During the four months that my wife and I have now lived in Shanghai, we have not once actually been outside the city limits. Before we came to China we had all these ideas about traveling on weekends and during the many breaks and seeing most of the country as well as a large chunk of Asia. And yet there we were, a quarter of our first year gone and we’ve hardly seen the entire city, much less any of the countryside.
It was with this depressing thought in mind that said “yes” to an invite to the small, country village of Ningbo (population 6 million.)
The hows and whys of the invite are a little complicated. Our friend Pam has an Australian friend Lucinda who met a Guatemalan named Gus on the plane to China a few months back after a visit to America. Gus lives in Ningbo, and even though there wasn’t a romance evolving, Lucinda wanted to go see him and visit the city.
Actually it is because there wasn’t a romance involved that we (and three other girls) got the invite. It seems Lucinda wasn’t so sure Gus didn’t have romance on the mind and what better way to ensure no hanky panky is involved than inviting half a dozen acquaintances along for the ride?
The trip was a bit of a mess, actually. It seems everyone thought someone else was in charge of the planning. We thought Pam was in charge, Pam thought Lucinda had it all settled out, Lucinda thought Gus would take charge, and Gus just wanted to have some fun.
We got up early Saturday morning, met with the girls and took the metro to the train station. No one bothered to do any research on whether or not there were any tickets available for the early ride to Ningbo (there were none.) The next train not leaving until the afternoon we decided to split up and mess around the city. We were way too far from home to go back, and my little group decided to catch an early lunch.
Lunch was actually scrumptious and the place is known for its chocolate desserts and we all relieved ourselves of the stress of the bad train schedule with some delectable deliciousness. Then we boarded the train.