University and the other was a vegetarian International Relations teacher from Australia teaching at a university in Shanghai (Leah said that this would be me when I’m older ha!).
We all had a massive conversation about what we thought of China so far- politics as well as the cultural side. It’s quite strange coming from the west where we don’t have many restrictions on information compared to China where the younger population knows that they’re being withheld information and history- the Chinese girl even joked that our lonely planet guide was probably more accurate than what she’d been taught in China!
We took the metro to the Wenshu temple after breakfast and walked around the grounds. It was so peaceful and calm walking along the pathways when it was still slightly raining, not only was the rain refreshing but it seemed to be keeping lots of tourists away!
Just outside the temple grounds the streets were buzzing with activity. Street food vendors were dealing with the lunch rush, selling more traditional Chinese street food like noodles and rice dishes, to Indian food (meat skewers with naan bread).
We ate in the vegetarian restaurant next to the temple and had the buffet. It was really nice being able to chose from lots of different dishes and not have to worry about meat popping up.
I tried lots of different dishes; pumpkin and potato, vegetable noodles, mushrooms, three different kinds of tofu, and so much more! It started to rain heavily when we went for lunch so we waited for it to stop and drank lots of the unlimited tea provided (it was really sweet with lemons and berries in). Leah and I were both well and truly stuffed by the time we left!
After lunch we walked to Tianfu square and looked at the large statue of Mao which dominates the sky line. It’s huge and looks over the park opposite the road (which now houses an underground shopping centre).
The life and death market
We got really lost walking back your hostel from the statue of Mao- turning a 20minute journey into over 2 and a half hours of circling the streets. We passed shopping centre after shopping centre and somehow ended up in a market place selling animals (we assumed for eating). The fish were packed into tanks, the meat was hung up to dry and the little turtles were running around in boxes. It was horrible to see so we quickly got out of there!
We popped into the fruit market next door to our hostel on the way back and was overwhelmed with the amount of fruit, veg, nuts and seeds that there was! It all looked so fresh and tasty! It’s crazy to think of the comparison between the life and vitality provided by this market compared to the depressing meat market we were at earlier!
We went on another walk later in the evening back along the canal that I ran this morning. It was so nice at night! All of the shops and restaurants that were empty at 7am were illuminated and full of people. The trees along the canal all had fairy lights and music was playing out of the bars.
We wanted a little break from Chinese food (after eating it non stop for three weeks) so went for dinner in a Vietnamese restaurant we passed. I was really craving something nice and refreshing. All of the Chinese food that we’ve been eating lately has been pretty oily and heavy so the vegetable spring rolls on the menu grabbed my attention straight away. Leah wanted soup so we were both able to get what we wanted.
We were also really craving something carby that wasn’t rice or noodles and this restaurant sold cubed potatoes- perfect! The food was really good and the spices that the chef used to flavour the potatoes was really different to anything that we’ve had in China so far – I’m very optimistic about the food in Vietnam now!
After dinner we walked along the canal some more and found even more bars and restaurants full of people. There were also lots of people dancing and chilling in the pagodas and grass areas long the river- I love China at night! There’s always something to do or group of people to watch doing something interesting!
Back at the hostel we tried our first plumple (a fruit that’s a mixture between a plum and an apple) provided by our Chinese dorm mate. It was really good and something that we’ll be looking out for at the fruit market next door tomorrow!