About two weeks into my life in China, I signed up for a trip to Ningbo. I was excited to explore outside of Fuzhou and meet some people from other branches at the school.
At 6.40am, I left my apartment to hunt for a taxi to take me to the train station. For some reason, it seems as though taxis just do not exist before 7am in Fuzhou! Where were they all?! I eventually managed to flag one down, after several minutes of panicking, and made my way to the station.
When I got to the station, it looked like an airport! It was absolutely massive. I couldn’t believe it – I was expecting some little train station, nothing quite like the airport-like building I was being dropped off at.
We waited for the rest of the group to arrive, and then made our way into the station where we had to go through passport control and have our bags scanned through the x-ray machine.
There was only one man at passport control, and what seemed like hundreds of people trying to get past him. We eventually got through, but one of the guys on the tour was held behind at passport control! His passport number had been incorrectly written on his ticket, and he wasn’t being allowed through. We were cutting it fine with the amount of time left before train departed. So fine, in fact, that the doors to the platform had been padlocked shut! We managed to get the doors unlocked, and ran down onto the train just before it left.
The train was so nice! Really clean, spacious, and fast. I was sat by the window, and so had a nice time looking out of the window at the scenery flashing past. After about 4 hours we arrived at Ningbo. We were greeted by a coach and taken along to a restaurant for lunch.
Day 1 – Deep-Sea Fishing
We had a huge amount of food for lunch – rice, noodles, bok choi, chicken, soups, shrimps, pork, and a whole lot more I can’t remember. We then headed off to the shore where we were going deep-sea fishing.
Deep-sea fishing…. I am not exactly the fishing type. I’m a bit creeped out by fish, if I’m entirely honest. But, hey! I’m saying yes to as much as possible at the moment, and so that is how I ended up on a trip with deep-sea fishing on the itinerary. For some reason, I was expecting us to be on a big trawler, far off shore. Thankfully, that was not the case. Instead, we were on a lovely little quaint fishing boat, with a fisherman and his wife. To get to the boat, we had to walk down a very long rickety wooden pier onto a little dock.
When we set off, we had a nice little ride around the bay. It was nice to get some fresh air, and the wind was really refreshing. On the boat, we stopped a couple of times so that the fisherman and his wife could pick up their traps. They showed us their catch and then the fisherman’s wife cooked it for us!
We pulled up at a little island and ate the seafood. I had some of the octopus, shrimps and attempted to eat some crab. The crabs were extremely fiddly, so in the end, I just gave up as I wasn’t really getting anywhere with it.
We headed back to shore, where we went and settled in at the hotel. After freshening up, we headed to the KTV (karaoke bar) which was right next door. How perfect! We had a great time singing, and I think we ended up spending more time at the KTV than we had fishing! Ha! After about 4-5 hours of karaoke, we stopped and got some street food (which was so cheap and delicious!) and then headed back to the hotel to sleep!
Day 2 – Chiang Kai-Shek & the Straw Museum
The next morning after a buffet breakfast, we got back on the coach and headed about 100 meters to the hometown of Chiang Kai-Shek, who led the Republic of China for many years. His hometown was very pretty, and we learnt about his family and the history of the town. We saw where he lived, where his son lived, where he was born and the previous family home. The buildings were beautiful and the small town was peaceful, despite there being quite a few tourists around. We explored for quite a few hours and wandered down the old street. It was nice to have wandered around there and seen somewhere with such history in China.
After several hours of exploring Chiang Kai-Shek’s hometown, we all got back onto the bus, and had another very filling lunch, then headed to the rather peculiar straw museum. It was, essentially, a quick 5 minute pit stop. We wandered around the very small museum, looked at pictures of a building and then we went into the shop. The shop was not really a souvenir shop. It was a proper shop with a whole bunch of good quality straw products! The museum had been slightly bizarre with some wax models of people pretending to make straw. All very strange…
Rita is a British ESL teacher currently teaching at our Ping Dong branch. You can read her story on how she ended up in China here.