Out-of-town bus journey with Melrose.
Jan 15, 2018
|Melrose had chores to do this morning, and so did I, so we decided to meet at the bus stop outside the college, at some time after 2.30.
I had had a message from Andy's Auntie, inviting me to meet her and a friend for morning tea, near my college. She was to collect me from the college at 10am, but I arrived early, so sent her a message to say that I would walk up to the hotel. But there was confusion, and misunderstanding all round! I waited for ages, sent her my location a couple of times, but she did not turn up. I was just in the process of writing her a message at about 10.30 to say that I was going back to the college, and we could meet another time. But she came dashing out of the front door!!
So at last we had connected. Her friend wants to learn English from me, but it looked like a big challenge. However, the longer we were there, the more she relaxed and was able to communicate. She asked me to give her an English name, and as it sounds a lot like her Chinese name, I suggested Wendy, and she liked it. Then they wanted an English name for Auntie. Sounding also like her Chinese name, we decided on Sandy!!
It was actually not quite as difficult as I had expected, as Wendy relaxed. Auntie speaks no English at all, and all our communication is via the translate function on wechat! At around 12.30, Auntie drove me back to the front gate of the college on her scooter.
While I was waiting for Melrose, I asked her if she could send me the registration plate of the bus that she ends up getting on.
Technology is just amazing, as I keep on realizing. Melrose messaged me with the license plate of the bus she was on, so I could track it on my bus app, and not end up on the wrong bus!
We headed out of town on a #4 bus. It goes through the area where Andy used to work when he first graduated from college. I cannot believe how developed this area is now. Lots of huge apartments complexes. Probably a good option for anyone wanting to buy a house, as it is not a modernly developed area, so I would imagine that the prices would not be exorbitant. And perhaps no huge shopping malls in the vicinity, but more the little local shops and markets, which makes for much cheaper shopping.
Something interesting here is the fact that the same item at a little roadside shop is likely to be cheaper than if you buy it at a modern supermarket. The opposite to in Australia generally. There may not be the range of products in the little shops, but generally you will find all the basics. And of course the fruit and veges, and meat, are way cheaper and also much fresher in the markets than in the supermarkets. Great reasons to support small businesses!
We got to the end of the bus route, where there is a ferry dock crossing the river. They take cars, but also passengers. It seems that it costs 20rmb to transport a car, and only 1 rmb for a person to cross the river. We were very tempted to go over with the ferry, but could not clearly ascertain a return time, and also did not know what there might be to see over the river. So, our plan is to do this one day, when we have a Chinese friend with us, to make sure of our return!!
It is so nice to get out of the city and into the countryside. We found a lot of wild banana plants growing, and there were a lot with buds, which Melrose wanted to try and get to to use in cooking Karekare, but even with the help of a long bamboo stick, she had no success. I have to say she did try very hard though!! And she did find a big hand of bananas on a tree that had fallen down, and the bananas were just lying there in the bush, ripening slowly!
After wandering about for a while, exploring the riverside, and taking photos with the setting sun, we got a bus back to the city. We got off the bus near the top of Tianning Lu, and I took Melrose to the bedding shop I had found. She was very surprised at the price and value of their stock. So much cheaper than in the supermarket chains.
After that we were ready to look for food, and also in the need of a toilet stop, so were heading to KFC, a reliable toilet stop, but as we walked down the street we passed a little Wallace outlet, and I noticed through the window that they had toilets for customers, so we went in there. Wallace is a little KFC knock-off chain, who sell quite similar food to what is available in KFC, not quite such a big range, but way cheaper.
I had a meal combo for 28rmb (around $5.50!) which comprised of a Pepsi drink, a large pack of chips, and a whole barbecued chicken! Yes, you read that right!! A whole chicken. It was admittedly a very small chicken, but more than I could eat in one sitting. It was beautifully well cooked and full of flavour!
From there, we headed back up the street to the 3rmb shop. They have a great range of everyday items, and we had a couple of things we were looking for. Melrose wanted a couple of coffee mugs, big ones that she can squeeze her fruit juice into. And I was after a long handled teaspoon, and a set of shoe laces for my boots.
We did find what we needed in the 3rmb shop, and also the 9rmb shop, but being somewhat cheapskates, we headed to the 2rmb shop, to see what we could find there. I did not find my shoe laces, as they only had really long ones, but I did find lots of other goodies. And at 2rmb each, it does not hurt to have a little splurge!!
Melrose got her mugs, and also a few other items. Me too!! I got an interesting looking potato peeler, that I will try out, teaspoon, two pads of post-it notes (with pens!) and a nice notebook. What a spendthrift!!
By then, we were both ready for home, so got buses to our individual homes. It had been nice to get out of town today, and enjoy good company too, at the same time!!