Wednesday, April 11

A Trip To Linhai (China) 2018

It's nice to be back in Shanghai after almost 2 years, this time not for a business trip but for a weekend adventure in Linhaia county-level city in Taizhou, Zhejiang Province situated on the banks of the Lin River in Eastern China. Thanks to Asia Trail Master, Mr. Kris Van Delle for the opportunity and to Kien Lu for having us as invited runners. I am too shy to say no to an almost all expense paid trip. 

I was with two more Filipino runners given the opportunity to run at Ultimate TsaiGu, Khat and Majo. I decided to adjust my travel schedule to that of Majo and we were glad that a Shanghai based friend Yang Kai made arrangements for us (our hotel stay in Shanghai and purchase of train tickets for Linhai and back to Shanghai) and  assisted us (in ordering food every meal and at race pack collection)  and was even traveling with us. Travel to race venue from major airports seems easy through the instruction in English at Tsaigu website  but I thought it would still be best if traveling with someone who can speak the language. Without hesitation I adjusted my travel schedule to that of Majo and we travel together.  

On a mid-week, I made it to my  the evening flight via Cebu Pacific arriving Shanghai past midnight. As soon we cleared immigration, Yang Kai was already waiting us at the arrival area. The weather was cold. It was more than an hour travel by car to the city where he booked us for the night. Real late already but we need something to eat, he brought us to a nearby convenient store  and finally settle on a hostel that he booked for us, a room with two single beds. 

The following day he picked us for breakfast on a walking distance Chinese restaurant from where we  stayed. Of course we cannot understand anything written in the menu, so he ordered our meal, two bowls of dim sum soup and a steamed dim sum. Two big bowls arrived which was just really a lot. After a good breakfast, we walk back to our hostel, got our things then go to the nearest train station.  Destination will be the Central Terminal. The weather is cold despite Yang Kai saying spring weather will be warm.

I have been to Central Terminal before and I did not remember this much passengers. There were lots of people every where, at the escalator, to the security scanner to the issuance of train ticket for Linhai. All instructions and signage in Chinese, I cannot imagine going  through the travel without Yang Kai, though I know I will survive and probably can figure it out had I travel on my own.  From the claiming  of our train ticket to which plot form we are going to ride, all comes easy with the help of Yang Kai. We waited for almost an hour before we finally boarded our train. A 3-hour train ride, I was just enjoying the trip by watching the places we pass by and getting as much sleep as I can. 

Finally reached Linhai on a cloudy Thursday afternoon. A big backdrop of TsaiGu race welcomed us right at the door where we exit from the train station. Taking a taxi we reached our hotel, Grand Overseas Hotel with huge and big lobby, same goes with our room. Yang Kai settled in his hotel nearby where we stayed. Settled and had dinner together. Hot pot beef this time. 

The following day after breakfast and after we got cleared and finally got our race bibs, we went to the starting line of the race and went further, to the last few kilometers of the race which is going to be a downhill part upon finishing, this time we went up.  And a walk around the Walled Old City Linhai. Nice place with cobbled stone paths surrounded by preserved old houses. Late lunch and went to the race briefing.

There was never a day in Linhai that I saw the sun. It was gloomy and rainy the entire five days that we were there. On race day itself, we all experienced that heaviest downpour of rain. (A separate write-up about this will be out soon.) It was only on the day that we arrived Shanghai that we saw the sun on our tour beside the river of Shanghai before we left for the airport to catch up our evening trip. Thank you Tsaigu for having us, thank you Yang Kai for all your hospitality. It was one great experience running the mountain slopes of China. Will be back one day to finish this race.

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