Today we started our day slowly with the huge buffet breakfast at the Fengda International Hotel in Hefei (合肥市)
|Part of the large buffet and seating area|
|JT’s breakfast on the last day|
|Empty lobby at check-out|
|Cheap taxi ride to the airport|
|Information desk where they printed our tickets|
After gazing around the very new, clean train station, we found some seats near our gate.
The automated ticket checking machines start accepting tickets 15 minutes before departure and continues until 3 minutes before departure. So, we had about an hour wait until our train would board.
The toilets were free, clean squat toilets with running water but no soap for hand washing (all of this seems to be the norm for China).
JT got a pricey, but delicious, vanilla latte for ¥35 (~$6) from a cute little bookstore/coffee shop near track 2.
The train had not arrived yet. There are little plaques with each car number on them on the ground. We followed the locals and lined up behind these to board the train.
Once on board we found our seats and put our large luggage on the rack over our heads. The 2nd class seats on our D3048 (depart 14:17, ¥156.5 each) train seats were more spacious than we expected, with a large recline ability and plenty of leg room. (D trains are fast but not the fastest, nice but not the nicest).
JT quickly got to work on his Chromebook and worked most of the trip, but Katie gazed out the window for a while first. There is so much new development!
Our 3h13min journey went by quickly once we started listening to music. Without music, the rowdy children, crying babies, stink of the bathroom, and hacking noises might have been too much.
|One of the nicest train toilets we would come across|
Right at 5:30pm we reached Shanghai Hongqui station (上海虹桥站). After using the restrooms (mix of Western and squat toilets) we cleared the exit ticket check.
|Make sure you know where your ticket is for the exit checks!|
We bought ¥4 each subway tickets. After clearing security (bag scanning machines, no body checks), we boarded the 2 line train towards the city. The subway was crowded, but never became unbearable.
We both got the special of beef curry calzone and Greg and Sara both got meatball paninis. The calzone was great Greek/Indian fusion. It was really excellent and came with a nice salad. Since it was the special for the day, it gave you access to lower prices on draft beers and house wines – which we both utilized! It was refreshing to go into a restaurant that had English as its primary language (although our server’s English was minimal).
After dinner we stopped by Casa Mart – a very small Western grocery store – for milk and laundry detergent before heading home. Once back at Sara and Greg’s apartment, we started laundry and relaxed with them for a bit. It seems the spin cycle on their washer is broken, so we wrang out our clothes before hanging them on a drying rack.
It’s interesting to be in an expat neighbourhood and living with expats. We’re excited to go explore Shanghai tomorrow!