2012 China – Day 4 – 03.06.2012 – Jinan

The AC had worked diligently and quietly during the night. I only notice it early when I open the door to the corridor, how big the difference is between inside and outside. There was almost nothing going on on the streets. I drank some cappu and walked about 30 minutes before the train should leave for the station. As always everything was covered in a loose fog, where you could see about 5km far. The fog was certainly mixed with smog, but I couldn’t tell the difference. After the absolutely senseless scanning of the luggage and the beeping of the metal detector I went into the again gigantic departure hall and sat down to the correct gate.

I was staring at something in the area when the guy next to me asked me something in broken English. I asked back if I was going to board my train and said goodbye. The train had been on the way for some time like the one the day before. But I got a place for myself and my luggage. First I spent two hours with travel records, then I looked out of the window in the smoking area into the foggy area. Everything changed slowly more and more. On the distance between Dalian and Xingcheng there were rice fields, which I would have expected actually only later. South of Tijanjin the area suddenly consisted of poplars and fields. The corn was half a meter higher and the wheat was almost ready to be harvested. In the course of the trip I was able to run a few weeks in fast motion. One day later the harvest of wheat and potatoes was to be seen, the corn even higher and poplars exchanged for other tree species which I did not know. Later one was finally to be burned down the fields and finally they were all already burned down. I had forgotten that the Chinese do not have European table manners, so that loudly one sips, slurps and burps.

Not that I have anything against it, it’s just a bit strange at first. I had already thought about drinking one of the 3,5er beers on ex and then really loud…Around noon I arrived in Jinan. The train stupidly stopped at another station than the main station. However, I had found out this only after the usual orientation procedure before the station. The area and the city did not look very appealing at first sight. In front of the platform where all the passengers arrived, of course all the taxi roars were at work again. I went a little off to the other taxis and asked for the other station. A strange guy told me that he would drive me there for 30 minutes. I didn’t want any price negotiations at all, but that he would use the taximeter normally.

I still said 20 in Chinese, which the people standing around thought was kind of funny. The guy insisted on 30 and I just left without saying anything. I wasn’t in the mood for something like that. 100 m further around the corner there was a taxi. I made clear where I wanted to go and drove the 5km for the normal price of 9,5Y. The main station looked already completely different than the small west station. The hustle and bustle prevailed here. I also discovered my Chinese hotel brand, the Home Inn on the opposite side of the station. The station forecourt was quite big and on three sides completely built with high houses, which gave a certain feeling of tightness.

The Home Inn was almost fully booked. I had already expected that a hotel would be fully booked. One of the receptionists could speak some English, so she could tell me that there is only one left without a window. For one night this was completely unproblematic for me, because I did not intend to look out of the window for hours, but only later into the screen. The room should cost therefore this time also only 188Y. With it I had saved 5€, which I could spend for other senseless things.

I first went to the room, which had a window but according to the noises, went to the cleaning chamber and could not be opened. This time there was no kettle in the room but a water dispenser. I opened a vegetarian soup and filled it with hot water. As it turned out, the water was not really hot, so the glass noodles did not want to soften at all. I looked around the device and noticed that it was not switched on at all. I sent the great looking soup to the toilet and made myself a new one on which I had luckily still with me. The cleaning woman had to clean now the bad luck the red become toilet again. It was only shortly after noon and I went first to the opposite station to buy a ticket to Nanjing for the next day. Here were again with approx. 15 counters in each case 20-30 persons. It looked as if one would have to queue for certain trains at certain counters. I just stood where there were the fewest people.

When it came to me, I just wanted to make everything clear to her when she ran away to get a colleague who can speak English and thus angered the crowd behind me. Her English wasn’t so great now either and I could have done it quickly with her before. But I took the opportunity to ask for different train options. A D train should cost 200Y to Nanjing. I agreed, but noticed that I only had 195Y left. That was really bad luck now. I thought fast and did not come right on a solution. I could not leave after the procedure and get money and pay the card. But I needed a card. The crowd behind me apparently didn’t like that much, because the ticket lady often screamed something out. So I had to take a K-train after all. I was quickly shown the different departure times, but there was actually only one for 1117, but half the price of the train.

The strange ticket woman entered now however instead of like usually my passport number, any number into the name field of the map. I didn’t know where she had conjured it up. But I didn’t care, because nobody checks it anyway. I took my map and went south into the city center. Before that I got a box of Taishan for 11Y on the left side of the station. The city looked better with its many trees at the roadside than my first impression was. There were again many small shops, this time with partly bigger variety. For example, there was a stamp collector’s shop, but it had a very small selection. I wasn’t interested in that, but it was still noticeable. The city is described as extensive and that is what it is.

At one corner there was a department store with the usual stuff. But now there was also tourist stuff and e.g. teacup sets and teapots and tea sets. The prices were signposted there, so that I could get an overview of the price range. A high-quality looking set also cost around 100€, which causes space problems in the backpack. I was still looking for souvenirs. I saved the position on the navigation device and went on crosswise through the side roads, avoiding the main roads if possible. I went back again and sat down a few hundred meters left of the station at an exciting corner where there was a lot of activity to rest. Meanwhile my feet hurt more and more, because I walked at least 30 km every day.

It had become meanwhile 1700. At the corner taxis drove through an underpass through the middle of the chairs and the sitting guests of a cafe through. Someone once put a stone in front of the high curb and now who wanted to take this shortcut from the station to the left. At the corner there was also much traffic of tricycles, sometimes open times with box and of course bicycles, mopeds, motorcycles, most companions of it electrically driven. All drove crosswise and crosswise confused. There was a system behind it that could not be completely seen through. A miracle not even more accidents happen. Traffic signs are rather clues and are actually only noticed at large intersections. Around me one slowly began to develop its grill conditions.

I didn’t see much of what he had with him, but when I saw his list hanging on the car, I was already impressed by how varied his offer was. With the help of the LP I was able to identify some characters to be able to distinguish at least some animal species, vegetables and fish. It looked as if he had everything, but only a relatively small amount of each. So he had only a small bag full of each, about half a kilo. He had hardly set up and had not yet started the grill when there were already three customers. The first one got a vegetarian noodle soup. I sat practically directly behind the salesman at the stand and could watch him with his impressive skills of the preparation. You could clearly see that he did everything very routinely and almost blindly and very quickly.

The other two customers got meat skewers from the grill. The grill was an approx. 2 m long box, which was about 15 cm wide. Steel skewers were laid on it, the whole thing fired with charcoal. The 2 m long grill allowed to roast about 100 skewers at the same time. You can get some of the skewers, typically 5 – 10 pieces. I finally saw the seller unpack a fish. The thing was white and apparently had the consistency of rubber. At that time I thought it was fish. I asked for safety. He says Yu Waschi, so some fish. But it could also be an otter or something else with fish in its name. He told me that he had the thing from the yellow river. I don’t know how I could understand that, but it worked. I ordered 8 skewers from him. At my request they were treated quite spicy and were already ready after 10 minutes.

The fish or whatever imemr that was tasted like nothing at all, but had the strangest consistency I had ever eaten from a fish. The pieces were as crunchy as perhaps bamboo, but quite fibrous. When I took the first bite, I didn’t really know if it was a fish or a plant or something. I also got a bite, which was necessary, because the spice mixture was quite spicy, but bearable. I got a plate of fresh peanuts, drank the beer, paid 15Y and went to the K-Mart at the station next to the hotel. There was the tourist train I had been looking for.

I took two tea pots for 25Y with me and bought a folding chair that fits into a small backpack. I got some fruits, pastries and other stuff and went back to the hotel. In the meantime the climate had been working well. I thought it would go out as usual with the drawing of the card, which was not the case this time. So I had beautiful 23 degrees in my windowless hole. Today was washing day. I put all my clothes in the shower, gave some soap from the dispenser on top and treated the whole pile properly with hot water until the whole bath was wet and dirty. The stuff was hung to dry in front of the climate, whereupon I went to matte.