"THERE HAS BEEN A CHANGE OF PLAN"
This was my facebook status update when I found out about the longest solar eclipse of the 21st century was taking place in the part of the world I was in.
I figured Hangzhou would be a good place to watch it instead of in the middle of a smoggy big city. I didn't have a good start as I couldn't find my accommodation after walking miles in the heat but found somewhere else in the end.
All I managed that first day was a walk round the big lake. Met an American at night who lived out there and could speak the language. (they are a rare breed!!!!)
As expected there were massive crowds of people out around the lake an hour before the eclipse took place.
At best it was cloudy but you could see the suns disk through it, at worst you couldn't see the sun at all. Then the sun slowly started disappearing over about 15 minutes, I expected it to go dark gradually but it was light while the sun was thinning until the last half a minute then it suddenly dropped colder.
All the lights in the park and the street lights came on, the total part looked good even though there was still a bit of cloud in the way. All you could see in the sky was the glow of the suns atmosphere.
The above picture was the best I could get with my camera!!!!!
As soon as the sun come out again that was it and everyone started packing up their camera equipment and leaving. I wanted to stay in the town for a few more days but the only places to stay were miles (literally) from the city center. Walking any distance in that heat and humidity was a struggle. So I got my ticket for Nanjing for the next day.
Bumped into the American I was talking to from the previous night. Got invited to dinner with him and his family. Sampled some plum wine which was good for saying I usually hate wine.
Got lost on the way to the train station and only just made it on time. Had to go back to Shanghai first which made it a bit of a long winded journey. Took me ages to find the hostel in Nanjing, it rained most of the afternoon so spent the time talking with others in the dorm room. We later went out for noodles at night, I cant understand why a lot of people say China is expensive because my meal was half the cost of what it would have been in Thailand and they do bigger portions.
On the first full day I headed out early to the purple mountain which was a few miles away. Went to the top by cable car which took half an hour but walked back down and seen some of the old city walls. Didn't get back until about late.
After all day walking I didn't feel like doing a lot else (the weather was awful anyway).
The final day I tried for hours to find the Nanjing museum but failed despite the fact it was next to an international hotel.With time running down on my visa I headed off to Beijing.