Destinations Magazine

Wuhan: Panlong Ruins, River Bridges & Prison...

By Josephharrison1990 @JTAH_1990

Waking up before the birds on my first morning in Wuhan had to be done, heading out for a marathon of a day was the plan! Taking in three Wuhan city districts wasn't my initial plan but I found myself doing the most, that first day was fully packed! Those 'Panlongcheng Ruins' had to be clocked, along with a certain Hankou point of departure and you know the rest! Hot damn! 

Wuhan: Panlong Ruins, River Bridges & Prison...

During 2017, a certain 'Panlongcheng Ruins' station had already been opened but the main attraction was still being finalised before it could be opened. Come 2018 during that return visit, I was a damn mess without that 'Huangpi District' attraction considered because I was too busy getting sozzled! I secured my QR Code whilst I was on the train the previous day, even before I had arrived into Wuhan I had my entry secured to that new-found attraction. Closer to Wuhan's Tianhe International Airport, I trekked all the way from Optics Valley Square in 'Guanggu District' because I wasn't going to miss out! Wuhan deserved me to be on my game, I wasn't playing! Those sweltering temperatures had me almost passing out as I walked towards the entrance of that 'out-of-town' point of interest. Honestly, I was ready to learn about 'Panlongcheng's' history because I had been ignorant during my previous trip to Wuhan in 2018. Free admission had me impressed, I really wanted to get this place in the bag early! Wu, I got it! 

That Chinese 'Stonhenge' looking attraction was completely deserted, I wasn't mad because I didn't want hoards of people littering up my photos! No! Gathering my senses together I found the main museum, all I wanted to know was where I could find a ruin-like location within the park? The museum exhibits somewhat educated me, sifting through the Chinese writing I was able to make out that the formations of this ancient settlement of 'Pan Long' had been discovered due to a flood. Leaving the museum's air-conditioned cool, I battled the heat to find my desired destination. After walking for what felt like forever, I found one of the former palaces, I was impressed by the view alone. Rolling on for what seemed like miles, the craziness of the city felt a long way from that 'Panlong' location. It was lovely to hear the birdsong, being in such a serene setting had me questioning my Wuhan location several times. I had had my fill, taking it slow because the heat was that intense, I took the Wuhan's L2  in a southern direction. 

Wuhan: Panlong Ruins, River Bridges & Prison...

The world had no idea where Wuhan even was before January 2020, Hankou Railway Station was one of the first landmarks on the world's media outlets. I really feel that this ordinary train station deserved better, people were just keeping things moving as the world changed in this almost secret Chinese city. Hankou Railway Station had been the first place I saw in Wuhan, my Suzhou train pulled into that Wuhan based station on July 1st 2015 with a whole lot of life waiting for me! The pandemonium didn't bother me as I walked from the Wuhan Metro on my way to see the main entrance. Back in 2015 I had no idea, sure the station had been modernised quite a lot since that summer arrival but if truth be told, I did see some reminders. For real, it was just the best seeing prospective passengers make their way to the stations entrance. If you've never lived in Wuhan then the last four years didn't matter to you, for me I felt blessed to see my first China city back to normal with my own eyes. Keep it moving like never before, 汉口火车站! 

People were only running because they were late for their trains, for no other reason at all! I am sure when some people read this section, you know people will be as ignorant and ill-informed by such channels. I felt privileged to see that rail transport hub processing more trains than the striking stations are not in England, people say too much sometimes! Not to mention the difference in prices, those haters really feel sore when their rail passes are sky high priced in the UK. Oh, I am sure that they do! Hankou Railway Station minded its business, I minded mine but I made sure I remembered those news reports because life has returned to normal at long last. Hankou Railway Station didn't keep me for all that long but that train station had me in my feelings, I remembered where that Wuhan teaching journey started from. Like those on-time departing trains, I kept things moving myself because Wuhan gave me full permission to do the most! 'Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner' created a diversion but I knew where to go! Yangtze, see you! 

Wuhan: Panlong Ruins, River Bridges & Prison...

Wuhan's ever-growing metro network saw me taking trains on Lines 6, 7 and 8 during that first full day of sightseeing. Making my way down to Hanyang's own '鹦鹉洲长江大桥/Parrot Island Yangtze River Bridge' fell into my makeshift plan for the afternoon time, I wanted to see the mighty waters of the '长江/Yangtze River' at least once during that reunion trip. Biking much like I had done before, I spotted those gargantuan suspension cables with the Chinese name for the bridge presenting itself to me. I loved the essence that the street sellers gave the street-side by the river park. I grabbed myself a cold can of Chinese beer as to cool myself down, the heat still wasn't playing! It was amazing to see that vast waterway once again, truly I took that mighty river for granted when I lived in Wuhan. Making up for those guilty feelings, I loved that never-ending bridge because it was serving 'San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge Realness!' No, I wasn't in any rush because that river scene was running right, like always Wu! Babes, bridges for days!  

Taking a seat was the right thing to do, I had been running around the city all day and needed to soak in some views stationary! Getting to grips with the river didn't take me long because people were doing the most, people were swimming in the river beside the passing vessels. Children were messing about along the river, not for me but I was sure they were having a good time. Young people were thinking they were slick, some young women were climbing onto one of the red steel supports to take their 'Naomi Campbell' looking photos. I commended their poses but really thought that one of them or at least all of them were about to fall into the river with some force, one wrong move and they would've known! Had I just stepped down from my own spaceship? I politely informed a nearby curious kid that I wasn't just a foreigner, I actually had a nationality. Wuhan treated me well, those views were treating me better because I was living for that riverside. Done with the river, I scanned a bike because I thought I knew those streets! No!

Wuhan: Panlong Ruins, River Bridges & Prison...

I arrived back at my hotel but I didn't want to turn in for the night that early, I decided to walk down Lumo Road towards a former 'haunt'. I was so surprised to see a large part of Lumo Road like it was before I left Wuhan in 2017 because of the street food vendors that were trading. The energy was so reminiscent of those former Wuhan nights out, beyond imagination I felt like 2015 had returned for a second! After taking the usual left hand turn down that memorable hill, that is when things looked vastly different from that 2018 return visit. No longer did 'Prison' command the whole left side of the alley, no more tattoo parlour or barber shop stood. 'Prison Bagel' remained but I wanted a bevvy or three, maybe four! Pushing that same very door allowed me to re-enter a place that held many drunken nights, many memories indeed! I felt a little bit taken aback because aside from the stage, everything else looked just as it had always done. I already knew that the next day was going to be full on, I wouldn't be getting boozed up! Right?

I started off with a 'G&T' before switching things up with a 'Peach Cider', honestly that fruity cider had me hooked! It was mad paying for my drinks with either AliPay or WeChat because back in the day it was all about cash payments, like I would use my 20 notes for a 'Beer Lao Light'. Dead ass, I had 2023 money with that 2015 location brought back to me, I was tempted with a real good time! The bar looked identical, the vibe from the students behind the bar was just the same like it was in 2015. I got talking to 'Dart' who was a student at a local university, there was something about him and you know I made conversation quick! We even started talking about 'Drag' and to my surprise he had 'Dragged Up' at Prison during one of their events. I knew that my drinks would be limited because I had not yet eaten properly, as the bar filled up I knew it was time for me to make a move because I wasn't staying for the music. Walking back up Lumo Road towards my hotel was the right thing to do, I wanted some chicken! Tine for bed! 

Prison's Peach Cider! 

Desperately Seeking Adventure 

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