Tuesday, April 23
Now on the bus to Hangzhou. We decided to skip the free hostel breakfast in lieu of getting to the South Shanghai bus station. The steamed buns are calling to me. Sniff, sniff.
We were going to take the subway to the bus station, but Frank got the feeling we’d get disoriented so we ended up taking a cab.
Taking a cab turned out to be a good choice because it was quick enough for us to catch the 8:38. Like Germany, when they say a time, they mean it. It was bus #666. The second bus of that number we’ve had.
Not much to say about the 5.5-hour bus ride. It was mostly quiet, no movie blasting this time. When we arrived at the station, the hordes descended on us. Take my taxi! But a woman in a green coat took the cake. She got in our faces and would not go away. Even when we thought we’d finally shaken her, there she was again! She even called someone on the phone who spoke English and then smashed it on my ear. She banged her keys on the metal railing. At first we laughed incredulously at her ridiculous tactics. She was a true hustler. In the end, she won because we got in her cab.
She didn’t even stop squawking at us when we got to the Ancient Town Youth Hostel. She jumped out of the cab and practically shoved us to the lobby of the hotel next door because she thought it was a better place.
We were starving, so we went to a wonton place right across from the hostel. Big mistake. That place was awful. Frank asked them if they had anything without meat and they are just like every other place and say of course they have dishes without meat. The food arrives, it’s full of meat. We give up.
After that we strolled the picturesque old town, but everything outside of that small area is just rows and rows of lookalike shops and bland apartment high rises. There is so much to buy, all the time, everywhere.
We stopped in a cafe called Sweet Time Coffee for our now-customary afternoon coffee break. We got out the lactase pills, because even though we asked for soy milk, we got lattes with regular milk. We give up again! The highlight was that Frank got a bear out of foam in his cappuccino.
That was strange. Part of the roof over the rec room just collapsed. Nighty night!