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- Jun 17 Thu 2010 23:38
February 26th 2010
The morning of the 26th started early, we wanted to make sure we caught the very first bus to Kunming. Thanks to China's policy of 'everyone in the country has to be on Beijing time,' when we left the hotel at 6:30 am it was still very dark outside. We caught a cab to the bus station and had no trouble buying tickets. Our only trouble was waiting the 1.5 hours until the bus took off. We passed the time by reading, talking, and sharing tired silence.
When it was finally time to take the bus we were in for a rude shock. Although the ride was only 9 hours, from 8:30 am to late afternoon, we got a sleeper. Having thought that our sleeper experience a few nights earlier had been a one-off event, we were quite discouraged. This sleeper was as bad as the first one. One of the two of us was even brought to tears by the experience (I won't say who).
A long and annoying bus ride later, we were in Kunming. Before I say anything else about Kunming, I must admit I don't know why everyone gets all worked up about it. Sure the weather was great, and it had all the creature comforts of any big city, but I don't see what made it an AMAZING place to live. Anyway, we took a taxi into Kunming and got off at the edge of Green Lake Park. Supposedly our hotel was near the lake. We walked to the exact spot on the map, found the address and looked up at what looked like a giant country club. Somehow, I didn't imagine this being the youth hostel. We walked around and asked a few shop owners, only to discover that the hostel had moved. After finding the hostel, checking in, and putting our gear down, we discovered that we may have been bamboozled. While this indeed was a hostel, they didn't have any record of our reservation, and we started to see signs for a different hostel back down the road. Either way we had a place to lay our heads, that's all we needed.
We set out to explore the park, which is chalked full of seagulls, and get something to eat. We headed to a restaurant name 'Salvatore.' While obviously a haunt for the bulging expat community, it boasts great food and good coffee. The rest of the night was spent walking around, peeking into shops and resting. At night we headed out to a local bar to try the regional beer. It seems, however, as if Kunming has no regional beer. The best we could get was Qingdao. After finding a shop on the roadside that served a regional beer, the shop keeper kindly admitted that it tastes 'about the same' as Qingdao. Thoroughly disappointed we walked back to the hostel and went to bed. Sadly, this was the first day when I had regrets about choosing this city. I went to bed with false hopes that the town would surprise me the next day.
- Jun 01 Tue 2010 00:08
February 25th , 2010
We woke up bright an early on the morning of the 25th. Our spirits were high, all the downtrodden feelings that had settled into our souls while in Anshun had been washed away the previous night by an absolutely wonderful experience in Xing Yi. We hopped on the bus with little to no trouble. We had to walk about a block or so to get on the right direction but it was, again, a sunny day. On the bus we paid the ridiculously low 1 yuan fee. We rode it to the end of the line, watching the hustle and bustle of this little town as the bus packed to the brim and then slowly emptied towards the end.
- May 31 Mon 2010 23:55
February 24th , 2010
Bright and early on the morning of the 24th we headed back along the dirty, depressing streets of Anshun. We were on our way to the bus station. Although I couldn't bare to tell Becky, my Lonely Planet had said that our next destination was even more remote than this one. While in the sense of 'there's no people here' it's not remote. In the sense of 'no one comes here and there's nothing to do here,' it's BFE. We purchased our tickets for Xing Yi. After insisting that we be allowed to put our bags under the bus, we climbed aboard. Although we couldn't find seats next to each other, we opted to sit in two seats separated only by the narrow aisle.
The windows, of course, could not open. This promised to be another wonderful 6 hour bus ride. The downside of the persistent sunny, mild, weather was that it was constantly stifling in the core of a metal hot box on wheels. Lucky for us, we thought, the emergency exit was propped open above us. This proved to be only temporary as the people in the very back row complained to the driver shortly after departure: they couldn't hear their cellphones over the sound of the wind in the propped open exit. Thankfully they could continue their uncomfortably loud conversations while the rest of us boiled to death. Lucky for Becky though, the old man next her kept her entertained. Who wouldn't have tons of fun listening to the man next to you munch on sunflower seeds for 6 hours straight. That, coupled with the occasional seed dropping on her sleeve, made sure that Becky was happy as a clam.
- May 16 Sun 2010 22:46
February 23rd, 2010
Waking up on a rickety bus with little to no suspension is an interesting experience. In order to achieve it one must first get over the atrocious smell of feet in the air and the awful effect that old suspension has on a bus ride. Assuming that one can fall asleep, waking up is an even more unpleseant experience. I'm sure all of us have had the misfortune of sleeping on an airplane; the sleep seldom makes you feel better and you wake up more groggy than you were when you started. We had plenty to look forward to though, it was only a simply bus ride from Guiyang to Anshun, or so we thought.
For starters, the bus station in Guiyang was insane. In the throes of the past-new year's rush, lines reached all the way out the door. Guiyang was, by far the worst place for cutting in line and, most likely, nefarious characters. The bus station had people patrolling for cutters (not sure if back-cuts are allowed). However, this job apparently had the highest salary of all bus station jobs. Most of the money came from bribes. People who REALLY needed to get back to wherever they were going just handing an extra 100 RMB to the lineman, told him where they wanted to go, and the lineman would immediately walk to the front and buy the ticket. After a long, stressful, wait we finally got our tickets to Anshun.
- Apr 18 Sun 2010 23:32
February 22nd, 2010
Waking up on the morning of the 22nd we knew that we had a relaxing day ahead of us. We had almost 12 hours to kill from when we woke up (10:00) to when we were due at the bus station (9:30).
We left the hostel at almost lunch time and headed to see the Sun and Moon Pagoda. We walked around the lake for a little bit enjoying the view, as well as the company. I found it more difficult than ever to wrench myself away from the Sun Pagoda the second time than it had been the first. How many people have TWO chances to take a life-completing elevator? We all reluctantly decided that completing our lives wasn't worth 35 RMB. We headed to find some lunch.
- Mar 12 Fri 2010 23:08
February 20th, 2010
We awoke, hangover, free on the morning of the 20th. We were dressed in ready well ahead of our 10 o'clock rendezvous time. We waited until 10, 10:05, 10:15. At 10:20 we finally decided that the frenchmen and our tall australian had lost the morning to a less forgiving hangover. We set out to rent our bikes. After obtaining a moderately well maintained mountain bike we began to ride. At first we went in the wrong direction. Our destination, a 400 year old bridge, was nothing more than just an obscure objective. The real purpose was to get out into the countryside on two wheels. We pedalled for about a kilometer in the wrong direction before realising the bike lady had sent us on the 'highway' route to the bridge. We turned around and biked the other way for close to an hour before coming to the appropriate turnoff.
- Mar 09 Tue 2010 23:52
Guest blog Writer ------ Mr. Hippo
Feb 19th ,2010
Now that everyone was ready and assembled (all two of us) we could start seeing some of the amazing countryside that litters China's Southwest.
Our first destination was the world famous "Yangshuo."
There's a poem in Chinese that most people know proclaiming that Guilin has the best landscapes under heaven, and that Yangshuo is the best in Guilin.
While obviously a boast, Yangshuo does indeed have a claim to the title of "best scenery in the world." I would rank it in the same league as Ha Long Bay and the Langtang Valley. The sheer beauty of colossal karst peaks streaking up out of the flat plain is enough to take your breath away.
The bus ride to Yangshuo from Guilin was two hours long. By the last half hour it became very clear that Yangshuo was one of those places where you only need to walk 100 meters to find the next breathtaking view.
- Sep 21 Mon 2009 22:55
- Jul 31 Fri 2009 13:55