Zhengzhou (Zhèngzhōu - 郑州)
At the first glance Zhengzhou (郑州 - Zhèngzhōu) produced a heavy impression in me: having seen the active life under the grey sky, I thought that I shouldn't have come come there. I noticed a line for taxi at the left from the railway station and started towards it. About a dozen of Chinese surrounded me and started to offer me something. Finally they amused me, as it turned out that they were moto-taxi drivers and they wanted to take me with my luggage on their two-wheeled means of transport. A good circus show might have taken place.
At all railway stations of China (where I have been) taxis always come quickly and continuously. And also they quickly start to take passengers away. A woman taxi driver could not understand where my hotel was, the hotel emblem was unfamiliar to her, in the hotel telephone number as she though there was an incorrect number of figures. Finally, by means of a phrasebook it occurred to me how to pronounce correctly «Erqi street» and «Erqi Square» (one of the main in the city and is located close to the railway station) and she finally understood me. When we came out to the square I immediately saw the hotel sign and the «incorrect» telephone number underneath.
The hotel which I was to put in was the «Green Tree Inn Zhengzhou Er Qi Square Hotel». The entrance to the hotel was in a small gateway. The price for staying was 210 yuans ($31 USD). There is also free internet. Special thanks to ASUS for eeePC.
My room was on the 15th floor. You can appreciate the view from the room on the photo to the right. But from the corridor there was some kind of a view to the Erqi Square.
The room was five times bigger than in Beijing hotel and smelled tobacco much stronger than the smoking room in a Moscow hospital basement. If you are a non-smoker and happen to come to Zhengzhou — try and find another hotel for yourself.
Alas, almost all pictures that I made in Zhengzhou remained in the broken photobank, therefore, I'll show you a couple of small videos made in the streets on the way from the hotel to the railway station.
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From Zhengzhou I wanted to go to the observation point near the Huang He river (Yellow River Scenic Area), but because of the weather and such a river view that day I decided not to go.
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In the evening I walked about Zhengzhou and started to get used to the city, the desire to promptly leave it disappeared.
In the morning I went to the People's park and took a ride on a big wheel, from which, due to haze, I could hardly see anything. In the park several groups of Chinese women under accompaniment of music made different exercises — qigong?
Elderly Chinese gathered in pavilions and sang to the music which they played themselves. Away from big crowds of people one could see small groups of people 2-3 persons, they played musical instruments for pleasure. One of them played «Podmoskovnye Vechera» ("Moscow Nights") on Chinese pipe.
Hotel employees bought train tickets for me, but made a mistake — they bought up to another city, it was good that it was on the way (to the next one after Kaifeng). Such service for buying a ticket costs 20 yuans ($3 USD) in China.
At the railway station waiting halls they used to display on LCD screens different episodes of Olympiad-2008, most of the time they showed Yelena Isinbayeva.
From Zhengzhou to Kaifeng it is only 72 km, which are covered by train for 27 minutes. The 1st class carriage turned out to be much more comfortable — there were only 2 wide seats at each side of the aisle, there is much space up to the front seats, the total number of passengers in the carriage is smaller. But I think that the 1st class carriages may be different, as in the train from Nanjing to Jinan the space between the seats in the rows was the same as in the 2nd class.