Tag Archives: Hunan 湘

Back on Tracks

Update: just a 3.5-hour delay last night, and this morning we’re back on schedule and heading southeast by rail to central Jiangxi. It’s a train day.

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The Gang’s …Still Here

We’re stranded but quite warm, both for the first time on our previously smooth-going but somewhat frigid trip. We’re in the rail station in Nanyue waiting hours for a quick train 30 minutes up the line. (If only we’d thought an hour ago that we’d still be here now, we might be at the bus station getting on our way right now.) Our train is late because all the trains on this line are late, and that’s because, according to one of the station employees who told me like it was a secret, an earlier train messed everything up when someone accidentally lit a seat on fire with his cigarette.

So we’re waiting for our train, enjoying the literal and figurative warmth here in this small-town train station. Owen of course is thrilled to be travelling with Aunt Tina, even if we’ve only made a dozen miles at this point.

Attached are some pictures from walking around Changsha and from climbing Hengshan.

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All Together Now

The gang’s all here. Today we arrived in Nanyue, the smallish town in central Hunan province where little sister/aunt/local celebrity Tina lives and teaches English at the high school. We came down from Changsha, the heavily polluted provincial capital a hundred miles north, on a high-speed train that hit 300km/hr as it sped above brown winter fields and ramshackle houses on its elevated track. Tina took us and two Chinese friends out to dinner in town, and Owen enjoyed having an audience to watch him eat some rice and chicken and listen to his lengthy babbling. We’ll all start our travels together tomorrow, at the base of the big mountain that earns this town a stop on the rail line, and continue until Tina finds something better to do or Singapore, whichever comes first.

The last few days in western Hunan were great. If things are working correctly, this post should have a few pictures included.

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Now we don’t need to see that movie Avatar

A great start here in Western Hunan. The air is brisk, the food is steaming and spicy (Hunan cuisine is the best of China, we think), the mountain/misty landscape is great to hike in, and, best of all, the national park we’re in is practically empty. Zhangjiajie, the dubiosly-claimed inspiration for the setting of Avatar, the AAAAA-level national attraction, is nearly devoid of human presence. And yes, that’s FIVE stars that the Chinese government uses, to tell you that the lines will be approximately 5,000 times as long as an A-level attraction. Not in January. All day it was basically us (we three – no Tina yet); some native inhabitants, both human and monkey; and one small group of Koreans. The scenery was pretty spectacular, and all the above-listed people and monkeys were in great spirits. And we haven’t even seen the movie (even the wrinkled old Tujia-minority woman, and probably all the monkeys, have seen the movie). Wish we could upload a picture of the area, but they don’t seem to be uploading right now. But again, if you’ve seen the movie, supposedly you already know.
Tomorrow: we head south for couple stops on the train line and see where we end up.

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Santa, Aunt Tina, and the Hengshan Yueyun High School’s Third-Year English Class

Christmas is here, and so is Aunt Tina! Some pictures from today:

Also arriving in Hangzhou this weekend was this video, delivered by overnight train from Nanyue, Hunan Province.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

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