A big travel day, up early to catch a train Shanghai to Hangzhou. I made my way back to Maggie’s parents apartment without trouble or rush. My flight was leaving in the afternoon. I had a final pack and discard of excess luggage, I had collected a few gifts and as I was overloaded coming over, I had to leave a few things. I was sure Maggie’s family would make good use of the things I left and nothing would go to waste.
I was farewelled my Maggie’s mother as everyone else was travelling elsewhere. Maggie’s mother had kindly tracked down an oversize taxi and booked a pickup at the nearest road to their apartment, about 400 meters away. I carry/dragged the bike in its box to the road for the taxi to Hangzhou airport.
A strange thing happen on the way to the airport, the taxi had seemed very quiet and I guessed it was electric, the driver started asking me when my flight was due to leave, I think he was very glad I spoke some mandarin, once confirmed we had plenty of time, he made a detour.
The taxi driver drove to a battery change station, it looked like a petrol station except there were racks of batteries ready to load into vehicles. We unloaded my bicycle box, as he needed access to the rear luggage area, at the push of a button, a row of batteries raised up for changing. It was very interesting and all up took about 7 minutes. I could not say anything as I am all for electric cars.
The flight included a stop over in KL and a night flight to Melbourne. So all up a very big day, but I survived and enjoyed every second of this great trip.
My luck carried back to Australia, when I approach customs with my huge bicycle box covered in big red China stickers, so much for me hoping to get through discreetly. I had cleaned my bicycle but I was not sure of the protocol. I declared the tea I was carrying. I was asked if I had cleaned the wheels, I said yes, I was then asked it is was a road bike, again yes, then I was waved through!
It has been an amazing trip, everything I was hoping and more. I rode over 400km trouble free, not one problem with the bicycle, meet wonderful friendly people. Not one hitch, holdup or problem. I can not let go of China for the present and plan to request another 2 extra weeks of leave for next year again first thing tomorrow back at work. Meanwhile I think more Mandarin practise is called for. Xie Xie.
Home in Australia, but I am missing China so much I insisted my wife and I make a noodle dish for dinner. We shared the cooking and I think we did a pretty good job. I didn’t know what is the normal broth ingredient so I found a red miso soup was a quick and easy gap filler.