Travel to Zhengzhou for vacation

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1-14-2014

I am on the first day of my vacation with Jim in Zhengzhou (Jong-Jo). We left Ganyu around 9 AM. We took a bus from Ganyu to Xinpu to take a train here. I walked the 30 minutes to the bus station in 25 degree weather. Thankfully I have a nice, warm ski jacket. I like walking now everywhere. It is good exercise. And, I get to see many things.

I met Jim at the bus station. We take an uneventful trip to Xinpu. The train station is a block from the bus station, so we get our ticket. We had ordered them online a few days before, so it was much easier to just show the confirmation and have the tickets processed at the window. There was an hour before the bus was to leave, so we had a bite to eat. Rather, I had a bite to eat. Jim apparently had some drink the night before that put him in a sickly way for the trip. At least he could sleep the 8 hours on the way to our destination. After the meal, we entered the departure waiting area of the train station. They require you to put your things through a scanner and they use a metal detector wand to check you out. I get called over for a bag check. They asked about the can of shaving cream I had in my bad. I think it was just because I was a foreigner. But, I do not mind. I just let them play their games.

We get onto the train. Thankfully we have a sleeper car. The bunks are on either side of the room and are three high. Jim had the top bunk and I had the middle bunk. It was good. Cramped spaces. It is much better than having to sit in seats for 8 hours. Jim sleeps most of the way. I sleep some and watch a movie on my computer. Later in the trip, we meet a college student on vacation. His English is very good. He is one of the few Chinese people who likes to talk. And, he talked, and talked, and talked. Ha Ha. It was fun though. The toilets on a train are interesting too. Yes, they are squat toilets. But, they just “flush” down a pipe onto the tracks below. You can see down the pipes and see the tracks move under you. Before the trains pull into a station, the attendants lock the bathrooms so that you are not using them when the train is in station. The stations would get very smelly.

We arrive at our destination and make our way outside. We are in the middle of various high rises. And, what do we see? A Burger King. Definitely a first stop on our trip. You have no idea how great Burger King food is if you go without Western food for a long period. We gobble it down as if we had not eaten for days. Then we head for a taxi. There is a line of taxis outside of the train station. A man standing outside the taxi stand was offering us a wonderful price of 60 RMB to our hotel. Thankfully, I am wise enough to know to use a real taxi with a meter. It only cost us 23 RMB.

The hotel is so much better than I had anticipated. It is 60 RMB a night here. The hotel should be 3-4 times that in the USA with the style and niceness of the hotel and room. The woman that checks us into the hotel spoke English very well. She seemed surprised that we were surprised by her English. It seems that most in the hotel speak English very well. And, they are very, very professional here. The bellman arranges to take us up the elevator too. We get to the room and I am like a kid in a toy store. There are so many buttons and things to see and play with. For instance, in the shower, there is a large glass window that looks into the living area of the room. There is a shade to use for privacy when the shower or toilet is in use. To operate the curtain, you have to use a remote control. FUN!!! There is a light button next to the bed that turn on a light under the bathroom sink for when you have to get up in the middle of the night. There are separate light switches for the painting in the room and the “headboard to the beds light up too. The rooms even have door bells. And, you do not use the door handle hanger to indicate privacy or not room service. Oh no. Not at Novel Hotel in Zhengzhou. You press a button that turn on a light in the hallway with the indication that you want or do not want service. The beds are soft. The comforter is warm and plush. The pillows are awesome. I feel like I am a celebrity. We are on the 11th floor and should have had a great view this morning. But fog or smog has rolled in and we cannot see much of anything right now. Last night’s view was pretty good though.

We finished up our travel day by going to the fifth floor of the hotel. They have an indoor pool that is beautiful. And, they have a sauna, workout room, massage, and other amenities. We are definitely living the good life. It makes me wonder what we would have gotten at a $100 a night hotel. I know the $25 a night hotel in Xinpu get you a nicely stained carpet, poor bedding, and few amenities. Ha Ha. A night cap was in order. We went to the bar and had two watered down, overly priced drinks. But, we didn’t care. It was just good to be on vacation.

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