We were directed by the security to take a circuitous route to exit the circuit and it took us nearly an hour to get into the metro station. While some of the decisions made by the security personnel were baffling, I had to give credit to them for controlling the often unruly Chinese crowd.
Instead of heading back to the city, we boarded the train towards Anting instead. At Anting, the train would then travel back in the direction of Jiangsu Road station. It probably added another thirty-five minutes of traveling time but it ensured us of seats for most of the journey. Hats off to Ying for the great tip.
At Jiangsu Road station, we took Line 2 to Hongqiao Railway Station. We reached the railway station about an hour before our train to Hangzhou (G7327) was due to depart at 8pm.
I was quite impressed with the train station; it was huge and felt more like an airport (a nice one) than a train station.
It was strange that we were not able to locate any convenience store within the station; in the end we bought bottled drinks off the cart located at the centre of the departure terminal. The stranger thing was that no bottled mineral water was available. Really weird.
Boarded began around fifteen minutes before the scheduled departure time and soon we found ourselves in our seats.
As both of us weren’t feeling particularly hungry, we had bought a pack of braised pork rice (卤肉饭) to share between us later on the train. We also had a leftover pear from the race and they actually made a pretty satisfying meal.
Midway through the train ride, there was some commotion towards the front of the carriage. Three men who were traveling together started to quarrel and a fight almost broke out.
The guy sitting by the window seemed to be drunk; he was unhappy with the guy on the aisle and started to swear and scold. He then tried to move across and attempted to hit the aisle guy but fortunately the guy in the middle managed to control him by pinning him down.
The stewardess for most part pretended that she didn’t see the commotion and only acted when one of the passengers seated close to the guys asked her to take action. She just told the guys not to disturb the rest but the drunk drunk guy would start again soon after, drawing attention of all the passengers to them again.
It continued all the way until Hangzhou and I guessed that they probably beat the hell out of one another when they got off the train. It was certainly a memorable incident for all the passengers in our carriage.
All the passengers (us included) seemed to be headed for the taxi stand which was grossly inadequate for an arrival of a HSR train. Irritatingly there were many people who tried to cut the taxi queue from the side. Third world mentality, what else can I say?
There were also many touts in the queue who promised a car immediately (at a price of course).
When it was finally our turn (probably 40 minutes later), we were let out onto the driveway with quite a few other people and it was battle royale for the cabs. We were among the last ones who got our taxi. Luckily the person controlling the queue had enough sense not to allow more people onto the road until everyone out there had gotten their rides.
We chatted a bit with the driver who drove us to the airport; apparently the same scenario at the train station always occur on Sunday evenings when Hangzhou residents return from their weekend trips. There are simply not enough taxis to accommodate the crowd.
The journey to the airport took around 30 minutes with the taxi going by the same route that we arrived in. Not that I could recognize the route though; outside were pitch black for both rides to and from the airport.
Check-in hadn’t opened when we arrived and we had to wait a while in the queue.
Went to the washroom and found this:-
While going through the immigration and security check, we noticed a mother and daughter duo ahead of us. The mom seems to be around my age and is very photogenic; her daughter is around 3 years old and super cute. She would just wander away from her mom and found things to play with; even the soldiers on duty at the airport were amused by her.
She even managed to elicit the following conversation between the two soldiers:-
Soldier 1: 这娃真可爱啊。 (This girl is so cute.)
Soldier 2: 对啊。 看了自己也想生一个。 （Yeah. Seeing a cute kid like her makes me want to have a kid too.)
Soldier 1: 最好是一男一女龙凤胎。 （Best if they are twins; a boy and a girl.)
Soldier 2 (Smirking): 我从来没有怀疑过我这方面的能力。 （I’ve never doubted my ability to do that.)
Both Ying and I overheard the conversation and smiled at each other. Who said PLA soldiers don’t have a sense of humour?
As our flight was the last one out of HGH, all the shops were closed. The other planes in the international terminal were AirAsias.
While waiting for boarding, we noticed that there were a lot of Indonesians who would be on our flight. They were part of a packaged tour group and returning to Indonesia (probably Medan since some of them were speaking Hokkien) via Singapore. What worried me was that they didn’t seem to be tired; thankfully they weren’t too disruptive during the flight.
Flight: Jetstar Asia 3K 832
Depart: Hangzhou (HGH) – 00:15
Arrive: Singapore (SIN) – 05:15
Distance: 2261 miles (3639 km)
Aircraft: Airbus A320-200
Seat: 21 D
I was knocked out immediately after boarding and slept almost all the way until the pilot came onto the PA and announced that the plane was descending into SIN. We were slightly delayed arriving into Singapore and by the time we got our taxi it was already after 6 and there was no more extra 50% midnight surcharge. I arrived home just before 6.30am, 13 hours after leaving Shanghai International Circuit.
What a long way home…