Wuhan: Hubu Alley, Yangtze Bridges & A Midnight Sky...

Always staying victorious, Wuhan had something more to show me during that September Chinese National Holiday. Street food is my favourite but I wanted to seek something different, away from the familiarity of Lumo Road. Rolling on a river, I had not seen the mighty Yangtze River properly so that was also on the list! Victory Day showed me a new side of Jianghan Qu!

Hubu Alley, now a popular side street that's gathered some serious notoriety as a tourist spot for international and Chinese visitors alike. It's not for the faint hearted at all, I even had to hold my sense of smell for short intervals because that stinky tofu made an unwelcome appearance! Passing through the grandly painted entrance to Hubu Alley I was greeted with a sea of vendors who were selling all types of Chinese fast food items, but not in the same style of 'fast food' such as McDonald's! Following my friend I didn't know what way to go and what food to choose from one of the many vendors. Bacon wasn't the only part of a pig sold at Hubu Xiang for pig's trotters and tails looked like a firm favourite from my view. I was truly spoiled for choice, settling on a piece of chicken that was stuffed with rice. Hubu Alley took me for a ride, I was glad I wasn't alone because Hubu Xiang was acting like a crazy fool! Go on with your bad self, Hubei wasn't going to judge us! The foods, the smells though! He was showing me more of his city! Yes!

I have learnt the hard way that in China there are no queues or ordinarily fashion that I'm used to in England, so getting around a very crowded Hubu Alley took some patience. Every single cultural difference may be strange to deal with at first but I'm getting to grips with the absolute berserk vibe of this far eastern country. Grabbing several Chinese snacks we made our way to a dumpling house for some steamed mushroom delights, I thought I had my chopstick game down on lock but I had to be schooled in the art of using them to eat those delicious treats. After feasting on some other Hubu Xiang delights it was time for us to find something sweeter because its difficult to find desert kind foods in this part of China! I found some rich tasting cakes that had a peanut taste, that was just fine for me! Thankfully, I have seen Hubu Alley because it was a mad experience, I would only repeat at a quieter time. Chinese food will never be the same, nothing compares to the real thing! When I go back to England I won't be happy! I won't be! 

Away from the craziness towards the mighty Yangtze River along Dufudi Road lies Jiangtan Park, a meeting point for the Wunhese people to chill out, meet beside their gargantuan river. Taking our time we took a stroll along the Yangtze River to be surprised that the heavens decided against opening, I was informed that the skies between the river never mix so the rain wouldn't be falling that afternoon. The original Yangtze River Bridge initially stood in-front of us, a mass of iron that effortlessly links Wuchang with Hankou. To the left of the Yangtze River Bridge looks like a replica of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge but that Wuhan suspension bridge definitely serves its own throw of Wuhan overness! Back to the edge of Jiangtan Park we could see some seriously brave people taking the plunge into the epic waters of the Yangtze River, the current was fierce! I can confirm that I won't ever be getting into that water! No way! For those courageous few it looked as if the swim was a daily occurrence, carry on. Swim!

Using our Wuhan Tong transport passes we boarded a Wuhan River Ferry to reach the other side, taking us to the shores of Hankou. The views of Wuhan along both sides of the river was a sight I won't forget for a long while! With the ever-growing Wuhan skyline fronting us, I could tell that this Chinese City would be fashioning itself into a Manhattan style city with its own Wuhanese groove, beckoning the winds of change to build towering skyscrapers. I chose Wuhan because it was developed to a healthy level, now I can hopefully watch it grow to a new height! I really hope so! As our Yangtze River Ferry made its way closer to the shores of Hankou I tried to capture my first views of the Jianghan District, it was special! The bustle of Hubu Xiang had left us but we faced another hectic city scene, that's the thing with Wuhan its got so many personalities, each one of them have something extra to keep things fresh and new! The Yangtze River looked imposing but I love it! I think I'll stay for a while, I love it here! Wuhan's lovely! 

Bound for some pretty coffee shops our final phase of Victory Day had us over the Yangtze River near Hankou's Central Business District. Trading the brighter lights for a rather quaint looking street that goes by the name of Lihuangpi Road. We were originally bound for a cup of coffee but I was more in the mood for an ice cold beer! Catching some funky looking brickwork from the corner of my eye I was like 'we are going there now!'. I get what I want most of the time so it was done, Bistro became our place of choice! Styled like an old English smoking lounge this refined setting made me forget that I was in China for a brief few seconds, almost like when I discovered Costa Coffee! New discoveries and random finds are like mini victories! Choosing an ice cold VEDET to toast our already successful Victory Day weekend, it was a cosy place to relax in and have a conversation without prying eyes. The relaxing vibe was appreciated because some the traditionally minded have something to say, even their glances are enough. Be the change! 

As dusk slowly turned into night I was shown a series of cute side streets that had a lovely feeling, those apartments were just so damn cute! Feeling rather hungry I was led to a Taiwanese noodle shop that had a modern yet traditional style, run by two young Taiwanese guys this 21st Century noodle shop served us some delicious noodles, had we not already had enough food already that day? Never! Making our way ever-closer to the metro to take us back to Guanggu we had a lovely stroll along the Hankou Riverside Bund, well that's what I think it was called? I'm usually good with names but the nighttime view had me starstruck as the lights dazzling from the Wuchang side of the Yangtze River. All in all it was another full packed Victory Day in Wuhan, I was blessed with so much inside knowledge about this city so it proves that it's not what you know, it's who you know! Hubu Alley served the crazy vibe and a lot of tasty Chinese street-side food. The Yangtze River served! V-Day was ace! I didn't want to go back to work! 

Rolling On The Yangtze River!

Joseph Harrison 


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