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Travels: Zhenjiang in Jiangsu Province

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Monastery at Jiaoshan (Fujifilm GA645i, Kodak 400NC)

This next destination is a place famous for its vinegar, which goes damn well with boiled dumplings. Doesn't look like there is anything else of note other than this but no matter, wikipedia listed a couple of attractions, and as usual once you take out pagodas and temples its just barren. But that has never stopped me before. I'm going to see for myself.

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View from the top of Jiaoshan island (Ricoh GR Digital)

Just in case you are a little lost, here is where Zhenjiang is on the map:

Zhenjiang, Jiangsu

Not expecting too much, I will be moving quicker this time. At least relatively. I should have about 10 hours there. Small think tank bag contains just a Ricoh GR Digital and the 21mm adapter. For the first time, I will be packing along the external viewfinder. Rangefinding this weekend will be via a Leica M2 and just 35mm Summicron ASPH lens mated to it for the whole trip. Garmin eTrex Vista GPS is here, as well as the 32gb iPod Touch. Some websites are printed out in A4 to save weight, including a google maps satellite printout of the area in question. Blogging from the Nokia E61 as usual. Since it gets rather warm nowadays, its t-shirt and shorts day with a boonie for spare protection. Weather forecast today says 50% chance of rain. Do I trust them? Not too much. Thought about bringing an umbrella but decided otherwise in the last minute. Oh, across my left shoulder is the medium format Fuji GA645i with rolls of 400NC, Fortia and Neopan Acros. With 2 small bags slung across my chest, should let me move quick as I plan to walk the whole of downtown Zhenjiang today.

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Lone boat on Yangtze River (Fujifilm GA645i, Kodak 400NC)

0845hrs: just got onto the train. Lets see, this is the 0853hr train called D408 bound for Nanjing, and they should drop me off in Zhenjiang as the stop right before Nanjing. Bet I'm the only one getting off there. Anyway, in the first class cabin, and seriouly speaking, or writing, I can't feel a lot of difference compared to canned cattle class. Except the waiting lounge has a grand piano which I guess is what the ticket premium is supposed to reimburse over the years. Let me twitter my seat number to see if any of my 0 followers will come look for me on the same train. Worth a try!

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Chinese roadside store, Zhenjiang (Leica M2, Summicron 35mm f2 ASPH, Kodak 400TX)

1046hrs: At Zhenjiang's mid sized train station. And after getting out of the platform there are countless touts promoting busses to Yangzhou! ?? Of course! It is just across the Yangtze river not too far from Zhenjiang! since it took 1 and a half hours on the bullet train this morning to get here, probably we are looking at 2 hoursish to get to Yangzhou via this town! Next time I will take this path. Need change so having early lunch at KFC munching down their new seafood burger, whatever that is. Surely its more batter than anything I'd care about. After lunch its off on public bus number 4 from the train station that seems to go to Jiao Shan garden. Whatever that is. Can't hurt going there. Train station GPS coordinates locked.

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Inside Bus No. 4 Zhenjiang City (Ricoh GR Digital)

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Ferry drivers, one driver and 2 friends (Leica M2, Summicron 35mm f2 ASPH, Kodak 400TX)

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Praying monks at Dinghui Temple in Jiaoshan (Leica M2, Summicron 35mm f2 ASPH, Kodak 160VC)

1330hrs: I am now at Jiao Shan Island. What happens is that bus 4 from the train station stops right at the entrance to a park with the same name. As usual there is an entrance fee, 50 rmb that included a boat ride. Walk 10 mins to the jetty eastwards and that is where the ferry is. For 20rmb per person, there is a possibility to take the cable car across. The distance is not more than 150m by boat so I think the cable car is redundant. But if you are in a rush, the cable car does bring you to the top of a small hill. Took me less than 30 mins to get up the top so again, not a big issue. Once on the island, I went the clockwise route up the hill. The pagoda on top is new, built not more than 20 years ago, and again an entrance fee is required to look at the thousands of buddha statues inside. I don't bother.  The only one I am interested is the buddha ear lugs on a Leica M3 dual stroke. I guess I will walk the whole island after typing this. There is a large wetland area around the island and the scenery is not too bad. My medium format was running this afternoon for sure. Still on the same first roll but I think I will finish it on the wetland.

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Garden on Jiaoshan island (Ricoh GR Digital)

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A favourite of mine, the quintessential countryside transporter (Leica M2, Summicron 35mm f2 ASPH, Kodak 160VC)

1759hrs: That was a long walk. After the previous message, walked to the wet lands on the island for a while, didnt get to see the whole thing. Whats with all these amusement ameneties and activities they seem to like in china. In that monastery island there are bumper cars, the obligatory self pedaled boats, archery area, and a few other pointless activities.

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One of the "attraction" at the amusement park, for a while I thought this was the famed canon used by the British on the island... (Ricoh GR Digital)

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These two were friendly-fighting each other a few seconds before I shot them... (Leica M2, Summicron 35mm f2 ASPH, Kodak 400TX)

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Jiaoshan Island wetland (Ricoh GR Digital)

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Garderner laying hoses in Jiaoshan (Leica M2, Summicron 35mm f2 ASPH, Kodak 400TX)

On the way back, took the usual bus number 4 a couple of stops, and walked all the way to the waterfront along Changjiang Rd. Quite deserted this Saturday afternoon. Maybe I'm the only one visiting this city today. There are some barges moored on the few jetties left, and marsh islands in the middle of the Yangtze. Other than maintenance workers, I have to be the only soul. The shops on the other side of the street looks like commercial buildings in the sense of China's atypical rural offices, discrepid, seemingly unoccupied. Otherwise the waterfront looks quite different from all other waterfronts I've been to, mostly because of the wetlands and overgrown grassy plants thats visible from the waterfront. And I keep on imagining Yangzhou which is not too far across the river. Accessible possible by a short bus ride.

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Resting labourers along the waterfront of the Yangtze. 30mins later I returned and they were in the same place.  Their wheel-barrows did not make it into the picture. (Leica M2, Summicron 35mm f2 ASPH, Kodak 400TX)

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Boat ramp on the Yangtze bank (Leica M2, Summicron 35mm f2 ASPH, Kodak 400TX)

Now having my Filet-O-Fish on the main Zhongshan Dong Lu. coming to the end of the trip. Getting dark close to 6pm. The train leaves at almost 9 pm tonight, so another 3 hours to kill. I'm considering walking to the train station. Nothing interesting to buy in the shops. Like high street england,  90% of the chain shops can be found in Shanghai anyway, and then some. But Zhongshan Lu is definitely packed with people today. Looks like the whole populace of this medium sized city is out on this Saturday night. Oh, and there's this chinese lady that speaks so loud I can hear her from the otherside of the shop.

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Barge transporter on the Yangtze River (Leica M2, Summicron 35mm f2 ASPH, Kodak 400TX)

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Jetty. That little boat seems to be out to collect something, still can't figure out what. (Leica M2, Summicron 35mm f2 ASPH, Kodak 400TX)

1911hrs: walked to the train station. Not really that far - once you have seen the distance marathoners run. All chinese train stations seem to have a large square in front of it, and this one is no different... However it differs in that the square is well used. Apart from the usual peasant travellers camping for the day or night, this one is used for group dancing and rollerblading kids. Young kids around 5 years old. Looks like a school set up in the evening. Ahso, now we see about 250 dancers, estimated using the bt-o-meter, doing line dance to some chinese music. There doesn't seem to be a leader and they face all over the square. I think its muscular memory only someone here would know. A little like the macarena though. Will stare at them for another 15 mins and then will look for a quiet place to loiter.

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Breakaway group of line dancers at Zhenjiang Train Station square (Ricoh GR Digital)

2039 hrs: Amazing. The train departs right on time, arrives right on time as well. Am on D449 right now and we have just departed from Zhenjiang. By the way, there are nowadays 2 different waiting room, one for they standard trains and a different room for the bullet CRH train, which is the ones starting with a 'D'. I was waiting in the wrong room all the while till 15 mins before departure. Had to go thru the train station x-ray twice. No metal detectors here, so I think they x-ray the bags for the sake of x-raying. Something with so much loop holes can't be for anything preventive.

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The new CRH bullet train pulling into Zhenjiang Station (Ricoh GR Digital)

2244hrs: Back in Shanghai.

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Lotus pond at the forest of tablets in Jiaoshan (Fujifilm GA645i, Kodak 400NC)

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