No Taxis in Ningbo
Trip Start Aug 25, 2010
286Trip End Jun 29, 2011
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Where I stayed
Lee's Youth Hostel
On Wednesday we arrived in Ningbo by coach -- my first coach experience in China -- at around 1pm. We checked into our hostel, dropped off our bags, and set out. Ninbgo has a Bund area that's supposed to be similar to the one in Shanghai. In Ningbo, it's called Laowaitan, which I'm pretty sure means "old foreign district." We stood at the intersection close to our hostel to hail a taxi, but every taxi we saw was full. We waited for at least ten minutes in the freezing cold before we decided to start walking in the direction we needed to go. We figured we'd find a taxi along the way.
The walk was probably about three miles, which isn't very long, but a lot of Ningbo is under construction and without sidewalks, so we had to walk through rubble and among scooters and motorbikes
Eventually, we arrived at the Bund only to find a very nice-looking yet closed collection of restaurants and bars. We were hungry, and praise be to the mermaid goddess, we found a Starbucks. It was the only open place that sold some sort of food. We had coffee, scones, and laughed as we realized the chocolate covered espresso beans I'd bought cost 35 kuai. Sam has some sort of complex about expensive foreign snacks in China, especially gum.
After Starbucks, we decided to visit a nearby library that has one of the largest private collections of old books in China. We managed to get a taxi on a bridge near the Bund and arrived at the library without complication. The library itself turned out to be more museum than library with not-so-old books displayed in glass cases. However, the museum also housed a collection of Mahjong game tiles from around the world, and the gardens that surrounded the museum were terrific.
Next, we went back to our hostel to relax for a while, then set out for an Indian resturant at about 6:30
Sam gave the driver the card for the Indian restaurant, which included the address written in Chinese, and ten minutes later, the driver dropped us off in yet another nice but deserted part of town. We saw a plush-looking building with golden elephants outside and figured it was our place.
However, we opened the doors to what looked more like a hotel lobby than a restaurant. There were no tables in sight. We didn't know what else to do, so Sam asked the people at the front desk if they had a menu in English. They did.
The place was indeed a restaurant, but it was Chinese, not Indian
As always, we had to endure waiters standing six feet away from our table and staring at us, and we had to drink our beers in shot portions because Chinese waiters think beer is hard alcohol, but we were warm and fed, and ready for our big adventure to Putuoshan the next day.
This day reinforced our belief that we'd have a much easier time getting around China if we spoke more Chinese. Though it's not common to do so, we could have called for taxis in Ningbo, and we could have called the Indian restaurant to make sure it was still in operation and in the same place. I do enjoy the adventure of getting around while not speaking the native tongue, but Sam and I have vowed to study Chinese more ardently during winter break.