XueJun had suggested that Michael take Sunday off and we were both excited to have the day free. As we had breakfast at the hotel, we debated about what to do. There was a metro station just a few feet from the hotel entrance, and since I had such a good experience in Chengdu, we decided to try it out.
We were headed to the downtown area that we had enjoyed so much when we visited briefly in 2012. We were happy that there was an “English” button at the ticket machine and were able to figure out how to get our ticket (actually a token). When you enter the metro turnstile, you scan the token and then when you exit at your destination, you deposit the token.
We figured out that we should take the main line to the Tilu Xilu (pronouned Ti-loo-See-Loo) station and then changed to the APM line. This is a “tourist” line that runs into the downtown area. There are only 8 stops on the line and there is always a guard on each train.
We got off at our station and then proceeded to try to figure out how to exit from it There were numerous exits and of course, we chose the one that went into a HUGE, many “armed” mall. We wandered for about 20 minutes and at last saw a Starbucks. We had a quick bite to eat (and a few Espressos for Michael) and found our way out into the sunshine.
….with beautiful buildings one one end…..
And the Canton Tower rising from the other end (although it is actually across the river)……
The only problem is that none of the restaurants were ever open!! We went back another time, at a different time of day and everything was closed up. We wondered if they just opened for dinner!!
Even though they weren’t open, this sign was compelling…..
We loved these “crowned” apartment buildings just across the river….
After walking around for a while and enjoying the nice weather, we decided to head to the top of the Canton tower. We found the metro again (a closer station) and rode to the tower area.
We got into a long ticket line (although one of the attendants tried to tell us that the other ticket office was faster)….we should have listened!!! When we got to the front of the line, the ticket agent took one look at us and flipped the ticket information board over so that it was in English. He had obviously dealt with us “round eyes” before!!
The tickets were expensive with several different packages that you could buy. For one price, you could ride the elevator to the top but with some additional Yuan you could go up higher and walk outside. Then you could pay even more to do the “rides” at the top. We chose to be able to go outside but gave the rides a miss.
The escalator ride was honestly the most enjoyable part of the entire experience as it was not only fun to watch the ground grow further and further away, but also to listen to the gasps of the occupants as we ascended. Michael was NOT as enamored with the elevator trip as he didn’t particularly enjoy being crowded into a small room with about 20 other people!!
The views from the top were not all that magnificent, mainly due to the smog that morning…..
One of the rides was a free fall that went up even higher on the tower and the other was the “Bubble Train”…..
….which slowly drove around the perimeter of the tower. The thing that I noticed about this is that almost all of the occupants were looking at their phones or looking down and not enjoying the view that they had paid so much for!!!
We took the required selfie…..
….and headed back down again.
When we have been China, we have marveled at the English signs and Tee-shirts. We saw this sign on a store….
We have no idea!!!!
But, my all time favorite Tee-shirt is one that read “I want to be a unique”….well, I can almost guarantee her that she is!!!
We got back on the APM train to return to the hotel and reached a terminal where we needed to switch trains. Our train stopped in the middle of the terminal, both doors opened revealing another train on either side…..which do we go to??? We chose one, quickly realized that it was incorrect and then darted back thru the train car and to the other side, always hoping that the doors didn’t close before we got thru.
Incidentally, Michael and I have a rule when we ride trains. IF we ever get separated, the first person gets off a the NEXT stop (even if it is not where we need to stop) and waits for the next train carrying the missing loved one!!! Fortunately we have never had to do this but it is good to have a plan.
We giggled at this sign on the terminal door saying “Please don’t touch me” and another on the other door saying “Civil Ride”….
Also, the “which side of the train” story reminded us of our trip to Rome in 1997 with the kids. We were taking the EuroRail that morning and had found the platform and were waiting patiently for the train to arrive. As it pulled into the station we realized that the doors were going to open on the OTHER side of the platform. You can imagine the mad dash that ensued as we carried luggage and backpacks and all four RAN to the other side!! After that we learned how to tell which side and never had to make a mad dash again.
We made it back to the hotel but just weren’t ready to call it a day yet so we both got onto our computers and started searching for “western” restaurants in the area. Naturally the one we chose was back downtown!!! Instead of taking the train, we caught a taxi at the hotel and he found his way to “Social & Co” (also called SO & CO). We met the owner (from New Zealand) and enjoyed sitting outside and having a delicious meal.
Our first course were these delicious Cauliflower patties…..
They were a bit spicy and served with a dill sauce….EXCELLENT!!! They were followed by bread and cheese, sausage with roast potatoes and Thai chicken, dessert and tea. We were full!!!
We enjoyed watching the people walking around and were interested to find that this was an embassy district with the US consulate being housed in the next block over.
This little girl made our day as she “drove” past with her Mom…..
Out waitress told us how to get to the nearest Metro station (she actually offered to walk us there if we waited until she got off of work) so we headed out around the US embassy and straight into the Metro. A quick stop at the Lenhexi (Lynn- hoo-si) station to change trains and we were home again.
It was a perfect day!!!!