Hefei to Shanghai

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
After breakfast, we took some time to work and catch-up on emails and our to do lists in the room (#2006). We packed up and checked out of the hotel at 12:15pm and took a ¥16 (<$3) taxi to the Hefei South train station.
Empty lobby at check-out
Cheap taxi ride to the airport
 Once at the train station, it seems we missed the ticket office where we should have picked up our reserved tickets. Instead, we went through security and then went to the information desk to inquire about where to pick up our tickets. The ladies at the information desk were able to print our tickets right there with no issues.
Information desk where they printed our tickets

After gazing around the very new, clean train station, we found some seats near our gate.

Our first “selfie video” – taken with no planning and no editing

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.

We scanned our tickets at the ticket check when the gates opened and then walked down the stairs to the platform.

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.

JT braved the bathroom and was surprised to find Western toilets. There were two locking bathrooms with a toilet and sink, as well as one locking urinal stall.

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.

Crowded – but not stuffed – subway car
We exited at the Jing’an Temple stop (静安寺站) and eventually found Exit 2 where JT’s childhood friend Greg was waiting for us. Greg led us to his apartment, as he and his fiancée Sara had graciously agreed to let us stay in their guest room.
After settling in a bit, we went out to dinner at Urbn Shanghai – an expat restaurant that served various types of food.

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!

Leave a Reply