Destinations Magazine

I'm Back, Back, Back Again... Changsha, China!

By Josephharrison1990 @JTAH_1990

Both Beijing and Wuhan had been bossed, leaving on another high speed train I did from Wuhan Railway Station! It had to be done! No, I didn't want to leave Wuhan but Changsha was calling me! Finding myself 'Back, Back Again' in Hunan's Changsha felt correct, after 6 years I clocked Changsha's South Railway Station. Honestly, I wanted to hit those streets the right way! 

I'm Back, Back, Back Again... Changsha, China!

Changsha for me was a glorified stopover, I would be heading to 'Zhangjiajie' the day after next but it did feel nice to be reunited with that 'Hunan Province' city. Changsha's metro system tried my life, I had to revert to manually paying for each journey because the local transport card on Alipay excluded foreigners. A warm welcome? Alright? OK? Arriving at my 'Days Inn' hotel had me wondering what my 'China Highlights' selected room would look like? To be honest, I was neither impressed nor disappointed due to the room literally being a crash-pad for the next two nights. I had stayed with a former friend during that 2016 initial visit to Changsha, it felt liberating to return on my own terms. My guided itinerary would commence the next morning, for the rest of that first day I was able to decided my own path. Hotel check-in had me feeling like I was an alien again, had the staff never seen a foreigner before? Regardless, I had plans and that spot of hilarity wasn't going to stand in my way! Stepping up, Changsha wasn't ready! No!

I had consulted my usual 'Food & Drink' APP once again, clocking 'The Rock Dog' saw me following that map from the metro to the streets. Changsha had my back, I was able to find my intended location without any deviations. Ordering the chili dog, fries and an Asian root beer, I was in 'western food' heaven! Chatting to the owner briefly whilst my food was being cooked allowed me to find out that he had worked in Canada for several years, cementing the fact that his 'The Rock Dog' product was unrivaled. Chowing down like a pro, I loved every single bit of that meal! Changsha had served me some home-cooked food during 2016, I was thankful to be in the streets trying something for myself during that 2023 moment. Suitably satisfied, I was feeling thirsty for a mixed drink or three, where would I end up? Some cute guys tried to steer me into the direction of a coffee shop, I respectfully declined. The afternoon really had no chill, I needed to pick up the pace! Orange Isle Park, who? I had too many things on my agenda. Chill!

I'm Back, Back, Back Again... Changsha, China!

Changsha's own 'Xiangjiang River' was about to serve me a few sights, I was not ready for this dose of life! I had naively thought that I would be able to find a side on view of the 'Young Mao Ze Dong' statue but I didn't need to worry about that. Undoubtedly, the view along that Hunan riverside looked darling during that late afternoon moment. I heard music coming from somewhere? But from where was it coming from? I didn't know! No! I saw people drinking beer and playing games, eating food and literally all of them were living their best lives! It was like a whole serving of life in one scene, people who looked different were out along that shaded riverside and I didn't know where to look. Honestly, the liquor was flowing and judging by the mood those people didn't care that Monday made an appearance once again! They were all truly living their best lives in that moment, truly Changsha allowed me to witness an almost different city! Carrying on, I walked away from that scene of pure merriment, I wasn't prepared at all, CS! 

I paid mind towards Changsha's 'Xiangjiang River' because the next time I would be venturing to the other side on my day tour. That understated riverside location reinstated some calm into my life, Changsha told me that eventually I would need to retell what I saw alongside that river park! 'Rollin On The River', could never! Heading away from the riverside felt correct, I headed towards 'Changsha IFS Tower T1' along 'Jiefang West Road'. Clocking those bars, I had done my research to find out that maybe even a Gay bar existed along that road, naturally located in one of the tower blocks? I did think that maybe in the near future, I might return to Changsha for a third time for an 'After Hours' installment? Just maybe. I wasn't impressed by those neon lights and street food outlets because the whole vibe gave me anxiety, I carried on walking towards 'Balenciaga'. I was on the look for a cocktail bar that I found on my trusty APP, I wanted to kick back and have few artisanal beverages. I called the shots, Changsha would be pouring them! OK?

I'm Back, Back, Back Again... Changsha, China!

As I climbed the first set of stairs within Cross Pub, I was being served a 'Speak Easy' style cocktail bar! Those images from the APP had me feeling confused because that version of 'Cross Pub' looked very different indeed! Taking a seat at the bar on the first floor had to be, I order a 'Negroni' because that 'Campari' based drink had become quite a favorite of mine during that trip thus far. I relaxed into that location, the gangster filmed entertained me slightly but I found it to be more interesting to watch the drinks being poured. Such technique and precision was being carried out, the wide array of ingredients allowed me to see the type of drinks 'Cross Pub' had on their menu. I made that first drink into a second, I wanted to try at least four cocktails from the menu and I didn't feel any shame about that. Also, I already knew that getting drunk off those drinks wouldn't be wise with a packed day ahead. Getting a little 'boozy' would be fine! Instagram had me curious about one drink! A 'Negroni Sbagliato with Prosecco?' Oh, stunning! 

I had the bartender/mixologist trying my own drink after he had poured it to my specification. It was amazing what a few drops of prosecco did to that already tantalising cocktail, I was absolutely hooked on that beverage! I loved my evening at 'Cross Pub' near 'IFS' in Downtown Changsha. I headed back to my hotel, I felt really hungry but that wasn't going to be a problem for long because a street food vendor was cooking up some mighty fine fried rice. I literally loved my portion of egg fried rice with Chinese sausage, it definitely helped to soak up those drinks! From arriving into the city once again, I had experienced a really nice afternoon and evening in Changsha. I appreciated having some free time before my Hunan tour programme kicked off! The best thing was that I had no expectations for the day, I had just left Wuhan with another city on my list, I kept my mind open for that return visit. Sleeping like a baby, I looked forward to the next day and to the rest of my Hunan adventure. Sure, Changsha might well get a 'Third Strike!'

Honey, It's Hunan! 

Desperately Seeking Adventure 

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