After Darien and D returned from school this afternoon, we headed to the Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station (上海虹桥站) to board the high-speed bullet train to Beijing, which shortens the train ride between Beijing and Shanghai from 10 hours to 5 hours.
It’s a reeeeeally huge place with lots of people! (Duh, it’s China we’re talking about… There will be people everywhere!)
After asking for directions a couple of times (they speak really fast and were not very helpful with directing us 😐 ), we finally got to the ticket office.
We’re all set to leave Shanghai for Beijing! 😀
Each ticket entitles the ticket holder to a bottle of drink:
We saw a few locals leaving with 2 bottles though, not sure why we only got 1… 😐
After walking a long way from the ticket office which is at one end of the station to the other end, we finally got to our boarding gate, 1B:
We managed to find three seats and got comfortable while waiting for the time to board…
We were allowed to board the train half an hour before the train leave the station and it was CHAOTIC!
Most people queued according to their class of tickets – First Class and Business Class ticket holders could board from a gate first while the rest of us could only board after they’ve all boarded but from another gate. Some of the rest decided to queue at the First/Business Class gate and then when they got rejected (harshly by the staff because they were rude as well), attempted to jump queue. Eventually, when our gate was open, everyone was just shoving and pushing to get past the gate. 😐
Walk past this gate and you’ll see the high-speed bullet train!
The train has 14 carriages and this is the front half of it:
Look at the throngs of people boarding!
And all the people trying to load their luggage, get their seats and settle down…
The train took off soon after and gradually accelerated…
Eventually reaching a speed of…
Futile attempt at getting a shot of the scenery because the train is travelling so fast!
We did not have time to take our lunch this afternoon, and we read that we could buy food on the train, so we decided to buy food from the onboard cafeteria (in Carriage 9):
These 2 packs of food cost RMB 98 (SGD 20.50).
The food was horrible! No wonder Darien and D saw that many passengers had packed their own food (KFC / Burger King / MacDonald’s)…
The train stopped for “transit” at Nanjing South Station (南京南站):
As our luggage was too large and hence unsafe to be placed on the overhead compartment, we had to place it at the start of our carriage (where passengers alight) and so, J was so paranoid she asked D to go stand-by the luggage to make sure no one alighted with it.
It was a very short “transit” of about 3 minutes and the train continued on its journey to Beijing.
J likes taking the window seat (even when on long-haul flights) as she likes checking out the scenery en route…
Night had fallen by the time we reached the Beijing South Railway Station (北京南站).
Upon exiting, we were swamped with people asking if we need a ride to our destination, telling us they charged a flat rate.
Of course, being in a foreign country made us fear for our own safety and money, we chose to head to the taxi stand.
We made a mental note of food we could buy when we’re returning to Shanghai:
Definitely NOT buying food from the train and getting ripped off! 😐
Their lounge area looks so comfortable and welcoming!
D at the reception, checking us in:
The hotel has 3 levels of rooms and the first level, which is where the reception is, looks like this:
They’ve got couches along the corridor for guests to chill at – what good use of space! 😉
Darien’s obviously happy with his room!
Having seen Darien’s room, we were so excited to see ours!
The couch behind the television looks all comfy for us to laze on.
The curvy-wurvy design of the desk is so unique:
The bathroom has that “peekaboo” effect 😛
AND here’s what we love about the bathroom – its floor is heated!! No more freezing cold floors in this winter!! 😀
The well-concealed fridge and pantry are beside the television.
Everything in the fridge and pantry can be consumed and will be replaced the next day.
The stamp is a souvenir for us!
All guests may take the stamp (and its accompanying pouch) with them for keep-sake, how sweet! 🙂
After we were quite settled, we decided to explore the hotel a little before dinner.
We headed to the basement:
The Business Centre is easily accessible.
D asked the friendly staff about the gymnasium and spa:
This is the gym:
Yes, what we’ve captured on camera is all they’ve got; guess people don’t really need many equipment for exercise when they’re on holiday?
We headed out for dinner when we were done with exploration.
Not sure how long the car’s been parked there but we reckon it’s been quite a long while considering how dusty it was as well as how much leaves had accumulated under it…
We love that we’re living so near Forbidden City (故宫, once known as 紫禁城) and that we have all these ancient architectural buildings to admire…
We believe that’s a part of Forbidden City (故宫 / 紫禁城) and look forward to visiting tomorrow!
We wish it would snow…
We were excited to try this 老北京炸酱面:
We were disappointed to find it closed for refurbishment… 😦
The guys went about researching dinner venues:
We decided to take a taxi out to grab dinner as it was getting late, and seeing this beautiful pavilion really made us look forward to visiting Forbidden City (故宫 / 紫禁城) tomorrow! 😀
After a 10 minutes taxi ride, we arrived at 老石水饺 (Mr. Shi’s Dumplings):
老石水饺 (Mr. Shi’s Dumplings) isn’t located along the road but is found in a 胡同 (back alley).
Mr. Shi has a wall for a guest-book!
Check out how many people of different nationalities have been there!
(Mr. Shi has free WiFi for his guests’ usage too! 😉 )
The orders are freshly made:
Because it’s cheaper to drink beer than water or soft drinks:
The fried mushrooms were delicious.
Fried just right, crunchy yet juicy.
They’ve got a wide array of dumplings – steamed and fried:
We ordered a plate of steamed dumplings…
…and a plate of fried dumplings…
…and another plate of fried dumplings.
Mr. Shi boasts of no use of MSG or chicken flavouring as well as minimal use of oil and salt:
Obvious from our order, we liked the steamed dumplings more – the fried dumplings were dripping with oil (of course, how else can they be fried??); oil aside, both the steamed and fried dumplings were tasty and did not leave us thirsty (which meant there should not be MSG use).
He’s proud of the recognition he’s received:
老石水饺 (Mr. Shi’s Dumplings)
东城区 (Dongcheng District)
鼓楼东大街 (Gulou East Street)
宝钞胡同74号 (近南锣鼓巷) (74 Baochao Hutong; near Nanluoguxiang)
Tel: +86 010 8405 0399
1. The power sockets are ‘international’ – there’s no need for us to use our own adapters.
Perfect for those who may have forgotten or for those who want to “travel lighter”.
2. L’Occitane toiletries!
3. The items in the bathroom kit are of relatively good quality!
All ritey, enough sulking and time for bed as we’ll be having a longgggggg day ahead tomorrow! 😉