Resting my head back, I gaze out through the rain drizzled window, a hazy landscape rushes by as our train makes its way from Shanghai to Nanjing, a city a few hours northwest of Shanghai.
Arriving at the Nanjing Railway Station, I soon realized we were in a little bit of dilemma. Nanjing had a subway, but subways are only effective if you can figure out where to get on, and exactly where to get off, then you have to know how to get to this hostel you’ve never been to before which sometimes is a far cry from the nearest station, add to that you are fully loaded with whatever you have in your bag, and its sometimes a lot easier just to take a Taxi, to at least orientate yourself initially. In this case, the nearest station was quite far away, so we ruled it out.
Taxi’s themselves are no walk in the park in a place like China either, with my lack of chinese skills and no english spoken on behalf of most taxi drivers it can be a challenge to complete such a task that we take for granted at home. As we made our way outside of the train station I realized a big mistake on my part, I had forgotten to get the chinese address of the hostel we were staying at in Nanjing; a critical component for a successful taxi ride. Regardless of this fact, I headed out to talk to some drivers upfront of the massive station, I made good headway with one driver, and he seemed to understand where we needed to go, but the deal fell through when he refused to use the meter, writing down a hugely inflated price. I was stubborn, I turned him down, and we rethought our next move.
As we were sitting thinking about what to do, I noticed to girls sitting next to us, I asked them if they spoke english, and they did. I then asked them if they would be so kind as to write down the chinese address to our hostel. The girls managed to write down a bus stop near our hostel, and we thanked them for their help, you can’t be shy in China, and being polite can go a long way. Armed with our new weapon we laid siege on the taxi armada at the front of the station. We found a taxi who was able to take us where we needed to go, and on the meter, success!
Wandering through the streets of Nanjing in the pouring sleet rain and snow, we eventually located the hostel, and were happy to have a place to call home for a few days. Over the next few days we would explore this city, its drum tower, university, ming palace ruins, eating tasty noodles and sipping my first delicious glass of iced milk tea since I was last in asia as we looked onwards to Xi’an, our next stop.