Destinations Magazine

The Third Strike: Wuhan, China!

By Josephharrison1990 @JTAH_1990

Real talk, it felt amazing as I stepped onto the platform at Wuhan Railway Station! The weather as per usual served me sweltering sunshine heat, still my former China home represented as one of China's central furnaces! Serving a third visit, I claimed this post-Pandemic return as Wuhan's own 'Third Strike!' B, I wanted nothing more for Wuhan to 'Get Me Back To Guanggu!' 

The Third Strike: Wuhan, China!

You couldn't tell me how to act because it was like I had lost my damn mind as I made my way to Line 4 of the Wuhan Metro at Wuhan Railway Station! I managed to get a seat, no apologies would be made because I hadn't forgotten the distance it was between Wuhan Railway Station to Zhong Nan Road. I was not playing! That Line 4 metro provided me with some seriously cheeky kids, paying no mind to them they secretly made me laugh because they were acting the fool! I drew the line when the boy tried to repeatedly look at my phone screen, truly he meant no harm but I politely told him in Chinese it wasn't appropriate for him to be peering at a strangers phone! Those Line 4 stops finally brought me to Line 2, getting my things ready as the metro pulled into Hongshan Square, I knew exactly when I needed to switch lines. I had already prepared myself to change platforms like I used to do on a regular basis. Sure, I was in for a pleasant surprise! After 4 years and some more, my heart was full, I was back in Wuhan! Yesss! 

Of course, I remembered all those times when I needed to change from Line 2 to Line 4 when I would have to walk to the other side of the station. Sure, I was living when I saw that on the opposite side of that island platform that Line 2 trains were going in a southern direction towards 'Optics Valley Square!' To the rest of humankind this development meant nothing, for me it was a major development because it signified that Line 2's extension towards Jiangxia District had progressed a lot since I was last in the city! Heading towards Guanggu District felt correct, I wanted to see how life had carried on after the Pandemic had rolled into that Hubei Province city. Absolutely not, I wasn't ready for all of those new exits because Guanggu Square been doing the most to complete that ongoing construction project. Exiting from Exit C felt correct, I had used that Wuhan Metro point of entry the most during my time living in the city! The underpass around the square had me looking not twice but thrice, I was very impressed! 

The Third Strike: Wuhan, China!

Now, Wuhan was probably going to be seeing the last of me, for that reason I wanted to stay in a comfortable hotel. Making the most of the development that the Guanggu area had seen, I chose to stay at the 'Jingguan Yasu Hotel' that was on 'Lumo Road'. If truth be told I hadn't spent an awful lot on that reservation, so that high quality property impressed me much! During my time living in Wuhan I had lived in pretty basic apartments and during that initial 2018 return, that 'Hanting Hotel' was literally just a bed for the night, I wanted more! Located on the edge of Guanggu Square was a complete mood, I was able to get to the Metro and to Guanggu Square's main commercial area with the quickness! Getting settled into that room didn't take long, I literally left my bags by the door and decided to head out to check out my old neighbourhood. Guanggu had gotten me good, I knew that 2023 would see me wrap things up for good! I wanted it to be breakfast time already, those 'Hot Dry Noodles' were calling my name! It was a mood! 

Heading under Guanggu Square felt correct, it was great not having to climb those makeshift stairs that connected the corners of that pulsating Guanggu icon. I was impressed by the 'rollercoaster-looking' structure that stood as the focal point within the center of 'Optics Valley Square'. Being able to exit at the foot of Guanggu's own 'World City Plaza Walking Street', felt like another major feat had been made. I wanted to soak in every moment, taking my time to take that photo of the square, I definitely did but I also wanted to take that view for what it was. I had always known the square as one massive construction site, even when I returned in 2018 those same 2017 signs of chaos were present but not in 2023. It felt amazing to see the square in those final stages, only Metro Line 11 and a few other smaller transportation projects needed to be sorted out. The Pandemic taught me that Wuhan deserved another visit, I wanted to see how my former home had progressed. I headed onto see the lights of Guanggu's shopping mecca! 

The Third Strike: Wuhan, China!

Content with my views captured, I made my way towards my former apartment building '尚都/Shangdu'. I had already noticed that another high-rise building was being constructed directly next to my former Wuhan residence, now with the square looking mighty fine I would definitely be in my feelings if that new project blocked my former view! I lived in two apartments within 'Shangdu' during my two years spent in Wuhan, the first apartment really wasn't up to much but it was my first China residence. As I stood there looking at my former abode, it gave me some serious 'food for thought' and I'm actually talking about food because those first time food deliveries had me losing my mind! I simply wasn't versed well, I needed time and some guidance when ordering food during those early years in China! I was only really able to order a 'Pizza Hut' and food on the official 'McDonald's' food delivery website. In that moment it really didn't occur to me how some years later how easy ordering food to my place would become! Oh!

From my first Wuhan apartment within 'Shangdu' to the second, the quality did improve but nothing will ever match my current Ningbo loft apartment. We all have to start somewhere, I will always feel fortunate for the somewhat tumultuous start I had during my time living in Guanggu's own Shangdu building. I noticed during that 2023 moment that similar street food options were still available, I enjoyed two pieces of sesame grilled chicken because that was my go-to drunk food after a night spent drinking at 'WUHAN PRISON'. I did see a similar street food vendor who had the same fried food that I would pair with a nice bottle of red wine on a Friday night! It was a crazy feeling standing within that area because change had taken place but a familiar essence remained in present day. I remain thankful for that 2023 reunion, life had resumed and no immediate economic impacts of the Pandemic stood visible along that portion of Guanggu's 'World Pedestrian Street'. Never say never but no thank you! What!? No, 热干面!? 

The Third Strike: Wuhan, China!

Time waits for no man, woman or non-binary fellow, with that said I wasn't ready to cope with the loss of 'Carrefour' as I mooched around that same gargantuan shopping center that used to frustrate the hell out of me! I had revisited in 2018 with no patience, I ran around that super-shopping center without taking the appropriate photos! I felt like a fool in that 2023 moment because that French supermarket had well and truly closed down. The same hairdressers that I had gone into after visiting that former supermarket back in 2018 had changed location because a new section of the shopping center was being fashioned. I had to get real, I carried on with my pursuit to find something that would truly remind me of those 2017 days. I appreciated the huge circular views from the first floor balcony, the same lights shone bright in the newly dimmed evening skies. I sopped up all of those memories once again in present day, I felt lucky because things were looking lively. Oh, the square that overlooked that huge center looked just the same! 

Definite improvements had been made regarding the connectivity between the three Guanggu shopping centres. I was able to walk seamlessly from my former building through 'Grand Ocean' under the newly built underground public walkway to 'World City Plaza'. The same essence remained with that 'upmarket' addition to Guanggu but the import supermarket having closed down along with the wine shop! Guanggu really didn't want me to have that reasonably priced bottle of red wine? Her trifling ass did not! My heart was full, I caught those former post-work moments as I used to get off the bus next to 'World City Plaza' and then walk through the air-conditioned center where I would usually get a 'Blizzard' from 'Dairy Queen!' With the heat of the evening becoming a lot, I decided to bid a fond farewell to that piece of memory lane for the night. Those evening temperatures, well I hadn't missed those one single bit! It felt right to return to Wuhan, making it one of my 'Third Strike' locations wasn't a mistake! Get it, Wuhan! 

Guanggu...? I Don't Know Her! 

Desperately Seeking Adventure

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