learning the city part three: landmarks and universities
This post continues our series on finding your way around the city. First, we covered the basic geography and boundaries of the city. Next, we talked about learning the city by learning the bus routes.
Today, I’ve tried to compile a list of important places for navigating
the city. My intention was that if you knew where these places were and how to
navigate to, from, and between them, you’d be well on your way to being a
local. However, as my list grew longer and longer, I realized this topic also would have more than one post. So, today’s post consists of the MAJOR landmarks, universities,
transportation stations, and places important to foreigners.
First, let’s start with the places foreigners need to know. Those places are your foreign affairs office (wai ban) local pai chu suo (local police station that governs your neighborhood), your district police station (XX fen ju), the main city police station, and the health examination facility. Most of your employers or school will take you to these places, but they’re handy to know for yourself. When you register for a resident card you will have to complete a health exam, get papers stamped at each level of police station, then take all documents to the main station to get the document in your passport. There are way too many pai chu suos to map, then there are at least 4 xx fen jus (with xx being the name of your district) and I didn’t map those either. The main police station and the health examination center are on the map. The police stations are good to know if you need to report a crime or you lose your passport. The main station is where you get any changes to your visa or resident card.
Next, the universities. I included only the major universities and only the main/old campus. Most of the schools now have new campuses on the outskirts of town or out in the da xue cheng (university city) north and east of the city. I also realized I left off the Finance and Economics University where some of you teach. It’s just south and east of the Nationalities College. If you learn the universities and their respective gates you can begin to navigate at least a good portion of Sai Han District and some other areas as well.
Next, some major landmarks to be familiar with are gu lou/lijiao qiao, the old museum, the current museum, the race track, the train stations, and the airport. The racetrack is distinct to find on a map and makes a good, easy-to-find landmark for the north side of town. The old museum is a distinct building with a white horse on top and from there you can easily navigate toward one of the main shopping districts and many other places in the city center. The current/new museum is also distinctive and made to look like the grasslands and it’s a location that everyone knows and from there you can navigate the eastern part of Hohhot. In my opinion, gu lou/li Jiao qiao is the geographic center of the city. It’s the overpass/bridge a bit east of the old museum.
Lastly, the train stations and airport are essential for getting anywhere out of Hohhot. The bus station is located in the same plaza as the main train station, so if you can find one, you can find the other.
In the coming days I’ll post a few more entries about navigating the city and finding your way around.