Wuhan: Zhongshan Park, Street Food & A Shopping Avenue!

Tuning into another session of Wuhan Time I got myself out of Guanggu for a while, having a very random day I didn't plan one single thing! Going underground on the Wuhan Metro I tried my luck to see Baotong Temple but that just wasn't so, moving onto the next subway station took me closer to my next destination. Breaking away from Guanggu felt really good! It's so loud!

Zhongshan Park worked perfectly with the blazing sun, I had been to this park before but didn't have the time to see it at my own pace. Endorsing that park life I was happy enough to snap endless photos, like I mentioned before I didn't have a plan! Making a crazy statement I say that Wuhan's Zhongshan Park served some New York City Realness because it looked like Central Park. Being the 'Chicago of China' I reckon that isn't too far away from the truth? Taking a break from Guanggu for that Wuhan park gave me some calm, my first month teaching in Wuhan's Optics Valley had been full on, I needed some time! Surrounded by a series of skyscrapers within a city that is constantly growing I felt at peace throughout my time at Zhongshan Park, the scorching temperatures did make the lawns look slightly parched! Let's just say it was mad to see because Wuhan makes it rain an then some! Make it rain!

Dossing within the financial heart of Hankou I appreciated the view that fronted me, well those towering skyscrapers certainly gave an executive impression. Named after Sun Yat-Sen, the founding father of modern China its not just Wuhan that boasts its own Zhongshan Park, this garden tribute certainly gets around! Captured above is a snapshot of my baking hot afternoon at one of Wuhan's many parks, that statue of a faithful looking couple promoted a image of togetherness. The waters that looked over modern Wuhan acted as a perfect contrast between the ancient feel of the parks personality. During my first days of training in Wuhan I was based at the local teaching centre that belongs to the company that I teach at, I didn't have the time to discover the park so my random July afternoon filled that void. Finding a Chinese only book market I only took a glance at the random prints, unfortunately I can't read Chinese right now so I didn't buy anything. WH, I'll try to get those reading skills!

Going down memory lane, well from the first sights that I saw of Wuhan, China on the 1st of July 2015. Tracing my steps from Wuhan's Zhongshan Park I stumbled upon Wansongyuan Road, a bustling Wuhan city street that greeted me during those early Hubei days. Staying away from the shopping mall I was all about the colourful string of Chinese food concessions, I had been on the tiles the night before so something greasy had to be on the menu that afternoon! Settling for a oven fresh cheese flat bread that had a spicy filling that kicked my hangover away, not completely! Comparing the eateries of Wansongyuan Road with Guanggu's Spanish Style Street I recognised the difference but with food so cheap and tasty I can't choose a favourite! Who needs a Greggs pasty when I can get a freshly baked Chinese treat for next to nothing! Xiyuan showed me my first WH hotel, I won't be making any more reservations! No, thanks!

I have no problem with trying new foods, in China there's no room for dismissing certain foods that don't look normal. Xiyuan's Wansongyuan Road serves up many local dishes like 'Hot 'n' Dry Noodles' and many different dumplings and some of them taste mighty fine! Flashing back to my second night in Wuhan I decided to start withdrawing money from my UK bank account so I could pay my three months worth of rent the next day, my Nationwide debit card was eaten by a certain Chinese whole-in-the-wall. After that event I wasn't so keen on Xiyuan, but after retrieving my card I revisited this time to remember my first two nights in Wuhan, so things weren't so much of a drama along that city street!? Going to that part of Wuhan whilst not being on the commute I appreciated that Wuhan street without the stress that I felt when I would speed walk to my days of training. I have to say that it all started on Wansongyuan Road at the beginning of July 2015! Sure, I had to start somewhere!

Concluding my day of randomness I hopped back on the Wuhan Metro to Jianghan Road. One of Wuhan's major pedestrian shopping streets I had seen something that I liked about this district during my pre-departure research. Re-hydrating with an ice cold lemonade water I was ready to see what was good, Jianghan Road had unknowingly been on my Wuhan hit-list! I was waiting for the sunset so to ease my impatience I saw a hilarious Chinese film about a fake superhero, 'Jian Bing Man'. It was hilarious and with the English subtitles I was able to follow everything. Returning to the night I was denied the right to take the night shots I wanted to take, I admitted defeat as my camera died! Getting back to Jianghan Road had to be done at another point, finding the time out of my busy schedule I got the photos I wanted and I ate some delicious barbecue chicken! My camera failed me but I loved Jianghan Road! Yes!

I'm not one for shopping but the glittering lights from Jianghan Road's many department stores had me under a trance. I chose to try a t-shirt on at KM along that busy Wuhan shopping street, finding that the large was too small I was given an XL by the store assistant. Why on earth did I have to buy an XL piece of clothing? I caught up pretty quickly that the stretchy material and asian sizes weren't going to fit my western body, I left KM behind me and put that into my memory box of poor choices. Nevertheless, getting away from my Guanggu bubble was nice in many ways but I loved stepping off the underground both times at Optics Valley Square station. Zhongshan Park helped me see something more scenic for a change, trading a concrete jungle for a peaceful green surrounding. Xiyuan and Wansongyuan Road provided a flashback to my first days in Wuhan, serving super hangover food! Jianghan Road burns bright like neon lights, making Wuhan look stunning at night! Yes, Wuhan!

Wuhan City Life!

Joseph Harrison


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