(Ed. note: Terry thinks Geoff is too hard on Ningbo and that the posts should be called something other than Ningbo Shningbo thus the alternate title)
What a start to the day. The Howard Johnson Hotel Ningbo Plaza has 450 rooms. It is full for the Labour/May Day holiday. Breakfast is included in all rooms. As the elevator nears the first floor I hear lots of noise – great , I think, kids are running amok. Oh no – as the elevator doors open I spy a very long line (let’s say 75 feet) of people trying to get in to the restaurant. Since it is a holiday, they have closed one of the two restaurants for the four days of the holiday. Go figure. Do not, I repeat DO NOT come between the Chinese and their breakfasts. I don’t know how long people had been lining up , but there were many management types around trying to calm them down. Breakfast was served between 6 and 10 and even though there were still people in the line up at 10, the items on the buffet were not being replenished as they disappeared. (Ed. Note: Somehow, someone in management had a brain wave and today the other restaurant was open for breakfast.)
We had thought that we would travel to some small islands off the coast, but that plan was cancelled when we read some negative TripAdvisor reports. Instead, we had the concierge negotiate a taxi ride out to the bridge which crosses Hangzhou Bay. This 36 km long bridge (3rd longest in the world and the longest over water) is quite the piece of engineering. However, before we got there the taxi driver pulls up to a tree at the side of the road. He gets out and suddenly he has an air hose. He tells Terry and Cheryl to get out of the car so that he can pump up the tire on their side of the car. They were not pleased, as the photo shows.
We got to the bridge and, as I said, it is quite the engineering feat. Halfway across they had built a platform during construction as a place for the workers to live. They have since turned it into a five star hotel (Ed. Note: Why?) and a 125 m. observation tower. Despite what the pictures show, it was difficult to differentiate between the muddy water and the polluted sky.
The off and reentry ramps are something else.
The top floor (17) is dedicated to a series of 3D wall paintings which encourage people to participate. Terry was all over it!
On the next floor down, there were some good views and some really interesting options to purchase.
It is difficult to believe that the same people who designed and constructed this bridge could not devise a better way to disburse photos taken there. In a room which is about thirty by thirty you cram four computers and printers on one side and a fake photo of the tower and a TV anchor desk backdrop on the other. Then you cram 40 or more people into a space about 20 by 20, yell at them over a microphone in Chinese to do something, take their photos and then have them crowd (Ed. Note: Line up? What Line up?) around the computers and printers to have one of the workers scroll up and down to find, choose and print their photo. Can you say chaotic, loud, unsettling chaos? Of course you can. I cannot imagine working there all day – or any part of it. We did have our photo taken.
We had asked the concierge to tell the taxi driver that after the tower, we wanted to go to a beach so that we could put our feet in the ocean. He said he understood. He didn’t. Instead, we wound up at a salt marsh ecological park, where we took a boat ride (Ed. note: Where we saw a total of about 12 elk and 2 egrets) and walked on a gravel path. I did stick my foot in the marsh water off a little bridge, however!
Ok, so these heels were originally going to make The Shoe Blog as “Why would you wear these to a day at the Ecological Park.” However, when we were wandering around, we spied her trying to keep up to her boyfriend and girlfriend on the pea gravel paths.
From there it was back to town (Ed. note: in a seven minute span, I counted 51 building cranes as we entered Ningbo) where the taxi driver stopped for two minutes to buy and down 4 hard-boiled eggs, (Ed. note: Guess all that waiting makes you ravenous!)
(Ed. note: Remember Steven and his offer to iron anything for us when we checked in? Well when we had ice delivered today to cool off the wine, I asked if I could get my shirt ironed. Oh yes sir, but there will be a charge. What? Steven asked if I had anything to iron. Oh yes, but that is only when you check in. Note to self: next time just give the butler the entire suitcase upon arrival and have everything ironed, whether it needs it or not!)
After thoroughly enjoying the fabulous COL VETORAZ Prosecco Brut, Rob and Shelley brought us a couple of weeks ago, it was off to Ganesha Indian Restaurant. Now remember how Ningbo is famous for its seafood? Well, the Number One restaurant on TripAdvisor is Ganesha Indian Restaurant and it absolutely is. The food was amazing, the beer cold, the service fantastic. We had half a dozen or so dishes and each was wonderful. However, when we ordered the Lamb Vindaloo, the server said “It is hot” Interesting we thought – he never said that about anything else. “No problem, we like hot”. Ok so how hot was it? Well, when I offered the remaining ½ to two of the waiters (1 from Bangladesh and 1 from Northern India) they both said “I don’t eat that, it is too hot.” The owner came by and asked if they could remake it for us but not so hot. A wonderfully nice gesture, but by then all the taste buds were burned beyond immediate recovery. Nevertheless, it was a wonderfully tasty dish. The Muslim girls at the next table gave us birthday cake, the restaurant brought us sweet tea and ice cream and then we wandered back to the hotel.
The Shoe Blog
I don’t know if these are comfortable (Ed. note: Yeah, right) or not – but they look like they are designed for torture.