We were handling a project on lower tier cities in China so we had the opportunity to head out to Wuhan (武汉) a second-tier city, and a smaller 4th-tier city called Jingmen (荆门) about 2.5 hours’ drive from Wuhan. This trip was a mad blast, dashing between four places in 4 days to complete our fieldwork.
The madness started the morning we had to depart for Wuhan. Arriving at the Hongqiao airport, I found my fellow researcher KK waiting at the check-in counter while other passengers behind him were checking in. This couldn’t be good. Soon I found out from KK that the travel agency had messed up so our names weren’t on the namelist of the 8AM flight. We had to make an emergency call to our poor colleague Kelly who helped with the booking. Dear Kelly quickly got things sorted out. Although there were still no seats for us on the 8AM flight, Kelly managed to secure a 10AM flight for us, but it was at the Pudong Airport. So we had to rock on an hour long airport transportation, very very sleepily, to the international airport on the far east of Shanghai (Hongqiao is on the northwest).
Throughout this trip, all our flights did not have aerobridges, we had to be shipped on crammed buses onto the tarmac. Not exactly the most comfortable option, but a different experience nevertheless.
Fortunately, everything else after that was smooth as silk. In spite of our extremely short stay, I thoroughly enjoyed the city of Wuhan and Jingmen.
Our colleagues brought us to this amazing, one-of-a-kind restaurant in Jingmen.
The red text on the pyramid-shaped chimneys are Chinese surnames, no idea why they label them this way.
Delicacy served at that amazing restaurant. The chef cooked on our table, haha.
We spent the night in Jingmen at a hotel which overlooks a reservoir, and a view like this.
The following afternoon, our colleagues took us to a famous tourist spot in Jingmen - a mausoleum - whose compound was so expansive it felt we had walked forever. Not exactly the most fun thing to do in scorching heat.
A group shot of our party. If my smile seems a little forced, I'm sorry. It wasn't easy in the intense afternoon sun.
On the road back to Wuhan, I was extremely delighted to find these windmills and solar panels generating power for road lamps. If all cities in the world could do this, Planet Earth will have a chance.
Truckers take a break to fill gas and stretch their limbs.
Remnants of Wuhan's colonial past.
Even on a Wednesday night when the next day is a working day, it was strangely packed.
Bars and clubs were bustling with activities. This can be explained by the immense student population here in Wuhan amounting to more than a million, and the city's strategic location in the heart of the Three Gorges.
This, my friends, is the magnificent Yangtze River 长江.
Heading back to our hotel to get ready for our early morning flight the next day, we cut through this street market. At almost 11PM, it was still abuzz with activity of all kinds. It feels like the Ladies Market in Hong Kong or Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur. It's good to be young. See you soon, now we're off to Xi'an.