Cruise over…we were dropped in Yichang, a city with little to it, so we battled our way through the dodgy taxi services only to find that there were no legitimate taxis anywhere near where we got dropped off. We got in a dodgy van and headed for the train station which was about 40 mins away. This was achieved after getting out of the first dodgy van and threatening to walk about 5 times to the ultimate driver of another dodgy van until a price was agreed and settled on. After this the trip was uneventful.
The lovely staff on the boat had written 2 notes for Jill in both Chinese and English. They were “please take me to the train station” and “can I have two train tickets to Wuhan”. Believe it or not the train ticket went off without a hitch, we got lucky and the girl behind the counter spoke English too. It was a fast train going almost 300 Kms in about 2 hours (including about six stops to pick up others). We got to Wuhan at taxi change over time and had to wait about 90 mins for a cab to take us about 2 km at a cost of about $1.40. It was dark, the city was strange, we had no idea how dodgy it was, nothing was in English and Jill’s google maps was not working…we decided to wait for the cab.
Wuhan is a huge town – actually a combination of three cities but today we headed off to the “Yellow Crane Tower” and the surrouding parklands. The entire area is impressive and offers some beautiful views over a city that is relatively not polluted by China standards. Jill swore that she had seen blue sky and was pointing furiously at the sky. The nett result of this is that she has adjusted her mental concept of what blue is and a pale smog grey will suffice now.
The first thing you hit is the 8 meter statue of Yue Fei (a 12th century general) and a horse that was pretty cool. Then a few archways to the left you come across the “millennium lucky bell” which for a small fee you can ring by ploughing a huge suspended log, wrapped in velvet, into it. A bit further along we hit the main attraction which was the “yellow crane tower” a big thing on the top of a hill waiting to be climbed. Now having done this a few times, I started to count the number of stairs that I climbed as we entered the bottom of the hill. By the time we had left the park (and climbed the tower) I had done 910 stairs, this was in addition to the hills and slopes we walked up and the extra 320 stairs and 2 km walk to get there in the first place.
The tower provided the best view of the city and was worth the climb. The trip back saw us wandering through some of the prettiest parklands I have ever been in, this included koi ponds and a really funky waterfall into a stream (remembering we are in the middle of town) running into the pond. The whole thing was really peaceful and upon exiting we were greeted with a taxi that had run over a moped. The ambulance took away the moped rider and the bike and the cab stayed in the middle of the road for the next 20-30 mins until the police came. This in essence screwed up traffic and had everybody honking more than they normally do.