qiandao hu

Buying tix to Shanghai/ Eating on a floating platform in middle of nowhere [YQasia Day 6 Oct 1]

Location: Qiandao Hu

Park by the lake

Since Nicole and I did not sign up for any day tours, we were free to wake up whenever we want. “Whenever” turned out to be 8am since we still needed to buy our Oct 3 ticket to Shanghai from the long-distance bus terminal.

Either Wang Xing or her mother-in-law prepared breakfast so we saved on spending for one meal. Breakfast was porridge with two vegetable side dishes. Wang Xing’s mother-in-law helped us pick out cutlery and we only had a pair of chopsticks and our bowl as ammo.

How do you eat porridge with chopsticks? Drink it like soup. If you eat more daintily, you can pick up bits of flowing rice with your chopsticks. That works too.

After breakfast, we went to see if the bicycle rental shop was open. I joked that we could cycle all the way to the bus terminal but everyone vetoed the idea. Anyway, the bike shop wasn’t open yet so we took the public bus.

Bus 7 was already filled up when it reached our stop. Our luck of having seats on public bus ended today and we had to stand for the return trip as well.

At Qiandao Hu’s terminal, there wasn’t any automated vending machine for tickets so we spoke to the lady at the counter for our ticket to Shanghai. It costs 122 yuan each for the 7-hour trip.

We didn’t have any plans for the day after the tickets so we hung around the terminal. We found the tourist information counter and picked up a few maps. The maps encouraged visitors to cycle around the lake. But looking at the map, we realized that it was really a Herculean effort to do so.

We hung around until we were bored and decided to head back to town. The queue at the bus stop was terrible and we didn’t board the first bus that came. We tried to beat the system by hanging out at the drop off point for bus #2.

Unfortunately, the driver was fair and told us to board at the correct place. We sighed and obeyed. At least this bus wasn’t packed with people.

When we got back to town, I told Nicole that I saw a shop selling fresh soy bean milk and that it had Wi-Fi. We went to the place and got very strange drinks. My soy milk tasted like it was made from powder and Nicole’s blueberry cheese milk shake was made from powder and was warm.

We got online and surfed the very limited sites that we could: Foursquare, LinkedIn, Nicole’s Yahoo Mail. That’s about all that was free from the Great Firewall of China.

I had to reload some credit onto Whitney’s phone. She lent me her Xiaomi phone and it was running out of credit. I found out that her monthly phone bill is 150 yuan which is rather shocking. Later I found out that the phone company pumps back 60 yuan as part of her phone contract.

Playing chess with a statue

Lunchtime at Xiushui Renjia

As gluttons, we were ready for lunch at the stroke of noon. Since Nicole figured out that dinner was at some place far, we went to the fancy restaurant Wang Xing wanted to bring us to that day.

There was a short queue at Xiushui Renjia (秀水人家) [The People of the Beautiful Water, I think.] Everyone in the queue is required to leave their phone numbers. Unfortunately, I didn’t know my number and I told the restaurant employee so.

The employee gave me an incredulous look and said, “How could you not know your number?” *All conversations are translated to English.*

I explained that I borrowed the phone from my friend. In the end, I only left my name and the number of people dining (2 people).

Our turn arrived fast and we picked four dishes from the menu. Our table was by the window and looked out to the square. Since it was a public holiday, there was an event out on the square and loads of people were walking around.

Our meal was fabulous and we managed to finish every scrap. When I was in Peru, I met a Russian lady who proclaimed that China has the best food. I didn’t quite agree then since I thought Malaysian food was awesome as well. But now, I think I’m starting to believe that the best food is found in China.

After our meal, we were tired. Since we needed to head out for dinner at 5pm, Nicole suggested that we head back to Wang Xing’s house for a nap. I agreed and imagine dozing off on the hard spring mattress (which is more comfortable than soft beds).

I took my nap seriously and woke up before 4pm. Whitney said she would pick us up at 4:30pm so we got ready.

Dining on the water

Little Cola

Whitney, her husband and little Cola came to pick us up. They told us that we needed to wait for two other cars from Shanghai so we hung out at a little park beside the lake shore.

The park had exercise equipment for the old. Singapore also has these equipment and I enjoy the “Space Walking” machine and the “Lift Your Own Weight” machine very much.

At the park, there were a lot of kids. I think, generally, there are a lot of kids in China and the parents marry quite young (25-ish).

The boys were playing a rough game of shooting each other’s brains out with toy guns. One particular kid look rather haggard and was very violent with his toy gun.

Cola managed to pee with his pants on. Afterwards, his mom reminded him to tell her if he needs to pee. He then said in his cute voice, “Mommy, I need to pee.” *All conversations are translated to English.*

After Cola had his pants changed, the folks from Shanghai arrived and we all set off to the dinner place.

It turns out, our dinner was in the middle of a valley and we needed to drive on a long unlit, windy, unpaved, mountain road covered with dust. Just beside the road is loads of water so we could end up as fish food if the drivers were not careful.

Finally we reached the end of the road, we still needed to get onto small boats to head to the dining area which was on a floating platform.

The food came out very fast and in very large woks and plates. We had fish cooked in 4 different ways: spicy, milky fish soup, steamed and sashimi form. The steamed fish brought out the tenderness of Qiandao Hu’s fish and was very popular among us at the table. There were quite a lot of stir fried vegetables as well.

We also ate persimmons and mandarins plucked fresh from Whitney’s husband’s family orchard. I’ve never eaten persimmons as juicy. We were told to take off the persimmon’s crown and break it into half to gorge on the flesh.

After the food coma-inducing meal, we set sail back to shore. Whitney’s family brought us back to her sister’s. Nicole and I need to be ready at 6:10am tomorrow so we can be on time for the wedding procession to Lilian’s hometown.

Until tomorrow!

Read the other posts in the YQ in China series:

Day 1 Misadventures at Hangzhou Airport [YQasia Day 1 Sep 26]
Day 2 Swindlers and bicycle misadventures at West Lake
Day 3 Bike returning at West Lake/ Staying with a cute baby [YQasia Day 3 Sep 28]
Day 4 To Thousand-Island Lake by bus [YQasia Day 4 Sep 28]
Day 5 Tour of Qiandao Hu (Thousand-Island Lake) [YQasia Day 5 Sep 30]

More about Liau Yun Qing

Yun Qing is a writer, improviser and curious person. She loves finding little adventures in life. In 2013, she went on a 130-day round-the-world trip. She wrote a book to help those who also want to go on a career break.

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