Yesterday was meant to be a day of hiking high up in the nearby Siming Mountains. But as we've experienced in China so far, a lot of things you attempt hit a snag. Even when the situation seems normal, no amount of planning can help you when the day just becomes fucked up. It's about just moving past it and making a positive out of the situation.
The bus we usually take into town is meant to go to Central Railway Station, according to this website http://news.86nb.com/index.html?config=apps/cyzs.xml (Bus 541). However after the bus veered off across to the other side of Fenghua river, I knew something had gone wrong. Instead it took us to East Railway Station, far away from the centre of Ningbo. Turns out the website's bus route was completely wrong or there are at least two 541 routes.
We managed to get back into the centre of town, but faced a long walk to get to the stop we needed to pick up the second bus from. After walking for a long while in the 30+°c heat, we decided to give up on the days hiking ambitions. We did however have a nice walk in a new part of the city that reminded us much of Yuyuan Gardens in Shanghai (without all the chaos) and had a picnic in Yuehu Shing Park Ningbo, see pictures below.
After our picnic, we faced another long walk towards Tianyi Square, where we could pick up a 541 bus back to the University. But decided to stop off at The Old Bund (Lao Wai Tan) for a drink at the Buddha's Bar & Bistro, hoping to drink away the days bad luck! Sitting in the shade outside, sipping a pint of London Pride Honey Dew, we got talking with the proprietor who has lived and worked in China for almost 10 years. He gave us a quote that I won't forget whilst travelling the rest of China that is used a lot with foreigners living and working here.
“SNAFU – Situation Normal, All Fucked Up”
It's a good phrase and nothing sums up living and travelling in this country better. After a while you start feeling comfortable and aware of your surroundings and as soon as that happens, China unconsciously trips you up.
We're going to attempt the journey again soon, before the blossoms finish in the mountains. At least for the next SNAFU moment, I have a place where I can drink!