Friday, June 26: Jinshaling, China
3:57 My room-mate, James, is up and preparing to hike up the mountain to watch the sunrise at 4:37. I’m not sure that he’ll make it in time, and even if he does, the chance of seeing the sun through the mist / fog / smog is very low. I briefly contemplate joining him but then roll over and go back to sleep.
5:30 James returns. He didn’t see the sun but he had fun climbing anyway.
7:00 Duncan makes savoury vegetable pancakes.
8:00 We leave Jinshanling and start the drive to the city of Datong in Shanxi Province.
16:00 We have checked into a very comfortable hotel in the centre of this city of 3.6 million. Hotel Today has nice common areas, modern and stylish bathrooms, but no hot water.
16:25 Jason, our Chinese guide, accompanies me to a China Mobile shop where I top-up my account. I’ve been going through data at an alarming rate and cannot figure out why. I’ve turned off data when not in use and only upload photos and videos when I get wifi. I buy the cheapest package of data to get me through June and will buy another package on July 1. Data automatically expires on the last day of the month and you forfeit unused data.
20:10. Duncan suggests a barbecue restaurant near the hotel. We are seated, order two legs of lamb and some side dishes, then wait for the lamb to be partially cooked on a side grill. It’s delivered to the table “rare” and cooks on the table for those who are little squeamish. China is not a particularly good place for picky eaters or anyone concerned with extreme cleanliness. However, if you can turn a blind eye to the preparation, the flavour, freshness, execution and sheer variety of the dishes is truly amazing.